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.
The most fleet-footed animals on the plains, pronghorn are not only fast, they are pretty skittish. This handsome fellow proved that true on both counts.
He was fine with me driving by but the second I stopped my truck, it was off to the races. Here I caught him mid-stride with him stretched out and all of his legs in the air.
One of the puzzles about these creatures is why did they evolve to run so fast (50+ mph)? There is no reason for them to have that speed as there are no predators in North America that have a prayer of keeping up. Skeletons have been found indicating there used to be an American cheetah that has long been extinct. It is theorized that the pronghorn developed its speed to be able to get away from that predator.
This past weekend we camped out on Colorado’s eastern plains. While the rest of the crew slept in, I of course headed out to see if I could find something worthy to take pictures of.
Unfortunately, photo ops overall were pretty few however I did come across a number of pronghorn. This pair of bucks was nice enough to stop and give me a nice pose before turning tail and running off. I kind of liked the opposing look of the two, kind of like a mirror image.
Well, two out of the five did. Despite repeated directions to stop their movement, the other three pretty much ignored me. 😉
A pleasant surprise this past Saturday happening across this bachelor herd of the Great Plains’ speed demons. It had been a while since I had seen them in this area so I am glad to know they are still around.
In the background, you can see the Front Range suburbs and a hazy view of the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, at about the time this picture was taken a derecho was approaching kicking up tons of dust in front of it thus obscuring the distant view
This handsome fellow wasn’t about to stick around for pictures on a recent visit to the Pawnee National Grasslands in northeastern Colorado. We crested a hill and he was right there but there was no hesitation on his part to put some distance between us. Off he went, probably running at 40mph or more.
Sometimes jokingly referred to as “speed goats”, pronghorn are the fastest animal in the western hemisphere and the second fastest in the world. Unfortunately they tend to use that running ability to put distance between them and me. 😉
Yesterday my son and I headed out to the Pawnee National Grasslands for some recreation and relaxation. I didn’t take many pics as it was mainly just about spending time together but there were a couple scenes I had to capture, this being one of them.
At this point, Longs Peak, the most prominent mountain in the picture, was 65 miles away but no less impressive than if far closer. The scene was gorgeous with those snow-capped Rocky Mountains and the sprawling plains in front of them. The pronghorn buck seemed to appreciate the seen as much as I as he looked toward those beautiful peaks.
It has been a while since I have seen any of these speed demons as they do tend to be elusive. Last weekend though I ran across this quartet way out in a field after a snowstorm.
The buck and three does stopped to check me out as they grazed in a field. As is typical though, they weren’t inclined to wait around for pictures, only giving me a couple of shots before darting off over the hill.
Pronghorn (often incorrectly called #antelope) are the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere and second in the world only to the cheetah. They can sprint at speeds up to 60mph and run for extraordinarily long distances at slower speeds.
Well, maybe not, but it sure looks like these two fellows are blocking any access to the pretty lady.
Driving home from far northeastern Colorado last Friday, I spotted a herd of a dozen or so pronghorn. That of course was a photo opportunity I couldn’t resist, despite the harsh late morning light.
As is normal with these speed demons, they did not linger long as they are notoriously skittish. I managed a few, quick captures before they took off running over the hill.
Pronghorn, oftentimes mistakenly called #antelope, are the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere and second in the world only to the cheetah. They can sprint at speeds up to 60mph and run for extraordinarily long distances at slower speeds. Taken in Morgan County.
It isn’t often you get pics of these speed demons lying down. They are quite wary of humans and more often than not, about all you see are white butts bounding away.
On this morning back in June 2018 in northeastern Colorado, this pretty lady was kind enough to continue lying down and gave me some nice portraits of her.
Pronghorn are what folks oftentimes call antelope (and sing about ala “Home on the Range”) however that is a misnomer. Settlers called these animals antelope due to their similarity to Old World species however the pronghorn is its own, distinct family. Genetics show that they are in fact closely related to okapi and giraffe.
A short, fun encounter with this handsome fellow last weekend near Eleven Mile State Park in Colorado.
I happened across him and a few does near the lake and was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t take off running like they normally do. Instead, they walked right by me, not 20 feet away.
I reckon being near a state park, they have gotten pretty used to people and are more tolerant of us pesky humans than other pronghorn in more remote areas