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> > August on the Road with Spence

Oldredbarn has attached these 20 pictures. The message is below.
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Madison River Brown
Madison River Brown
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Gulper Bow on Hebgen...19"
Gulper Bow on Hebgen...19"
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Two Michigan Boys! Craig Mathews at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone
Two Michigan Boys! Craig Mathews at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone
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Caught up with an old friend Charlie tying at an FFF function in Livingston
Caught up with an old friend Charlie tying at an FFF function in Livingston
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Bruce into a 14" Slough Creek Cutt
Bruce into a 14" Slough Creek Cutt
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His fish
His fish
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Crested Caracara in Munising in the UP...It's normal northern most range is southern Texas
Crested Caracara in Munising in the UP...It's normal northern most range is southern Texas
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Barred Owl MN
Barred Owl MN
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Common Nighthawk Antelope Island Utah
Common Nighthawk Antelope Island Utah
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Great Horned Owl Antelope Island Utah
Great Horned Owl Antelope Island Utah
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Western Scrub Jay
Western Scrub Jay
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Bull Elk Rocky Mountain National Park...Up near 12,000 feet!
Bull Elk Rocky Mountain National Park...Up near 12,000 feet!
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Clark's Nutcracker
Clark's Nutcracker
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Antelope on Antelope Island
Antelope on Antelope Island
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Swainson's Hawk Montana
Swainson's Hawk Montana
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Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde
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Lisa and me in Zion
Lisa and me in Zion
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Monument Valley
Monument Valley
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Stellar Jay
Stellar Jay
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The Nerder Birder at work...
The Nerder Birder at work...
OldredbarnSeptember 8th, 2016, 7:16 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Left Detroit August 1st and returned September 4th...I have to admit I'm still a tad burnt out and the whole thing will take some time to digest...A proper fishing report isn't in the cards right now I'm afraid...

Drove up through the UP to WI, MN, ND, to get to Montana to fish and bird for two weeks with my fishing club.

At the end of three weeks my wife flew to Salt Lake. She had some frequent flyer miles and a one way ticket was only $5! I drove through Idaho to pick her up.

We birdied the Bear River NWA and Antelope Island and then went south to see Bryce and Zion. We then drove off by the Vermillion Cliffs and Monument Valley to Cortez Colorado.

We then visited Mesa Verde and drove north through Colorado to Rockey Mountain National Park.

We stopped at the Pawnee National Grassland, western Nebraska and then home.

It was wonderful beyond belief...Never seen Utah or Colorado and am wondering why it took me a lifetime to do so.

I'm going to post some fishing pics and some of the better photos from my trip...I'm still working on entering the bird data into eBird, but it looks like between 25-30 new life birds.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123September 8th, 2016, 8:58 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2398
I was wondering where you've been lately!! You've gotten home just in time for the trout fishing to start picking back up...

NICE PICS!!! Looks like one very scenic trip. Like I said on here not long ago, those western landscapes are so spectacular! And I've seen a few of those critters: Clark's Nutcracker at Crater Lake NP (cross-country skied there once); Stellar's Jays in Coos Bay, OR (lived there for a year); and pronghorn antelope, the three times I have been in Wyoming. Yeah, I bet you picked up some new life listers! Good for you, nerder birder!! I got to see three blue herons, three sandhill cranes, one bald eagle, one belted kingfisher, and two mute swans on the job yesterday (Wixom Lake).

You've got about three weeks left and then it's off-season waters around here. I quit fishing for about three weeks due to the heat and drought, but things are picking up around here again, so get back out there as soon as you can after posting the rest of your out-west fishing pics!!

Welcome home and nice freaking vacation! ;oD

Jonathon

P.S. You KNOW it's been a hot summer when you see a tropical bird in the UP!!! WTF??? As far as owls go, well I hear barred owls all the time but rarely see them; same with the great horned, had one hooting in a tree in my neighbor's backyard one night!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnSeptember 8th, 2016, 9:23 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Jonathon,

Got hot with the owls, but I missed the Burrowing Owl, which I actually hunted. I stopped at Theodore Roosevelt Painted Valley in western ND and stopped and scoped all the prairie dog towns...No luck.

We did get a Pygmy owl in Zion along with a glimpse of a California Condor, and we had a short-eared owl nearly fly into our vehicle in Nebraska.

Still trying to get the lists entered into eBird...Its a bit of a slow process now that they allow photos...

The fishing wasn't as hot as the birding. I fished a lot of different places and it was painfully slow. It has been warm out west as well and they could use some rain. I stopped at the Barns Hole just inside Yellowstone Park and the water temp was 70. That is probably normal for that part of the river at this time of year, but...

I stopped at the Gibbon, the upper stretches of the Gardner. Soda Butte and Slough Creek...Fished the Yellowstone at Buffalo Ford...No fish, but got a life bird for me, the Gray Jay.

Someone has posted here a note about the issues with the heat and the Yellowstone and Yellowstone Lake. There were some large fires in the park as well.

I had a great day on Hebgen...It was a strange day since the wind usually blows you off the river by lunch time...I fished it all day. Must of made a zillion casts and had my, you-know-what, handed to me. :) It is much harder than one would think!

Think monster fish feeding everywhere, and cruising where ever they want...No river current to contend with...You think they are heading west and you respond only to discover they are heading in the opposite direction. It was a hoot!

Occasionally I pulled the fly away too soon! It was a frustrating blast! Calibaetis were hatching and spinners everywhere most of the day...Little grebes were leaping up from the surface of the lake trying to eat them! They were all over us and the boat...All over my back...

Anyway!!!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123September 9th, 2016, 8:11 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2398
I quit fishing for about three weeks because of the heat and drought. One evening I wet-waded the Rifle and the water almost felt like lukewarm bathwater..."Geez, this doesn't feel like trout water!" A trip to Cooke Pond yielded no fish and a lot of snagged weeds - one of only three times I've been skunked this year - and I said it's time for a break. Too damned hot and humid for kayak fishing anyway, felt like I was gonna melt that night...and there were NO hatches of any kind for over a month. Now those white Nectopsyche are doing their dance over the water by the thousands at dusk, and of course there's lots of hoppers out there too.

Still, there's nothing like being out west. I lived in Coos Bay, OR for a year and did as much of the state as possible, and the scenery NEVER gets boring. And of course, even though I'm not an "official" birder like yourself, I saw lots of them that I had never seen before myself, including the two above. I am envious and some day when I have enough pennies saved up I need to head back out there myself, and other parts west as well.

Thanks for all the fabulous photos! Glad the two of you had such a wonderful trip.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRobertsSeptember 9th, 2016, 5:12 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Nice. Some gorgeous photos, Spence. Great Barred Owl shot. Some great birding. Burrowing owls are very patchy. Some dog towns have them, most don't. (A Caracara in MI?!!)
OldredbarnSeptember 9th, 2016, 8:15 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Yep...In the UP no less! The bird has been there since July. No one knows why. Young bird maybe blown off course? It is still there in the same spot and cold weather is just around the corner. Some speculate that once the Turkey Vultures fly over it heading south that he/she may follow them?

I got the Barred with my iPhone. :)

You live in a very beautiful part of the world. Souther Utah and Colorado were a treat for us...I had never seen either state.

Have you ever been out to the Pawnee Grasslands? We drove out of Estes Park, basically downhill, and then the roads turned flat and straight as an arrow. I guess the beginning of the Great Plains. Out there it is desolate and wide open...

Every eat at Mary's Lake Lodge?

Thanks for the comments. I just purchased the zoom lens earlier this year and once I got use to it, it produced some nice stuff. What I posted is just the tip of the ice berg.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsSeptember 10th, 2016, 5:34 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Yes, I've been to both Pawnee and Comanche. They are wonderful places. Much of CO plains have turned over to agriculture. Nice to see some semblance of what it once was. The prairies in S Dakota (Custer) are pretty neat with numbers of Bison and 'lope.

I don't think I've eaten at Mary's Lake, but I live a about an hour from it.

Photographic technology is simply amazing nowadays.
PartsmanSeptember 10th, 2016, 5:41 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 265
Spence, good to hear from you, wonderful pics. There are so many wonderful places to see in this great country. We recently had a family get together at my folks place out in cottonwood Arizona, the variety of bird life just out on the patio was amazing. My favorite being the desert quail.

Mike
MartinlfSeptember 11th, 2016, 4:10 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2955
Simply gorgeous Spence. Thanks for sharing.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnSeptember 11th, 2016, 11:59 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Mike,

The west is a wonderful place. It nice to get out and about and realize the world is different from the places where we usually hang our hats. It's a big wide world out there.

A couple years back I say in my sister-in-laws backyard one morning before Christmas and had 5-6 new life birds just sitting there. She has the Gambel Quail hanging in her backyard.

Thanks Louis! I had a blast. I remember your recent trip to the southwest. Us old guys are getting around, which is nice!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnSeptember 16th, 2016, 9:07 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Well. I finished my bird list from the above trip. I came home with 28 new life birds...I got a little lucky because in July the American Ornithological Union, in their last update in the Auk, split mister Western Scrub-Jay above. No longer Western Scrub-Jay. The west coast version is now the Califonia Scrub-Jay, and the interior version is now the Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay...So the "splitters" gave me another lifer.
Wunderbar! ????

I have the California from a trip to the high desert a few years back to visit my brother-in-law for New Years. I got the Roadrunner then as well.

Spence

One day the splitters may get around to splitting up the Dark-Eyed Junco...I got the Gray-Headed Dark-Eyed Junco this trip too.

I took a bike trip with my Audubon group last Sunday and added the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and the Carolina Wren. So. Before I left I gave myself a goal of 30 new birds by year end and its met by the middle of September...I think I'll relax and enjoy a cold Molson or two this evening.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
AzhockeydadSeptember 18th, 2016, 12:02 pm
Phoenix

Posts: 11
Amazing pictures Spence. Headed back to the Firehole River next week. Wrote a new poem and thought I'd share it with you.....Hope you enjoy it


Learning to Fly


I dream a million fireflies transporting me to this space
A Moon shadow casts a light upon my face.
A Young boy dreaming of tight lines on this mountain stream,
Water droplets on frozen fly line, casts a prism sunbeam.

It's this time and special place that etches a constant memory,
Of Standing on that rock casting tight loops across the estuary.
Practice makes perfect as I make a presentation towards this riffle,
I can see a smile on my face, a moment in time that's purely transcendental.

With hope on the rise and a pheasant tail nymph tied to my tippet,
I make my way past the roily water to a calmer spot I'll inhibit.
Stripping line I load this feather chucker and place a nymph on the breezers nose
Zzzzzzz screams my reel and I scramble to fight this foe

As the snow begins to fall, I gaze upon this look of contentment in my eyes
And hover from above to watch myself learning to fly.
I whisper to myself, " Man life doesn't get any better than this",
As I kneel to release my catch, I watch him glide in to the abyss.

And at day's end I find myself walking beside the memory of Theodore, Lee and Jack,
Three mentors who showed me the way, part of the Wolff pack.
If I fished only to capture fish, my trips would have ended long ago,
And now I have something that money can't buy, the gift of learning to fly.

-K.Carman 2016
In memory of the three men I admire so much..Theodore Gordon, Lee Wolff and Jack Hemingway. I've learned so much from the three of you. RIP and I hope all your lines are tight! FISH ON!
OldredbarnSeptember 18th, 2016, 12:09 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
I whisper to myself, " Man life doesn't get any better than this"


Yes indeed! Thanks for sharing, sir! Good luck in the Park!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
AzhockeydadSeptember 18th, 2016, 2:57 pm
Phoenix

Posts: 11
Hope to see you at West Yellowstone some day Spence! Love all your photos!

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