I recommend sharing time at Lynx Lake. Here is an experience I had recently. One pleasant spring day I observed a large graceful white bird in flight holding his or her neck in an “S” curve and then land gently across the lake. From the slim black bill, long black legs and yellow feet that I viewed through my 300mm telephoto lens, I thought it might be a Snowy Egret. I have previously photographed Snowy Egrets on the Embarcadero, the eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, along San Francisco Bay. It is still a thrill to experience wildlife in their natural surroundings and I was hoping that the bird would still be patiently fishing when I arrived on the other side of the lake to take some photographs.
I continued my walk around the 2.3 mile loop trail, amidst tall ponderosa pines, manzanita, pinyon-juniper, and scrub oak in the cool Bradshaw Mountains high country at Lynx Lake, all the while taking in my surroundings for other wildlife in my path.
Photographing wildlife for years has many blessings and it often brings serendipity. The eye to eye (heart to heart) connection with nature is a wonderful experience and the photography is a bonus. There is usually an interesting story behind each of my photographs and I decided to share one with you in this post. Click on the images in this post to view a larger size.
This was my fourth visit to the area and as a wildlife photographer/naturalist; I developed a sense of what wildlife inhabited the lake and some of their distinct patterns. Photography has been a significant and meaningful part of my life since I was a teenager.
My first paid photography job as a junior was to photograph action shots at high school football events for a large daily newspaper. Many years ago I sold my first framed photograph of a beloved adult female Western Screech-Owl in a tree at a park, during a private photography showing in Ashland, Oregon.
During previous visits to Lynx Lake I have photographed Bald Eagles, (okay so they were a large speck in the sky) Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, and Acorn Woodpeckers to mention just a few birds. I especially look forward to photographing Osprey, Great-Horned Owls, Belted Kingfishers, Black-Chinned and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and Hairy Woodpeckers that can be seen in the area.
For you bird watchers, I plan to spot and photograph Plumbeous and Hutton’s Vireos, Steller’s and Western Scrub-Jays, Bridled and Juniper Titmouse, Mountain Chickadees, White-Breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, Bushtit, Bewick’s Wren, Western Bluebird, Black-throated Gray and Grace’s Warblers, Hepatic and Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Spotted Towhee that are frequent visitors to the Lake.
Patience, confidence, stamina, and determination are essential for a wildlife photographer. The rewards are numerous including, exercise, solitude in nature, all senses heightened, observing wildlife being, wild. Walking through the forest, desert or country I am more aware of the teeming life beyond my vision. At times, I find myself watching people in nature nearly as much as I observe wildlife, at least near civilization. I am frequently amused to see people stroll or hurry past numerous wildlife. Sometimes the birds and animals are barely inches from them and the people continue without a clue to the possibilities. Occasionally, I point out the unobserved wildlife to the delighted hikers.
Although I have not observed them yet, I know that there are Mule Deer, Javelin, and Cougars. About 20 years ago I had an amazing close encounter with a Cougar at Lake Powell, Arizona. Visit Stephen Bruno Photography to read about my exciting Cougar, Black Bear and other wildlife experiences. When you are at my photography webpage, scroll down to read the stories. Many reptiles also inhabit the Lynx Lake including Plateau Lizard, Greater Short-Horned Lizard, Sonoran Whipsnake, Gophersnake, and Arizona Black Rattlesnake. I have photographed several lizards at Lynx and I am always on the lookout for other reptiles.
I finally arrived at the opposite shore where the bird was patiently fishing near a large sandy beach adjacent to a mudflat that spilled out to the lake. As I walked closer, I identified that it was a beautiful Snowy Egret searching for food between the beach and the mudflat.
The Snowy Egret is about two feet in length and has a wingspan of about three feet. It has white feathers, a yellow patch of skin around its eyes, a black bill and black legs with bright yellow feet. In breeding season, it has lacy plumes on its head, neck and back. Males and females look alike. A mating pair of Snowy Egrets cannot recognize each another except at the nest, where the returning egret performs a greeting ritual to avoid being attacked as an intruder.
As the Snowy Egret stalked prey in the shallow water, it shuffled its feet, flushing prey into view, as well as “dip-fishing” by flying with its feet just over the water. It raised its wings to shade the water as it stalked prey. Alternatively I saw it lie in wait, perfectly still, then ambush prey that happen to swim or drift past. They tend to feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Their diet includes small fish, crustaceans, and large insects. When they feed on land, their diet consists of lizards, snakes, toads, worms, rodents, and snails. They feed, nest, and roost in flocks, and can often be found with other birds. They are gregarious bird and can be very vocal, especially when defending a feeding area or their nest. They have low croaks, and rasping, grating notes. By the beginning of the twentieth century, snowy egrets had been decimated by market hunters for their beautiful breeding plumes. The plumes were considered fashionable adornment for women’s hats. Because the plumes of Snowy Egrets were in greater demand than those of the Great Egret, Snowy Egrets were killed in larger numbers by plume hunters.
I cautiously approached closer to gain a better photography advantage point. As I was in position to begin photographing, a male goose near two female geese on the beach, walked toward me apparently to mark his territory. Attempting to not interfere with the geese, I slowly inched closer to the egret. As a wildlife photographer, I strive to embrace nature without interrupting their natural flow and placing unnecessary stress on them. I also did not want to intrude on the Snowy Egret feeding so I found a delicate balance between each of them. At least I thought I did.
Suddenly, the male goose ran toward me with his head up high making loud noises, flapping his wings and dancing on ground. I smiled at his instinctual assertiveness and maintained soft eye contact. I took a quick photograph of him, and talked tenderly while backing off a bit until he stopped. Then, he turned away from me and ran back toward the females with wings flapping, and loud calls. The females appeared to cheer him on. He then, with boundaries now firmly established, quietly sat down facing away from me and allowed me to take a few steps forward closer to the Snowy Egret.
I took my photographs of the exquisite Snowy Egret just before an unleashed dog ran across the sand toward the mudflat and scared it to flight and on down the lake. I encourage people with animal companions to not allow them to roam freely in wetland habitats and disturb these birds. I have shared a few of the photographs that I took that day in this post.
This relatively small 55-acre lake a few miles southeast of Prescott, features trout fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, archaeological sites, and bird watching.
Access to the west shore of Lynx Lake has been provided for the physically challenged. I appreciate this thoughtful option as I frequently meet wonderful and friendly people who can explore the lake thanks to the paved path.
At a 5,500 foot elevation, the cool, summer temperatures attracts over 125,000 visitors annually. This recreation area includes the North Shore Scenic Vista overlook, Lynx Creek Gold Pan area, and the Lynx Creek Ruin Trail.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.