Sorry about the dearth of posts lately, I worked a heavy schedule during the park's astronomy festival and was kind of burnt out without much to say. Spent a fair amount of time in the mornings - once I finally had some days off - hanging around the birdbath, mostly hoping to get shots of the really bright male Western Tanager who shows up every once in a while. That hasn't happened yet, unfortunately. The most frequent visitors are the Cassin's Finches and is getting to the point that there is no need to shoot them anymore. This male Yellow-rumped Warbler did pose for me briefly - wish he would bring the Plumbeous Vireo who has been tormenting me daily with his incessant calling from high in the Ponderosa Pines down to water some time (you would think a vireo would need a drink every now and then . . .).
I have also been trying to photograph some of the local wildflowers when the wind lays down enough that I can do something with them. This one was growing just outside my trailer and the book on local wildflowers didn't have it listed, so I had to do a little legwork to figure out what it was. One of the best resources on the web is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, though it helps to have a name (preferably the scientific name) to search their extensive database of North American wildflowers. The method I used to find this one was by starting down the list of evening-primroses - I have a complete list of the vascular plants for the park - and searching. Thankfully this one was near top and the fun part is that this plant, Crownleaf Evening-primrose (Oenothera coronopifolia) was listed as "historical". What that apparently means is that it had been recorded as occurring in the park some time ago, but had not been reported recently. So I get to chalk up a "rediscovery" of this species to go along with my recent documentation of Red Foxes breeding in the park.
On the other hand, this flower is actually rather common around the park, Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana). I'd missed getting shots of them last summer for some unknown reason so made up for it this time around. What struck me is how much they smelled like the roses that were grown around my childhood home (at least to my sense of smell). Another plant blooming now in the park is Sego Lily, but the flower isn't fully open until a time during the day that has been windy, making them impossible to photograph. They are widespread but, just as an example of how elevation makes a huge difference, I'd photographed them a month ago down in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (about 760 meters or 2500 feet lower).
In other news, I saw a pair of fresh fawns (Mule Deer) a couple of nights ago so will have to keep on the look out for them in decent light. I've also been alerted to a major bat roost in one of the park buildings - tried to shoot a little video last night but it started to rain just as they began to emerge. Photos would be nice and I may try that one day, too, though the fact that they don't start coming out until sunset will make things tricky to say the least. My best guess, since I didn't bother to try and count, is there are over 200 in this location.