A little bit of high country drama involving this little one, its herd and humans and dogs.
As usual, the Mountain Goat herd on Mount Evans was hanging out near the parking area this past Saturday morning. There were probably a dozen or more tourists and photographers enjoying watching the animals as they bounded on the mountain.
A young couple with two dogs decided to disregard commonsense and bring their pets close to the herd. To wildlife, dogs are predators, and the herd reacted as you would expect – they quickly fled down the mountain a ways to distance themselves.
In the process, this poor little kid got separated from its mom. It was initially out of my view but I could hear it desperately calling for help. It seemed like an eternity but finally it topped the hill behind me and was able to see the herd. Quickly, it bounded down the rock face of the hill flying right by me to its mom.
It was quite close and the action fast but I managed a few shots as it went by including this one as it leapt off one of the rocks.
While it made for a cool capture, the situation that created it was frustrating. I have dogs and I love dogs. However, they and wildlife simply do not mix – period. By choosing to bring their dogs in close proximity to the Mountain Goats, they stressed the animals, created unnecessary drama and a potentially dangerous situation, and ruined a great wildlife viewing opportunity for tourists and photographers.
I see this time and again in this spot and many others and it is very frustrating. If you have dogs and take them with you to locations with wildlife, keep them well out of sight and earshot of the wildlife.
Mountain Goats are pretty docile and not likely to attack. Moose, elk and other creatures may not be so quick to retreat. Be courteous to others there to enjoy these gifts from Mother Nature.
Scroll down to view the complete sequence of images.
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.
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.
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. 😉
I don’t know why but spring fever has hit me hard this week. I can’t stop thinking about warmer weather and the creatures I see during the spring and summer.
The thing is, at least as far as this image goes, when I took this picture at the start of September it was no warmer than it is right now (33 degrees). Key difference is of course that the image was taken at nearly 14,000 feet near the top of Mount Evans where it always seems to be cold. 😉
I do look forward to returning there though and spending some time with the Mountain Goats. They are beautiful and just a ton of fun.
Oh, this little one. It was quite the entertainer for me back on the first of July at the top of Mount Evans. It and its mom and come to the top and I was doing my best to get some pictures of the kid. It however almost purposely seemed to evade my every move to get a clear shot.
Just as I would get in position, it would move itself around the side of a big boulder out of view. This went on for a while with me getting more and more annoyed. At one point when it was out of view, it stuck its head up above a boulder and I swear, it truly, purposely stuck its tongue out at me! Sigh. Some people’s kids! 😉
When you’re at an altitude of 14,000 feet or so, it can be quite chilly. The rising sun provides much-needed relief and can feel so good and be so relaxing. This beautiful Mountain Goat seemed to be enjoying soaking in the warmth and couldn’t hardly keep its eyes open as it lounged on a monster boulder near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. As cold as it was on this morning in June, it is undoubtedly far less pleasant up there as winter starts to gear up in earnest. Of course, these alpine residents are well suited to the conditions. Me? Not so much. 😉
It was a lazy early fall day on the mountain for the Mountain Goat kids, well, at least for some of them. While most were quite content to just relax on the alpine tundra, one was feeling rambunctious and went around prodding the other kids to play. It never did work but it was cute watching it try to get the others moving. Here it went up and nosed another young one.
The terrain where this picture was taken undoubtedly looks much different now, two months later. Mount Evans is covered in snow and its summit is closed for the next seven months. I’ll be anxiously awaiting my chance to visit with this high altitude residents again.
The colors of our nation’s flag represented in the landscape, the wildlife and the sky. 😉
Hearkening back to early September, just days before the road to access these cool creatures closed for the season. The Mountain Goat herd was late arriving at their usual spot and I had just about given up. As I head down from the summit to look elsewhere I found them and as always, thoroughly enjoyed my time. This nanny seemed anxious to get the rest moving to higher altitudes, climbing a bit, then stopping and making sure they were following, then climbing so more and checking yet again.
Mountain Goats are actually not native to Colorado, having been brought here in the early 20th century as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, they can carry diseases which are deadly to our state’s official animal, the Big Horn Sheep. When the goats roam into sheep territory, they are often killed to prevent them from infecting the sheep.
These guys are so darned cute and entertaining. This particular kid was pretty interested in the group of photographers that had gathered to capture images of it and the rest of the herd near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado.
While the other kids pretty much ignored us, this one took a keen interest and spent much of the time from a perch above observing us. No doubt it found the scrambling creatures on two legs just as entertaining as we found it.
With the road to their domain now closed for the season, the next time I see this little one it will be much larger and probably not quite as cute. There should however be a new crop of little ones to take its place in my viewfinder.