Last but not least in my look back at my photo year, we come to mammals big and small – with a reptile thrown in for good measure as well. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to photograph so many of the creatures which we share this planet with. Each one is special and each chance to see them thrills me. Enjoy this view of pika, marmots, bison, foxes, bears and so much more!
One of the things that always strikes me as amusing about these high-altitude residents are those whiskers. They seem to me to be ridiculously long, something highlighted in this image thanks to the lighting. Oh, and check out those cute little feet! 😉
Last weekend I photographed a number of these cool little dudes although most of the pics were lacking action like this one, just a pika posing. With the first snows of the season reported at Colorado’s highest altitudes this past week, these guys will be furiously working to prepare their dens for the coming winter.
When you are as small as an American pika, you are most often looking up at things. No doubt, when the opportunity presents itself, it is nice for them to find some high ground to get a good look around.
This little one was doing just that, picking the tallest rock in the area and then pausing to take in the view. That sounds a lot like what I do when I am out taking pictures. 😉
I know that is what I was thinking and I suspect this American pika was thinking much the same.
I had taken a seat among a bunch of rocks, keeping watch for these little high-country residents. As I watched one, straight ahead, I caught some motion our of the corner of my eye. Turning, there was this pika, staring right at me. Quickly, I pivoted and snapped a few pics before it scurried off.
Taken this past weekend, I had a pretty good morning with these guys, getting some cool shots. Most notable was the picture I did not get – one of a baby pika. Not far from where I saw this guy, I was watching another when the tiniest pika I have ever seen appeared. I swear it wasn’t much bigger than a golf ball. Sadly, it quickly disappeared but it was pretty exciting to see.
A very small creature among big rocks on an even bigger mountain. This little one and I almost seemed to be of like minds a couple of weeks ago.
High above timberline, with all of creation below me, I oftentimes just sit down and look out toward the distant horizon taking in the scene with my eyes and the fresh air with my lungs. It provides a bit of a moment of “Zen” as I sit alone with only my own thoughts and the sounds of nature.
As I was doing just that, this pika emerged about 10 feet away, climbed to the top of the rock and sat – far different from their usual busybody activities. For a few moments, man and beast shared an experience. Kind of nice.
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.
This little one seemed to have finished its winter preparations as it didn’t spend any time gathering, instead choosing to simply find a spot out of the wind at 12,000+ feet altitude (not an easy task).
I had yet to photograph any of these tiny creatures this year so Saturday I made it my mission to do so. The wind was miserable and while it wasn’t terribly cold, it was enough to keep me shivering, largely due to me forgetting gloves. 😀
Thankfully, the little pika took mercy on me and would pose occasionally, giving me some nice shots before retreating to the warmth of the car and a return to warmer, lower altitudes.
Taken on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.
One for Throwback Thursday going to this past September. This was on my last visit of the season to Mount Evans, just before they closed the road for the winter. Up until then, I hadn’t done a very good job documenting these little high altitude creatures for the year but that changed on this day.
This pika in particular turned out to be quite a willing photo subject. I had staked out a spot on a rock in the talus field, patiently waiting for one of the little guys to pop out. Before long, it appeared and paid little attention to me.
Here, it hopped up on a rock not 20 feet away, taking a break from gathering food for the coming change of seasons. These little guys are highly entertaining and almost always in motion. When they stop, you better be ready to take the picture.
The change of seasons is fast approaching and at high altitude, it will be here very, very soon. These little guys know their summer is short and spend most of their time gathering for the colder weather.
I was photographing the sunrise when I heard the unmistakable ‘bark’ of a pika behind me. Once the sun fully came up, I stood and watched and soon spotted this little one dashing out to some foliage, gathering it, and running back to its home in the talus.
I took a seat on a rock nearby and spent an hour or so photographing and watching it go about its routine.
Pika are small creatures but a fitting one to share for National Wildlife Day as a reminder of the wide variety of wildlife that we share this world with and need to always be mindful of.
After a couple of hours on Mount Evans recently, it looked like the pika weren’t going to play. I looked and listened but was having no luck spotting these tiny, high altitude creatures.
As I was driving down, I had my window rolled down and heard the unmistakable ‘bark’ of one. Coming to a stop on the side of the road, I got out and walked toward where I thought I heard the noise.
Not seeing anything, I simply sat down and waited. Sure enough, after a bit this little one emerged from its hiding place and gave me a few, quick pictures.