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Posing endangered Black-footed Ferret

Posing endangered Black-footed Ferret

Capturing pictures of an endangered species is exciting. Capturing images of one very rarely seen and once considered extinct is nothing short of thrilling. The Black-footed Ferret is a rarity on the Great Plains and the only ferret native to North America. Once numerous, the small animals were harvested for the fur trade. That, coupled with a loss of habitat and disease, resulted in a declining population and it was eventually declared extinct in 1979. Two years later, a small population ...

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Red-tailed Hawk focuses on the landing

Red-tailed Hawk focuses on the landing

This is probably my favorite image from a recent event I attended. Karma is a nine-year-old hawk that is used for falconry and educational purposes by Wild Wings Environmental Education. On this morning, just about everything came together perfectly for this shot - the golden light of the early morning sun, a dramatic sky in the background and of course the extraordinary subject. In the end, this is a capture that I am very proud of.

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Pit stop thunderstorm

Pit stop thunderstorm

On my recent trip to the northern Rockies, our first overnight stop was in northern Wyoming in the town of Kaycee. Soon after arriving as sunset grew close, thunderstorms started to build just to our east. This particular cell was quite beautiful as it was lit by the direct sunlight to the west and the shades or orange of the soon-to-come sunset. For a time it was severe warned as it was dropping golf ball sized hail - thankfully not ...

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A big, bad Bison bull in black and white

A big, bad Bison bull in black and white

Yesterday morning was a pretty dull, gray day with cold temperatures and light snow along the Colorado Front Range. That made for tough lighting and wildlife activity was pretty slow. However at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge I did find a few cooperative Bison including this big guy. Doing some post-processing of the image allowed me to add some drama to the image and I think it makes the big guy look pretty impressive (which he was!). I hope ...

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Osprey takes flight head on

Osprey takes flight head on

A very fun picture taken this past weekend at St. Vrain State Park, Colorado. There are a number of Osprey that spend their summers in the area and this was the male of a pair that is nesting within the park. He was happily perched in a tree near the nest when he decided it was time to go fishing. Thankfully I was ready and snapped this image as he headed right toward me. Due to the compression effect of using a ...

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A gorgeous scene soon to repeat itself

Golden colored aspen trees tower over the forest on Guanella Pass during the fall of 2016. (© Tony’s Takes)

Golden colored aspen trees tower over the forest on Guanella Pass during the fall of 2016. (© Tony’s Takes)

I took a drive to the Colorado high country this morning and the leaves are just starting to hint at the change of seasons. In another couple of weeks, those trees will look like these aspen trees on Guanella Pass last year on September 24th. I can’t wait! I’ve already planned out at least one route that I will be taking.

The Milky Way as seen from the Wyoming plains

During a recent visit to our neighboring state to the north, I took the opportunity to get out and do some astrophotography. I don’t really have the right gear to do this justice (need a faster lens) but it is fun to go out and see what I can come up with. Here you do get a pretty good view of our galaxy although there were a few, light clouds that intruded on the view.

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pair of little owls focuses on the photographer

One of this summer’s favorite pairs of Burrowing Owls. They provided me with a good number of photo opportunities although once their little ones began emerging, they became a bit more reclusive and standoffish.

It won’t be long now and the family will begin their journey to someplace further south for the winter. During the summer Burrowing Owls can be found across much of the western United States. At more southern latitudes closer to Mexico and in Florida they stay in place year round.

Unlike most owls, they are diurnal (versus nocturnal) so it is quite common to find them out and about during the day. Burrowing Owls are considered a threatened species here in the Colorado. Their numbers appear to be on the decline as humans take over and destroy their habitat.

Many folks think nothing of wiping out Prairie Dog colonies, a keystone species itself, but don’t think of the cascading effects of that on all of the other creatures down the line, including these little guys.

A pair of Burrowing Owls keeps close watch at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of Burrowing Owls keeps close watch at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

This one for all the folks here in Colorado

Kickoff for the Rocky Mountain Showdown is in less than a half hour. Where does your allegiance lie? With the Colorado State Rams or Colorado Buffaloes? Do you stand with Cam or Ralphie? I don’t have a preference unless it involves Navy Football.  😉

The Bighorn Sheep - Mascot of the Colorado State University Rams. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Bighorn Sheep – Mascot of the Colorado State University Rams. (© Tony’s Takes)

The American Bison - Mascot of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. (© Tony’s Takes)

The American Bison – Mascot of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. (© Tony’s Takes)

Profile portrait of our nation’s emblem

It is hard to imagine a more fitting creature to represent this great nation. Regal, majestic, relentless, indomitable and honorable might be some adjectives you could use to describe both.

I found this fellow last November at St. Vrain State Park in Colorado as he surveyed the ponds, no doubt contemplating a nice meal.

There aren’t too many Bald Eagles readily around right now but that will change in the coming months as the temperatures cool and they come here to spend the winter months. As always, I am very much looking forward to that time!

A Bald Eagle strikes a regal pose at Colorado's St Vrain State Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bald Eagle strikes a regal pose at Colorado’s St Vrain State Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bald Eagle flies head on into the holiday weekend

Such impressive creatures and I think a panoramic crop of this handsome fellow coming straight at you does a nice job of showcasing its six plus foot wide wingspan.

Taken back in April, this image is of the male at my local nest, being grumpy as he almost always is. He did not care for strangers and anyone coming even remotely near his home could be guaranteed a flyby while he checked them out and let them know they were not welcome.

As the spring and summer wore on though, he became far more used to the traffic in the area (there is a regional bike trail nearby). He and his mate successfully raised one young one this year.

I haven’t seen them in a couple of months which isn’t unusual as they spread out after their young fledges. I do hope they return this winter / spring and make their home in the same spot.

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.

Panoramic image of a male Bald Eagle flying head one in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Panoramic image of a male Bald Eagle flying head one in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red Fox kits at play

One for Throwback Thursday taken back in May when I spent a couple of times observing these siblings. Just like human kids, the kits were quite rambunctious, spending much of the morning exploring their new-to-them world and of course attacking each other. It was a very fun time for them and of course for me!

While they aren’t seen often, Red Foxes are quite common across the entire Northern Hemisphere from near the equator to the Arctic Circle. They are extremely adaptable and able to coexist in areas with large human populations.

A pair of Red Fox kits play around near their den in northern Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of Red Fox kits play around near their den in northern Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Photo slideshow captures the Great American Eclipse

I don’t know how many “amazing” adjectives I can use to describe the solar eclipse last week and my being under the path of totality. More than a week later I still can’t believe it. The problem is that I don’t know how best to depict the photos I took of the event. The collage I shared last week did a good job I think and now I took some of the images and put them into a video slideshow. What do you think?

Black-tailed Jackrabbit keeps a close watch on its behind

These big-eared denizens of the Great Plains don’t usually want to pose for pictures. Occasionally you come across one that will pose and such was the case on this morning in July.

I kind of find these guys a bit disturbing. They are really quite big and not near as cute as you typically envision a rabbit to be. 😉

Also called the American desert hare, these jackrabbits have a wide range across the western United States where they can be found at altitudes ranging from sea level to 10,000 feet. Here in Colorado, they are pretty common on the plains.

A Black-tailed Jackrabbit keeps close watch from among the grasses of the Great Plains.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Black-tailed Jackrabbit keeps close watch from among the grasses of the Great Plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Well, hello there, big lady!

It isn’t too often a big Bison is going to catch you by surprise as they are kind of hard to miss. However, such was the case with this cow on my visit to Yellowstone National Park in June.

I had stopped at Soda Butte, the remnants of an extinct geyser in the Lamar Valley, to snap a few pictures. As I rounded the side of the butte opposite the road, I came face to face with this large, hairy creature. Oops! She was working her way up and directly toward me. Needless to say, I quickly backpedaled and gave her all the room she wanted. 😉

These impressive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands.

A Bison stakes out its ground at Soda Butte in Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bison stakes out its ground at Soda Butte in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley. (© Tony’s Takes)