Memories of Zion National Park

Scenes From Zion - SceneryNobody goes to Zion National Park to see birds do they? With all those rose and pumpkin-colored cliffs to enjoy, who has the time or inclination to look for birds? Crazy people like me, that’s who!

I’ve passed through Zion a few times, and it’s hard to ignore those spectacular views. The scenery is like no other place I’ve ever seen. Tectonic forces have uplifted eons of sediment and twisted these layers skyward, then paused and repeated the steps to form the unforgettable and monumental sculptured cliffs above the valley. But a closer look into it’s nooks and crannies can deliver the more subtle and delicate beauty of the avian community that make their homes here.

I passed through the park in May of 2015 during my six-week tour of the Intermountain West, and got acquainted with some of the local avifauna. The best meeting occurred along the grade out of the canyon leading to the tunnel road that exits the park’s eastern gate. I found a wide pullout halfway up the grade and stopped for several hours. Several tour busses pulled in while I was photographing a singing Black-Headed Grosbeak, but the passengers were so focused on the landscape, very few noticed the singing bird (not me!). Later I found a footpath leading along the steep cliff-side and followed it for a few hundred yards and met more of the locals, including my first Juniper Titmouse. Further east in the park I couldn’t resist stopping to capture the abstract nature of the lines in the uplifted sandstone cliffs.

August 2017 found me passing through again on my way to meet my good friend Jerry Goffe to chase a moon-shadow in Idaho. Mid-summer isn’t usually an ideal time for meeting birds and I wanted to spend a little time at Bicknell Bottoms before meeting up with Jerry. I would characterize this trip through Zion as “Clark Griswold” adventure. There were lots of cars in the park and few open places to pull off, so I had a little fun taking crappy through-the-windshield pictures with my phone while driving. These yielded random results, as I kept my eyes on the road and took my chances with the image captures.

The gallery below shows some of the images I caught during these trips.

Click map markers to reveal further information