A bit of an eerie scene for Halloween as a Great Horned Owl stands watch. This image was purely a case of photographer error but when I snapped it back in April, I knew it would make a good one for today.
The cool dude was hanging out in a thick stand of trees but I was forced to shoot directly into the rising sun. I failed to adjust my settings for the dark foreground / bright background and ended up with this silhouette instead of a properly exposed image. Turns out sometimes mistakes can be good things. 😉
I wish you all a very happy All Hallows’ Eve and hope you manage to avoid any scary creatures.
It is Moose Monday and today’s capture comes to you from the forests in Grand County, Colorado back in August. While the rest of my camping crew opted to sleep in, I headed up further into the national forest hoping to find Moose as we have seen them in this area before.
I went 7 miles up a dirt road without a single capture and then turned around. Finally, just a mile before camp, I see a big guy standing right in the road. When he moved off into the woods, I saw there was a second one. While one entirely ignored me, one did make sure to keep an eye on me.
This young one was such a willing photo subject yesterday morning. If only the light had been better! It was heavily overcast early on and the lack of light did not do this series of images any of favors. Nevertheless, it was good to see the young one. I in fact saw a total of eight eagles yesterday, signs of them returning to the Colorado Front Range for the season.
Not particularly great pics but kind of fun. A couple weeks ago I was photographing the butterflies that were migrating through and hanging out on our miniature rose bushes. I spotted this mean looking dude staking out one of the flowers. It never tried to get one of the butterflies but when a bee would come, it would jump at it and try to snag it. It wasn’t successful during the time I was watching but it was kind of fun to see.
Taken last weekend, wind the day and night before had stripped a lot of the trees of many of their leaves. This tree however was holding on strong to its gold. The fall foliage and beautiful blue sky accented by the clouds looked pretty awesome. Image available here.
It is pretty rare that the tiny American Pika stops long enough for you to compose a nice closeup. This particular one though did just that for me back in August. Despite the fact I was hanging out mere feet from its den, it seemed to revel in all the attention I was giving it and was very comfortable with me.
More than once we shared the same rock in the talus field as it would scurry right by me, sometimes pausing, sometimes rushing about gathering food to stash in its den for the season.
One time it made me a bit uncomfortable by actually stopping and resting on my foot! I couldn’t help but worry about the little dude scurrying up my pant leg. Ha! Unfortunately that was too close for my lens to focus to get it sitting there but it was kind of fun.
Right now these little ones are staying warm inside their dens, many probably under the snow by now. They don’t hibernate so rely on food they gathered during the summer months to sustain them.
Assembling my images for my 2017 photo book and you can be guaranteed there will be a few shots of this rare creature. The Black-footed Ferret is North America’s rarest animal and my encounter with this one in April was definitely ‘one for the books.’
Myself and a few other photographers were lucky enough to spend more than three hours watching it as it went around to various Prairie Dog burrows looking for something to eat. Few people have had the privilege of seeing this endangered species in the wild so I definitely count myself lucky.
A marked contrast in size between these two raptors to say the least. I was taking pics of the beautiful Bald Eagle when this young Cooper’s Hawk landed nearby. While I wish they were closer together, the image does do a nice job showing the difference in sizes between the two.
While the eagle has a wingspan between 6 and 7 feet, the much smaller Cooper’s is less than half that big. At one point the hawk gave me a wide-eyed look as if to say, “Check out how big that eagle is!” 😉
While not often seen, the Cooper’s Hawk is actually quite common. Typically associated with forests and woodlands, they have proven themselves to be very adaptable and indeed seem to thrive in suburban and urban environments. However, they typically opt to hang out within the cover of tree branches and leaves, not normally out in the open.
A fun day this past weekend with this big guy as he chased the ladies all over the canyon. I had hoped for a show of head butting with the rams as the rut is getting close but, for some odd reason, this guy was the only one that wanted to come down and play. He was probably quite happy about that as he then had all the ewes to himself. 😉
As he kept watch on the ladies, he paused and looked at me as if to say, “here’s your shot.” I of course took advantage of it and the fall foliage in the background really help to make for a nice image. Taken in Waterton Canyon near Denver, Colorado.
Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the male ram’s monstrous horns. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season. The young are kept on high ledges to help protect them from predators.
The Bighorn Sheep is the Centennial State’s official animal and to me that is quite fitting. Just like the terrain and many of its people, these animals are very rugged, strong and tough. The animal is found in many places in the state’s high country.
Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully conservation efforts have been successful in helping the sheep rebound since then.
A pair of Mule Deer bucks fight for the affection of the nearby ladies. This was very early in the morning so the lighting was not good at all but it was fun to watch these two go at it for a bit. They were pretty evenly matched and there was no clear winner. In fact, after they were done, they both continued to hang out right near each other, largely ignoring one another.
Found across western North America, Mule Deer are named for their oversized ears. Image taken at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado.