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Coyote on the hunt for breakfast

Such a pretty lady, eh? She looked absolutely stunning as she hunted the fields in the Upper Beaver Meadows area of Rocky Mountain National Park this past Sunday.

It seems like if I see coyotes in the park, this is usually the spot. The ones there seem quite comfortable with the humans that intrude on their domain and oftentimes just go about their business, ignoring the interlopers.

This particular one was clearly looking for a meal, at one point stopping and listening hard at the grass in front of it. I was sure it was going to give me a nice pounce but whatever she thought she heard must have quieted down and she moved on, crossing right in front of my truck.

Coyotes are amazingly adaptable animals and have not been greatly impacted by human expansion. Here in the area I live, this has resulted in some human – coyote conflicts, mainly with the coyotes attacking domestic pets. They range across North America and some have even been seen into Central America and Panama.

A female Coyote keeps watch in the Upper Beaver Meadows area of Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Coyote keeps watch in the Upper Beaver Meadows area of Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bull Elk chases after the ladies for Wapiti Wednesday

With hormones raging, the Elk rut is in full swing and the males are doing their best to gather up their harems. This particular guy, while a good-sized specimen for sure, was not having much luck.

He was relegated to an area far away from the main herds and was chasing a single cow. Despite his best strutting and bugling, she showed little interest and spurned the overtures.

We sometimes call these creatures Wapiti, a word that comes from the Shawnee and Cree word ‘waapiti’ which means ‘white rump.’ They are one of the largest members of the deer family in North America, second only to Moose.

A massive Elk bull keeps watch for the ladies in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A massive Elk bull keeps watch for the ladies in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bristlecone in black and white

I’m no arborist by any means but Bristlecone Pines fascinate me.

They have the capability to survive in extraordinarily harsh environments and have longevity that is just amazing. The remnants of this particular tree reside right near treeline in Colorado so at about 11,000 feet in altitude – not a pleasant place to be in the winter.

More so, this tree could have lived to be 5,000 years old! It may very well have been alive at the time of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and indeed could date back to the Bronze Age when the Egyptian pyramids were built. Just an amazing thing to think about.

Black and white image of a fallen bristlecone pine tree in the Mount Goliath area of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black and white image of a fallen bristlecone pine tree in the Mount Goliath area of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

First look at the fall colors in Colorado’s high country

Taken along Old Fall River Road about half way between the base and top. In this particular area, it was a bit hit or miss (more miss really) as to finding fall foliage this past weekend. However, the higher you went, the better your chances.

Many locations, particularly those above 9,000 feet, in the state’s high country will peak this coming weekend. If you’re planning to view the show, this will be the primary weekend to do it – I know I will be up there!

If you are in the Centennial State and not sure where to go, I offer up some thoughts on my weather website here.

Fall colors make an appearance on Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fall colors make an appearance on Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little kid stands guard for Mountain Goat Monday

These guys are so darned cute and entertaining. This particular kid was pretty interested in the group of photographers that had gathered to capture images of it and the rest of the herd near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado.

While the other kids pretty much ignored us, this one took a keen interest and spent much of the time from a perch above observing us. No doubt it found the scrambling creatures on two legs just as entertaining as we found it.

With the road to their domain now closed for the season, the next time I see this little one it will be much larger and probably not quite as cute. There should however be a new crop of little ones to take its place in my viewfinder.

A Mountain Goat kid keeps watch on the photographer below. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat kid keeps watch on the photographer below. (© Tony’s Takes)

A sign of the change of seasons

Quite a day yesterday in Rocky Mountain National Park… Not long after I took this I was wanting to head back down to the east side of the park where we were camped but they closed Trail Ridge Road literally 30 seconds before I was there.

With the rest of my family down below and the rangers being unsure as to when the road would open, I ended up taking the long way around – a three and a half hour diversion. Ugh!

I reckon on the plus side for my readers is that I do have some cool pics to share this week. 😉

I am Badger, hear me roar!

A fun image of these two American Badger cubs taken back in May. The three cubs and their mom provided a couple of weeks of fun and a photo opportunity that does not come along often. The cubs would appear for an hour or so each morning and spend time romping around and playing.

The behavior here was often repeated with one seeming to rear back and roar although I never did hear a sound come from them.

The American Badger is ferocious in its hunting ability choosing snakes, prairie dogs, mice and other residents of plains-like areas where it lives. It is considered an endangered species in parts of Canada and a threatened species in some locations in the United States.

American Badger cubs at play at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Badger cubs at play at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

Smooth flowing waters of Chicago Creek

This is a spot that a lot of folks go by as they head up to Mount Evans, Colorado. I suspect many just blow right by and never even notice it but it is worth a quick stop. The waters of the creek flow down toward the road and early in the morning the thick forest provides for some nice lighting. Using a neutral density filter allowed me to use a very slow shutterspeed to blur the waters and give them their smooth appearance.

The waters of Chicago Creek work their way through the forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

The waters of Chicago Creek work their way through the forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A wary, watchful Golden Eagle

It has been a while since I have seen my friend – in fact it has been since early spring. I was thinking about her this morning and hoping that she reappears soon. On this particular day back in April, she put on a nice little show for me. There were plenty of flight shots but she also took a break on one of her favorite overlooks, a pole on a hillside, where she kept close watch on the goings on.

If you’ve never seen a golden, you are missing an extraordinary treat. They are clearly just gorgeous but more impressive is their sheer size.

A Golden Eagle keeps watch from its perch in Boulder County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Golden Eagle keeps watch from its perch in Boulder County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Marmot hanging out on the tundra

These little guys are busily fattening themselves up and stashing food for the coming winter. It has been unseasonably warm across much of Colorado in recent weeks but there are signs things are changing. A cold front moving through this weekend may deliver some snow to the residences of some of these high-altitude creatures.

Sometimes called a ‘rock chuck’, Yellow-bellied Marmots are actually members of the squirrel family. They are found above 6,500 feet in grassland, meadows and talus fields. Here in Colorado you are most likely to spot them above timberline sunning themselves on rocks.

A Yellow-bellied Marmot enjoys a quiet morning on the alpine tundra. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot enjoys a quiet morning on the alpine tundra. (© Tony’s Takes)

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