One last “top shots” video recapping my 2020 photo year. Today, I look back at some of the mammals that I photographed. From the tiny American pika to the massive moose, I was fortunate to spend time with some pretty amazing creatures. Two new animals that I had never photographed were highlights including a suburban bobcat family and the wild #horses of Sand Wash Basin. All images taken here in Colorado.
Taken back at the end of September at the height of the rut, this big boy was just not having a good morning. He had a nice little harem going and thanks to some deft moves by a competitor, he suddenly found himself all alone.
He was undeterred though, holding his head high and looking for opportunities – here he paused briefly, giving me a great look. The bull soon headed off, disappearing into the forest. I thought, at that point, that the show was over but not two minutes later, a cow and her calf came running out of the trees with the regal bull right behind.
The day started as a loss for him but he stayed positive and persevered. Perhaps a lesson in there for us humans.
Ah yes, it is a tale as old as time itself. Males competing for the love and attention of the fairer sex.
This handsome elk bull was not having a good morning. His small harem was stolen away by a competitor and he found himself going stag (pun intended!). He headed off into the forest and I assumed he was gone for a while. I made my way back to my vehicle when suddenly he emerged again, leading a cow and her calf, bellowing as he gave chase.
His persistence had paid off and he had a new target for his affection. Just another day in the life of an elk bull during the rut.
The bugle of an elk bull during the rut is a common sound in Colorado’s high country and it is always fun to hear. I had made my way to this spot, mainly in hopes of finding moose. They did appear but this guy made a nice substitute.
The sun had not risen yet so light was at an absolute premium and the elk bull was little more than a shadow as it moved across the top of this hill.
Given the low-light conditions I normally wouldn’t bother taking a shot but the overall scene with the bull, the forest and the mountains behind begged to be captured. Not a print-worthy image but one that really showcases what the elk rut in the mountains is all about.
A fun few images for Wapiti Wednesday.
Away from the main action of the rut in the meadow below, these two younger bulls had a little battle of their own in the forest above. Somewhat young and not quite ready to challenge the big boys, their hormones were raging just the same and they decided to take it out on each other.
For a good half hour they went back and forth, locking antlers and pushing and shoving each other. While maybe not quite as impressive as the bigger bulls, these guys clearly showed that in a year or so, they will be ready and in their prime to battle for supremacy – and the ladies.
I had asked this handsome fellow to give me a nice portrait. Sigh. Everyone’s a comedian. 😉
Had a fantastic weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park, taking in the sights and of course enjoying the wildlife. The elk rut is in full swing with the bulls doing their best to keep their harems.
This particular fellow was alone and on the move, looking for cows. Not long after this image was taken, he disappeared into the forest only to emerge a few minutes later chasing a cow. Persistence pays off I guess.
A handsome elk bull bugles toward a cow for Wapiti Wednesday. I don’t know for sure but I don’t expect yelling at a perspective mate is the way to win her heart. 😉
This big guy was actually not having a particularly good morning. He had a harem of about 10 cows but found himself with competitors to each side, both with bigger harems. One by one, the cows began deserting him and as they did, he did little more than bugle, never really trying to round them up and never challenging the other bulls directly.
Of course there is sure to be a lot of back and forth like that during the rut so perhaps tomorrow will be a better day for him.
This was a pretty long shot so I used the crop mode on my Canon EOSR5 to help bring the action “closer” and am pretty pleased with the result.
Yesterday evening I shared an image showing the sights of the season to come with fall foliage. Here is one depicting the sound of the season, that of a massive elk bull calling to the cows nearby.
Taken at the end of September last year in Rocky Mountain National Park, this handsome fellow found himself without a harem but he was doing his best to rectify that issue.
A larger, even more impressive bull had gathered up all the cows but this guy was sounding off hoping to lure away some of the ladies without having to directly confront the big guy. In the end, it didn’t work but he sure looked cool while trying. 😉
The elk rut is starting to kick off in the Colorado high country and as you would expect, soon I will be heading that way to capture the action.
Taken last week while in Rocky Mountain National Park. I actually stopped at this spot to look for moose and instead found this smaller member of the deer family.
Returning to my truck after a bit of a hike, he actually was initially between me and my truck. I waited. And waited. And waited. But, he was happy staying in place eating grass.
I ended up going off-trail, giving him a wide berth, and working toward my truck. Well, he seemed to find me to be very interesting as he started walking toward me.
You can tell (head and ears up), he wasn’t aggressive, just curious. I, however, did not care to get up close and personal with him and went ahead and got in my truck. He lost interest after that.
I get similar looks from a lot of creatures that I photograph. 😉
I happened across this good-looking fellow while in Rocky Mountain National Park a couple of weeks ago. His rack was already looking pretty impressive and was clad in its summertime velvet.
He didn’t look like he would be one of the truly big boys but may be a contender for some of the cows come fall and the rut.