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Harris’s Hawk prepares for landing

A cool image I haven’t shared before from a raptor photo shoot I did last year. It was a great opportunity to get up close and personal with some birds and get shots that you normally would not be able to get. In this case, it was even better by being a hawk that I had never seen in person before as they don’t live in Colorado.

Harris’s Hawks were previously known as bay-winged hawks or dusky hawks but John James Audubon gave it its present name in honor of his friend and supporter Edward Harris.

These birds are primarily found in arid climates like the desert Southwest and Mexico. They are unusual in that they are very social, living and hunting cooperatively with each other in packs.

A Harris's Hawk comes in for a landing. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Harris’s Hawk comes in for a landing. (© Tony’s Takes)

Marmot pops up and keeps watch

On a visit to Mount Evans, Colorado this past summer, I kept seeing movement in a nearby talus field out of the corner of my eye. Every time I would focus my attention on it, whatever it was, would seemingly disappear. The game was on!

I crouched down, ‘crab walked’ closer, doing my best to stay low and out of site. Then, there it was! This little guy / gal pops up to check on me. Once it realized just how close I was it quickly retreated but not before letting me grab a few pictures.

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 checks things out near the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Yellow-bellied Marmot checks things out near the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A bone-chilling cold landscape

I was pleased to find this image of mine included in Colorado Outdoors magazine’s 2017 photo issue. Taken at Jackson Lake State Park, Colorado back in January, it was indeed one very cold morning. However, all that ice and a subdued sunrise made for some nice pics that morning, even if it was 17 degrees and windy at the time. 😉

I had hoped one of my wildlife shots would make the cut for the magazine this year but no such luck. That’s okay, I am flattered to have this one in there and it gives me something to shoot for next year.

Image available here.

The sun rises over a frozen lake on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

The sun rises over a frozen lake on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Snowy Egrets size up an interloper

It never fails. You stake out a nice, quiet spot of beach to enjoy some fishing and time with the family. Along comes someone you have never seen before and despite having plenty of beach they could have to themselves, they insist on staking out a spot right among your gathering. So frustrating! 😉

There were about a dozen Snowy Egrets at this suburban pond, enjoying a nice evening. Along game this massive Great Blue Heron that decided to crash their party. The much smaller egrets weren’t quite sure how to handle the squatter and in the end, let the big guy keep the spot while they moved elsewhere.

A trio of Snowy Egrets try to decide what to do about a Great Blue Heron that has taken over their beach. (© Tony’s Takes)

A trio of Snowy Egrets try to decide what to do about a Great Blue Heron that has taken over their beach. (© Tony’s Takes)

Me and my shadow

This handsome Mule Deer buck was being shadowed by a younger, less impressive guy. Most annoyingly, the younger one seemed to insist on getting himself in my shot too. I imagine the big guy saying, “Leave me a lone, kid.” 🙂

Thank you to the folks that stopped by the Thornton art show yesterday – it was nice to meet you all and thank you too for your support. If you missed it, you can of course get stuff online. I have some landscape and wildlife calendars left over and ready to go.

Two Mule Deer bucks stand proud on the Great Plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Two Mule Deer bucks stand proud on the Great Plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Peek-a-boo!

An American Badger cub plays a game of hide and seek with the photographer. Taken back in May with this little one’s mom had her den right near a road with great visibility. It was about time for the cubs to wake up and I was patiently waiting their appearance. This guy was the first to show but not without checking out his surroundings and making sure it was all clear.

The American Badger is a rarely seen creature found across the western and central United States, northern Mexico and southern Canada. Its preferred habitat includes grasslands where it can find it’s the prey it relies on to survive.

Carnivorous, the badger is part of the same family that includes the wolverine, ferret and weasel. It 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.

An American Badger cub cautiously peers out from its burrow on the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Badger cub cautiously peers out from its burrow on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

“It’s 20 minutes to quitting time on a Friday and you want me to do what?”

Ever had that happen? Just getting ready to head out the door for the weekend and the boss tells you something simply must be done before you go? I suspect a human’s reaction would be something like the stink-eye this male Bald Eagle was giving me last week. LOL!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and enjoy what is left of your Freedom Friday.

More of these cool creatures here.

An American Bald Eagle displays a rather serious look.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Bald Eagle displays a rather serious look. (© Tony’s Takes)

American White Pelican demonstrates standing on water ability

A pretty extraordinary feat, eh? 😉 Well, okay, maybe not. This is one frame of a sequence of images I took of this cool bird as it was taking flight. This one just happens to freeze the action at just the right moment.

American White Pelicans spend their winters along the Gulf and southern Pacific coasts as well as in Mexico. Springtime sees them move north with many going to Canada and the northern plains but some choosing to stop part way and spend the summer in the Centennial State, northern California and a few other spots.

An American White Pelican seem to stand on the water at one point while taking flight on a lake on the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American White Pelican seem to stand on the water at one point while taking flight on a lake on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Squared off and ready to do battle

The Bison bull on the left you might recognize from my posting this morning. With their hormones raging, these two big guys were not playing nice with each other. They pushed each other all over the place including across the road right in front of me.

It was a pretty impressive display and makes you appreciate their sheer power, something you don’t get a feel for when they are calmly grazing. Light was at a premium so I had to use a high ISO and thus the image isn’t as sharp as I would like. Nevertheless, the look on their faces is awesome!

Two massive Bison bulls prepare to do battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)

Two massive Bison bulls prepare to do battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)

Rough rut

This massive Bison bull bears the battle scars of mating season. A broken horn, blood from his rival. Wow!

It was a pretty wild scene two weeks ago when I came upon the main part of the herd. Multiple battles were going on, some within just feet of my truck. This guy is the big man on campus and he did not appreciate being challenged by an upstart. The pair went at it for a good while, head to head, body blows, shoving each other across the grassland.

At one point, this guy broke a piece of his horn off but that didn’t prevent what was left from doing damage to the competitor and drawing blood. Awesome! Once the action died down, he came over and seemed to want a picture taken to show his scars. I obliged.

A Bison bull bears the signs of a rough battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison bull bears the signs of a rough battle during the annual rut. (© Tony’s Takes)