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Wildlife

Grizzly in the grass

Taken two weeks ago in Yellowstone National Park just north of the infamous Old Faithful geyser. On our way to a spot on the east side of the park that supposedly was a hot spot for bears (it turned out not to be), we came across this beast in the forest not too far off of the road.

Shooting into the early morning sun low on the horizon and it causing long, dark shadows in the forest presented a less than ideal picture taking opportunity. The images came out ‘just okay’ but this was the first time I have seen Ursus arctos horribilis in the wild so I was pretty happy anyway.

Sometimes it is more about the experience than the picture.

A grizzly bear walks through the grass at Yellowstone National Park. © Tony’s Takes

A grizzly bear walks through the grass at Yellowstone National Park. © Tony’s Takes

Can’t I just eat in peace?

Taken this past Saturday, July 26, 2014, at Brainard Lake in Arapaho National Forest, Colorado. This was one of five Bull Moose out right at dawn and he was in fact one of the smallest of the group but was about 6 feet tall.  In the background is the 13,229 foot tall Mount Audubon.

Did you know Bull Moose can weigh 1500 pounds and despite their heft, reach speeds of 35 mph? Definitely nothing you want to tangle with. 😉

Scroll down below the photo for a complete gallery of moose pictures from that day.

A moose bull eats its breakfast with the Colorado Rockies in the background.  © Tony’s Takes

A moose bull eats its breakfast with the Colorado Rockies in the background. © Tony’s Takes

Squaring off: Bull moose test each other

This image from Saturday shows two bull moose squaring off in what was a relatively gentle test. Preparations for the rut in September / October? Possibly. Like elk, moose will become very aggressive during mating season.  Any humans in the vicinity could find themselves attacked.

Taken at Brainard Lake in Arapaho National Forest, Colorado.

Two moose bulls square off in what was a relatively gentle contest.  © Tony’s Takes

Two moose bulls square off in what was a relatively gentle contest. © Tony’s Takes

Bull moose at sunrise

This guy was one of five at a spot in Arapaho National Forest west of Boulder, Colorado this morning. He was one of the smaller ones but also one of the more photogenic.

This is the first time I have this close to a bull moose and let me tell you, they are massive, impressive animals to say the least. Their sheer size is absolutely intimidating and nothing you want to mess with.

Moose bull at sunrise. © Tony’s Takes

Moose bull at sunrise. © Tony’s Takes

 

Young Swainson’s Hawks hang out in the nest

Argentinian triplets in Colorado. After work I swung by a local Swainson’s Hawk nest for the first time in a couple weeks to check on the little ones.

They are getting big quickly and it would appear the strongest one is very close to fledging since it was up and out of the nest.

Swainson’s migrate to Colorado and much of the western half of the United States in the summer. Winters are spent in Argentina – what could be up to a 12,000 mile round trip!

Swainson's Hawk eyasses hang out in and near the nest. © Tony’s Takes

Swainson’s Hawk eyasses hang out in and near the nest. © Tony’s Takes

Peregrine Falcon gets its closeup

Closing out the workweek is a shot of an absolutely gorgeous Peregrine Falcon taken last week at Yellowstone National Park.

Peregrine’s can be found just about anywhere on the globe. Here in North America, much like other raptors, the bird was threatened by pesticides in the 20th century but is making an incredible comeback now.

This particular Peregrine Falcon was not in the wild (although they do reside in Yellowstone) but rather belonged to a falconer that happened to be staying in the campground I was in. The man was kind enough to let me snap off bunches of pictures of this bird (Merlin) as well as two others he owned.

A Peregrine Falcon gets its close up.  © Tony’s Takes

A Peregrine Falcon gets its close up. © Tony’s Takes

Head to head with a Black Bear in Yellowstone

“Well hello there!” A black bear walks through the brush toward me in Yellowstone National Park last week. Thanks to a zoom lens it wasn’t as close as it might appear in the photo but I did cautiously back up just to give it a wide berth. I was lucky enough to watch this beautiful creature for 20 minutes or so as it walked around the forest looking for breakfast in the Tower Falls area of the park.
A Black Bear in Yellowstone National Park walks through some shrubs looking for breakfast. © Tony’s Takes

A Black Bear in Yellowstone National Park walks through some shrubs looking for breakfast. © Tony’s Takes

Prairie dog camouflage

This little guy seemed to think a few blades of grass would be enough to hide him at Grand Teton National Park. Didn’t work so well.  For most folks in the west these rodents are considered pests but for some others, they can actually be quite a tourist attraction. They are kind of cute – if you can set aside the diseases they can carry and the damage they do.  😉

A Prairie Dog tries to conceal itself in some grass. © Tony’s Takes

A Prairie Dog tries to conceal itself in some grass. © Tony’s Takes

Osprey in flight with the Tetons in the background

Pics of osprey were some of the better images to come from the trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, probably because they seemed to be quite prevalent so I had tons of opportunity (versus a single black bear and a single grizzly).  This male was from a nesting pair at the south end of Grand Teton NP and he and his mate gave me quite a show.

Scroll down for more pics of these osprey and others in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

A male osprey flies by with the Teton Mountains in the background. © Tony’s Takes

A male osprey flies by with the Teton Mountains in the background. © Tony’s Takes