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Wildlife

#Moose bull hiding among the aspen trees=

I haven’t done a Moose Monday in a while so here you go.

Taken last August in U.S. Forest Service Arapaho National Forest. We had stopped along a back country dirt road to take a break and while we were sitting there, we hear rustling. He didn’t want to make himself visible and we didn’t want to intrude but I did get a few glimpses of him thanks to my big lens.

Moose are the largest member of the deer family although the sub-species we have here in Colorado, the Shiras moose, are the smallest of moose sub-species. That however does not mean they are truly small. They can stand six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 1,200 pounds! You cannot begin to appreciate their size until you are up close with one.

A Moose bull conceals itself among the trees in Arapaho National Forest.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose bull conceals itself among the trees in Arapaho National Forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawk grabs some nesting material

This gorgeous raptor was in a field right next to the road yesterday. At first, I assumed it had a kill it was guarding as it was surprisingly reluctant to leave when I stopped.

Instead, it turns out it simply wanted to grab a stick to add to its nest. Interestingly enough, it flew not far away and added it to a nest on a power pole.  Few hawks choose power poles for nests, instead preferring trees, and I have never seen a Swainson in a man-made spot.

These beautiful raptors are found across the American West during the summer months. They arrive in such numbers that they become almost more common than the ubiquitous Red Tailed Hawk. It is here that they will mate and have young before heading south to Argentina for the winter.

A Swainson's Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson's Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson's Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mule deer doe smiles for her picture

Kind of a fun look and this lady’s face this morning. The deer look pretty rough right now as they get their summer coats in but this pose helps to hide how splotchy it is. She was quite content to just lay there and watch me watching her. Taken at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado.

A Mule Deer doe seems to smile while lying in the grass.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mule Deer doe seems to smile while lying in the grass. (© Tony’s Takes)

Male Bald Eagle works hard on the home

This guy has got to be the hardest working male Eagle I have ever seen. He is constantly with doing home repairs or fetching food for his growing family. His mate is definitely spoiled as she rarely has to do any of the work.

On this day, he plunged to the ground beneath the stand of trees where their nest is, disappearing out of sight. When he reappeared, he not only had grass in his talons which is common, he even had a mouthful of it! This is the only time I have ever seen an eagle do this.

Bald eagles have been a spiritual symbol of Native Americans for hundreds of years. There were variations between tribes as to the eagles’ symbolism but for most it generally represented bravery, wisdom, strength and courage. It was believed that the eagles carried prayers to the Great Spirit.

Have a fantastic Freedom Friday!

A Bald Eagle returns to its nest with grass in its talons and mouth.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bald Eagle returns to its nest with grass in its talons and mouth. (© Tony’s Takes)

Handsome Pronghorn buck head on

It’s not too often you can get these guys to stand still for a picture as their first instinct is almost always to run. However, they are also notoriously curious, oftentimes pausing initially to ascertain a potential threat. I have learned that if you can do something to get their attention, sometimes they stick around just a bit longer and it also gets them to look right at you.

What do I do?

I have a bright yellow cleaning cloth in my truck that I use just for this – holding my camera in one hand, I wave the cloth over my head in the other. Yeah, it probably looks silly but it does work pretty often and that was the case with me being able to get a pic of this guy south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Sometimes mistakenly called antelope, their closest relatives are actually giraffes and okapi. It is believed Pronghorn developed their extraordinary speed when the now extinct American Cheetah was a threat.

A Pronghorn buck stops and stares at the photographer south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Pronghorn buck stops and stares at the photographer south of Cheyenne, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Spring is in the air as Burrowing Owls mate on the plains

Well, these images were taken on Mother’s Day so I reckon perhaps in a way it is fitting that this pair was working on making babies. 😉 The pair was initially perched on two separate burrows. The female came flying in and that seemed to be all the invitation the male needed to initiate the intimacy.

With any luck, the pair was successful but it will be several weeks before any potential little ones make a public appearance.

Oddly enough, this seems to be – at least for me – a bit of a down year for Burrowing Owls. The majority of the usual spots where I have seen them in recent years have no activity or did once and have not since. It could just be a bit of bad luck / bad timing for me seeing them. But, in general, I am seeing far fewer pictures of them in my Colorado photo groups than what I would normal expect.

See more pics of these cool little guys that I have taken in the past here.

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Burrowing Owls mate on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

High key Bison bull head on

One for Tatanka Tuesday! The Bison herd at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado has seen a half dozen new births this spring. I keep trying but I have yet to get good pics of the little ones as they keep hanging out too far away.

This past weekend, some of the big bulls provided a nice consolation prize. Here, one of the big boys marches right toward me. The light was drab due to overcast skies and not particularly flattering so I opted to make a conversion to black and white, blowing up the highlights to give it a high key look.

It used to be we called these buffalo but that actually was incorrect. While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the Bison is its own, distinct species. It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old-World species. Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lakota word that translated means “bull buffalo.”

If you’re interested in owning this image, check it out here.

High key black and white image of an American Bison head on.  (© Tony’s Takes)

High key black and white image of an American Bison head on. (© Tony’s Takes)

The last thing this fish sees is a photographer taking its picture

The last thing this fish sees is a photographer taking its picture. 😀

Take a close look and you will see what I mean. When I got home and processed this image it kind of cracked me up. Coming home from work a couple weeks ago I stopped by a local open space. This Great Blue Heron rewarded my time with three consecutive catches of fish. Lots of fun to see it devour them whole.

A Great Blue Heron swallows a fish whole.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Blue Heron swallows a fish whole. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mother’s Day means not letting Mom see the faces you make at her choice of meal

Well, technically not a meal. These Mountain Goats lick the rocks to get the minerals from them but… It will be a few more weeks before the snow is cleared and I can visit Mount Evans, Colorado, where I took this picture last year. With any luck, there will be a new generation of these little guys to enjoy watching and photographing.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, wildlife or domesticated. 😉

A Mountain Goat nanny and her kid on Mount Evans in Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat nanny and her kid on Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Love is being nose to nose with Mom

A bit early with what would be a cool pic for Mothers Day tomorrow but I was just flipping through older images and came across this one. Taken last May, these American Badger had her den in a great spot for viewing and provided me tons of photo opportunities of her and her cubs.

I’ve been watching the same spot this year but thus far haven’t seen them. Hopefully I will in the coming weeks but, it is pretty rare to see one at all so I am doubtful.

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 sow and cub share a quiet moment.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Badger sow and cub share a quiet moment. (© Tony’s Takes)