The ears on these residents of the Great Plains are so large they are usually the first thing you see when you spot them. This particular Black-tailed Jackrabbit had the right idea to try to conceal itself by tucking them down low. I had already spotted it though as it sat on the brush covered landscape on northeastern Colorado. It didn’t stay around long but did give me this capture.
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.
The conditions at 14,000+ feet can be harsh any time of year so when it is nice, you have to be sure to enjoy it. That seemed to be what this handsome fellow was doing a couple of weeks ago. While it was a chilly 40 degrees, there was some filtered sun coming through and the wind was relatively calm.
Not truly goats, they are actually members of the same family that includes antelopes, gazelles, and cattle. These handsome creatures are found from Alaska down to the Rocky Mountains of the United States. Found at high altitudes, Mountain Goats are sure-footed climbers and built to withstand the alpine areas that they typically inhabit.
A pair of Double-crested Cormorants get into a heated discussion about roosting rights. The lower one had been camped out in this tree for quite a while. When the upper one arrived, it let it know that it did not really want any company. After putting up a brief fight, the upper Cormorant decided it wasn’t worth the battle and flew off to find another place to spend the day.
I think this little one was a bit surprised to have company early in the morning out in the middle of the Colorado plains. Two, minor county roads intersected the spot and it likely doesn’t get much traffic other than ranchers and perhaps someone like me looking for critters. A brief, early morning rain shower had dampened things and the owl’s feathers as well. The light was a bit dim as the sun was still rising and it was overcast making for a bit of a tough shot. Thankfully the Burrowing Owl stayed put just long enough for me to grab a few shots.
It sure isn’t often you find one of these wary creatures laying down. They usually see you coming from a long way away and start retreating immediately. This particular lady was the exception, letting me roll right up and snap some pictures as she laid down on the prairie.
I saw quite a number of these speed demons this past weekend, mostly does but a few bucks. I had hoped to find some new fawns but didn’t have any luck this time.
Before the arrival of western Europeans, it is believed as many as 40 million Pronghorn roamed the open rangelands of North America – possibly more than there were bison. Hunting and fragmentation of their habitat by fences and human settlements took its toll and as few as 20,000 remained at the start of the 20th century. Thankfully conservation and education saved them from extinction and they now number almost 1 million.
Hardly a rare bird on the Colorado plains but one that has eluded me. I certainly have seen many but getting a quality capture has proven difficult as they are notoriously shy and seem to be able to disappear in brush in an instant.
On Saturday I see this beautiful specimen standing tall and proud on top of a round hay bale and instantly I think, “Finally!” Well, those thoughts didn’t last long as this guy saw me coming and took cover immediately. He stuck his head up for the briefest moment giving me this one shot.
While not what I was hoping for, it does make for a fun capture.
We spent our weekend at Jackson Lake State Park, Colorado, one of our favorite summertime spots. Certainly there was plenty of time playing in the water but my family allowed me some photo time too. Of course since my wife absolutely loves these massive birds, she didn’t mind too much.
Anecdotally, it seemed like there were more Pelicans there this year than we have ever seen in the 15 years we have been going there. Here, one that had swam close to our boat decided it was time to go and takes flight. So much fun to watch them. They may be a bit goofy looking but they are extraordinarily graceful flyers.
It donned on me this morning I hadn’t shared many pictures of these creatures from my excursion into the headwaters of the Florida Everglades a few weeks ago. Let’s fix that today.
This pretty lady was sunning herself on a small patch of high ground in the swamp. Our airboat captain did a fantastic job of putting me in a good position to get some nice, close up captures of her.
We saw at least a half dozen gators in the span of a couple of hours and was surprised at how, for the most part, they didn’t seem particularly bothered by us. In a way, that was a bit disconcerting as they are absolutely impressive. This one was a female so somewhat on the small size as she was “only” about 8 feet long or so. Males can be up to 15 feet long!
The American Alligator was actually came under the protection of the Endangered Species Act in 1967. Twenty years later, it had recovered enough to be removed from the list and today they are quite numerous.
Freedom’s launch! Today is American Eagle Day and I sure can’t let that go by without sharing a picture of my favorite photo subject.
According to Time & Date, the day is “Celebrated annually on June 20, the observance commemorates the day in 1782, when the bird was added to the official Seal of the United States.” IMHO it sure is a whole lot better than the turkey that old Ben Franklin preferred. 😉
This particular Eagle is one of my favorite mated pair and has a nest southwest of Denver, Colorado. On this particular morning about a month ago, they were quite busy keeping their two eaglets happy.
Oh my goodness. These two cuties were so darned entertaining!
Arriving at the top of Mount Evans (#Colorado), the resident Mountain Goats were nowhere to be found initially. This isn’t entirely unusual as there are lots of places for them to be but, eventually, they do usually show up at the main parking area. Sure enough, a couple hours later they did appear and the herd put on a nice show and gave me lots of pictures.
The highlight by far were these two kids who were extremely rambunctious, bounding around, butting heads and climbing on top of each other. During a brief break from the fun, one had climbed on top of a rock, seeming to want to take a break. His friend though wasn’t ready to stop and tried to coax him down for more play.
Mountain Goats are actually not native to the Centennial State. They were brought here during the 40s, 50s and 60s as game animals and as tourist attractions.