Creatures big and small passed in front of my lenses over my past photo year. No matter their size, all were special to see from the pika and mink to the bison, bighorn and pronghorn. Here’s a look back at my favorite mammal captures from my past photo year.
This big guy knew he was one of the proverbial top dogs and was not afraid to strut his stuff. Having spent the months leading up to the rut preparing for the big event, he was bulked up and looking fit for battle. On this morning he and a few other rams weren’t in the mood for fighting but they did give me some nice poses as they moved around the side of the mountain.
Ah yes, the younger ones can be quite rambunctious and you better be ready to move when they come running. This ram was in hot pursuit of a ewe and humans in the way or not, he was not to be deterred from his quarry.
Thankfully a big lens ensured I wasn’t really all that close but looking through it, it was definitely a bit startling and I did stop shooting soon after this to ensure I wasn’t about to be plowed down. 😉
Rarely have I seen such an amazing celestial sight! ? Let’s call this a #FridayFunny and something to put a smile on your face as you head into the weekend. A friend and I were watching this bighorn sheep ram high on the cliff and I said, “Watch for the moon, watch for the moon!” hoping the handsome fellow would give us a regal pose on the top with the moon serving as a nice accent. Well, clearly the big fellow had other ideas and decided to show us what he thought was his best side.
Ah, yes, it is that time of the year and love is in the air for the bighorn sheep. Of course, the love may not always be reciprocated, as was the case with this pair. The young ram was definitely in the mood but his potential partner, well, the ewe wanted no part of his overtures.
They were a good ways down the canyon and I heard them come bounding down onto the road, initially headed the other way. She made an abrupt u-turn and they came running up the road at a full sprint. After passing, she bounded back up the side of the canyon and he, realizing it was not meant to be, gave up the chase.
Yesterday I had my first seasonal visit with these rugged, majestic creatures so let’s call today #SheepSunday. 😉
There wasn’t a lot of action to speak of during my visit but, as always, they proved to be very photogenic and entertaining. This handsome fellow was certainly one of the big boys of the area and he knew it. Viewers could tell he had seen his share of action by the scar on his snout and those clearly battle-tested horns.
At one point he came down to the road, offering some nice closeup images with this one being my favorite. I loved how the light hit one of his eyes and the side of his face.
You get a good look at that horizontal pupil, something that allows bighorn to have a 300-degree field of view, an important adaptation to help them stay aware of potential predators.
That was one handsome dude! As I was working on my end of the year photo projects, I came across this never shared before image. Taken almost one year ago and soon I will begin seeking these guys out again. Taken in the Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colorado, there wasn’t any real action that day but getting to see them is always exciting. They really are quite fitting of the honor of being the Centennial State’s official animal.
Really not much more than a pond, Sheep Lakes is a low-lying area in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Horseshoe Park area. It is named after the bighorn sheep that call an adjacent mountain their home.
However, I have found it more likely to find elk or moose here than bighorns. This past weekend was one of the few times I have seen any there and while it was only one, it was a ram with a very impressive set of horns.
He seemed pretty unbothered by the crowds that had gathered to watch him and continued to lazily graze on the grass. This guy does appear to need to do some bulking up quickly as the bighorn run will start next month and he needs to be in prime shape by then.
It’s been a while since I have shared a pic of the Colorado state animal. This image is from last October in the Big Thompson Canyon. The terrain is extraordinarily rugged and steep, prime habitat for these fleet-footed mountain climbers.
This handsome fellow was one of the more impressive rams that morning and while he indicated a willingness to go head-to-head with competitors, none were wanting to take the challenge. I really loved the pose on this image and the way it showcases the terrain.
A bighorn sheep ram seems to be relishing the shrub he is sampling. Taken back in October, I had high hopes for some good rut activity but it wasn’t to be. The rams stayed up high for much of the morning and when they finally came down, they were more interested in eating than battling for the affection of the ladies. Nevertheless, it is always fun to spend time with Colorado’s official state animal.