Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June 2015: Market Lake Wildlife Management Area

Finally got a picture of a Great Blue Heron

We are in monsoon season here in southern Idaho.  It's raining almost every day.  Yesterday I wanted to visit Market Lake Wildlife Management Area before work.  Things didn't work out for that because for starters, I didn't really know how far it was and I'd never been there.  I decided I'd take my chances after work.  Problem is, at about three o'clock it started raining.

I'm not sure how I did it, but I convinced the Hot Chick to come with me to explore this new wildlife management area.  We got in the car and headed out.  Then the lightning started.  I looked to the southwest, where Market Lake is and it appeared the weather was better there than where we currently were.  I mentioned that to the Hot Chick and she suggested wishful thinking.

We meandered through the backcountry, though and found our way to Roberts, Idaho where the wildlife refuge was.  Once we got there, the rain was almost completely done.  This WMA has a central road, but most of the refuge is a walk-in type.  With the weather threatening, and several of the areas closed due to sensitive nesting areas, I didn't do much walking in.

I did walk a little at the first turnoff, though.  I walked along the road that passed through Sandy Marsh and the owls put on a great show for me.  There were about six of them flying, soaring, and swooping.  Hunting all around me.  That was neat.  Most of the pictures have a little movement blur to them.  I don't know yet how to overcome that, but I'm going to figure that out.  I need to if I wish to keep taking pictures of birds in flight.

Owl in flight

About six of them were putting on an aerial show for me

There's another one

Kept snapping pictures

They'd fly by and stare me down

Quite the spectacle

I was in awe

Enjoyed myself immensely 

I know it's alot of pictures, but it's my blog and I can do what I want

Loved when they'd stare me down

Just a few more

Two in this shot

Very cool experience

I walked about a quarter mile to some signage before I turned back.  There was also a small cemetery out there.  I didn't take photos of that this time but will in the future.  I was mainly taking pictures of birds this time.  When I got to the signs, there was a birdhouse nailed to one of them and there was a purple martin hanging out.  He seemed unconcerned by my presence.

There was also a Forster's Tern that would fly down the length of the canal and turn around and fly back.  It was flying with it's head down and every so often it would dive straight into the water in search of a fish.  That was pretty cool to witness.

There were also Ibises flying around in that area.

Purple Martin

Forster's Tern

another shot


Really quite a cool bird

Ibises are cool

I like the silhouette shots

once more

Pretty cool shot

I started driving again and then I started seeing black-crowned night herons.  I saw them flying and saw them roosting on the ground.  They were one of the birds I had hoped to see.  I saw a bunch of them, male and female.

Black-crowned night heron in flight

Another one



Hey, what's that killdeer doing here?

Another male

The black-crowned night herons were a highlight of this trip.  Oh, and the owl display.  I headed down a dirt road at the boundary of the WMA and saw a great blue heron.  Every time I'd almost get in picture range it would fly off.  I followed it for half a mile or so and it came to rest on a power pole.  I'd never seen one do that before.  Finally It came to rest on the ground and I got a picture of it.  It's the picture at the beginning of this post.  It is heavily cropped because I couldn't get close enough and I don't have a big enough lens for easily spooked birds.

Great blue heron on power pole

After the heron, I kept on the dirt road and followed it into the bush.  At first it seemed like an okay road and it seemed to be headed back to the main entrance.  Before too long it became obvious that it was a dirt road that four wheel drive vehicles would be more suited for.  It was iffy for a time, but eventually it did lead right to the place I though it would.  The road was bumpy and there were wet areas that almost seemed impassible.  I got through them though.

I enjoyed my visit to Market Lake and will return again.

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