Category Archives: Rabbits

March 23, 2017 Lake Kaweah, California

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Patiently Waiting on the Weather

Horse Creek Campground on Lake Kaweah, California

Horse Creek Campground on Lake Kaweah, California

Two days ago, I made the short move from Lake Success to Kaweah Lake and the Army Corps of Engineers Horsecreek Campground. I settled in on a fairly level campsite all but on the campground loop road. Fortunately, there are very few other campers here right now so I really haven’t been bothered by any traffic. I took this particular site because there are no other sites anywhere near it and it is fairly level … and level sites are pretty scarce in this campground. All the sites are primitive but there is a dump station on site, though I have yet to find any drinking water source here. Camping fee is $20/ night with a 50% senior discount making it $10. This place is probably very popular in the summer months, but with the roads up in the National Parks still intermittently closed by snow, most sites are empty right now.

Despite the very steep surrounding foothills I was able to get my rooftop satellite to lock on and surprisingly, there is a very strong Verizon signal here for some decent internet connectivity, something I have been lacking for the last several weeks.

Collapsing Arch

Collapsing Arch

Directly across the loop road from my site is a collapsing stone arch with a rubble pile of boulders below it, tumbling right down to the road’s edge.

Rock Rabbits

Rock Rabbits

And the rubble pile is home to several cottontail rabbits that are constantly hopping all over the rocks and ducking down under them every time they see the shadow of a black vulture or raven flying overhead.

Rock Rabbits

Rock Rabbits

Rock Rabbits

Rock Rabbits

Their antics are kind of fun to watch when I am stuck in the RV during the rainy days.

And speaking of rain … there has been plenty of it lately and more is forecast. I have made a couple of forays up into Sequoia National Park but can only venture in a dozen miles or so before encountering rain … or sleet … or snow … and always running into clouds ( literally ) once I get up to 3000′ elevation, and that makes any kind of photography impossible.

Spring in the Foothills of the Sierras

Spring in the Foothills of the Sierras

The entrance into the park is at about 800′ elevation and the sequoias grow at an elevation of 6000′-7000′. The morning I took the beautiful spring shots  ( above and below ) I ran into snow and ice just 12 miles into the park, probably no more than 15 miles from where these two shots were taken.

Spring in the Foothills of the Sierras

Spring in the Foothills of the Sierras

In the distance of just 15 miles of serpentine road climbing up into the park, probably no more than 8 or 10 miles as the crow flies, you go from beautiful sunny weather in the low 60’s to snow and ice and freezing temperatures … pretty amazing contrasts in weather here right now.

Kaweah River Rapids

Kaweah River Rapids

The Kaweah River runs next to the park road and there are some wonderful overlooks along the road. This is all snow melt runoff from the first good snow year in the Sierras in quite a few years.

Kaweah River

Kaweah River

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Redbuds are in bloom from 2000′ to 4000′ elevation along the park road and when the clouds allow, they are something to see.

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

Redbud Bloom

I have only made it up to the elevation where the sequoias grow one time so far and everything was enveloped in a very thick fog, actually a cloud I suppose, so I didn’t bother taking any shoots. But there are supposed to be a couple decent days coming this week and I am sure I will eventually make it all the way up the mountains and into the sequoia groves, so stay tuned.

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May 1, 2015 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

My Last Day Here and Still Seeing New Birds

Usually when I arrive in a campground where I intend to stay more than a few days, I will set up a feeding station for the birds to see who may be in the area. I regret that I did not do that here until just my last few days here.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

This petite, and argueably the most beautiful of the orioles, the Bullock’s Oriole, appeared on the scene just a few moments after I quartered up an orange I thought was going bad, and stuck it in the tree that was only a couple feet from my dinette window. These two shots were taken from the inside of the motorhome, through two panes of glass with my 18-200mm lens, so forgive the lack of sharpness, but I couldn’t let this guy get away without some kind of shot..

Only a couple days before, I hung out a suet feeder and a small platform feeder with seeds and had several surprises appear out of nowhere, including a brilliant lazuli Bunting and three kinds of warblers. I really didn’t think there would be this kind of birdlife in a largely barren landscape, but the campground did have a lot of young trees planted among the campsites acting as a sort of oasis in the highland desert, and now I really wish I had gotten the bird attractants out sooner !

Old Orange Dumptruck

Another Watercolor Possibility

Located another possible watercolor candidate.

Jackrabbit Standoff

Jackrabbit Standoff

I decided to do one last run through the refuge this morning and came across these two Jackrabbits alternately fighting and then staring each other down.

Jackrabbit

Jackrabbit

I challenged myself to try and get a shot of a Jackrabbit going at high speed … and almost succeeded in doing so. Darn, they move quick. There is no shortage of these guys all throughout this area, along with their Cottontail cousins. Lots of fast food ( pun intended ) for the coyotes and larger raptors.

Gadwall Takeoff

Gadwall Takeoff

One more shot of a Gadwall takeoff.

Mystery Raptor

Help ! ID Please ?

A mystery ( to me ) raptor overhead, but I don’t dare hazard a guess as to who he is. After consulting my Sibleys, I still don’t have a clue. Help ?

Willets and a Curlew

Willets and a Curlew

Courting Willets

Courting Willets

I encountered a pair of Willets, apparently courting, with a Curlew observing.

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

And lastly, I had my final chance for my hoped for great  ” Gray Ghost ” shot, when I came upon this male Northern Harrier doing his preening routine within a decent distance of me. He kept pivoting constantly as he did so, first facing me, then turning around, so I waited patiently for ten minutes or more, waiting for him to finish up and take flight. I figured, with no wind, I had a 50/50 chance he would take off facing me and not leave me with yet another bird butt shot.

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

I lost ! And so my days at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge end. I didn’t get my hoped for images of this guy or the Short-eared Owl, but I’ll be back. Next time, for sure.

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October 24, Mule Deer then Travel Day

Antelope Island Sunrise

Antelope Island Sunrise

Antelope Island

Anxious to get out early and find the mule deer bucks I ran into yesterday morning, I had a little trouble setting my internal alarm and woke up way too early. So I headed back up to Buffalo Point and waited for the sun to come up.

City Lights from Antelope Island

City Lights from Antelope Island

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Morning Hunt for Mule deer Bucks

The Challenge

The Challenge

These images were taken long before the sun came up so the quality is not the best since there was so little light, but I liked some of the action they captured and they will make great painting reference photos.

Mulie Duel

Mulie Duel

Mulie Duel

Mulie Duel

While still dark I had hiked down to the edge of the sagebrush and set up my tripod with my 600mm lens attached. These photos were taken from quite a distance since I did not want to scare these guys off.

Always Alert

Always Alert

Of necessity, these guys are eternally vigilant, and they were aware of my presence, but as long as I didn’t move when their heads were up and looking my way, and I didn’t get too close, they would tolerate my efforts to get some shots.

The Boys Club

The Boys Club

The Boys Club

The Boys Club

I followed as they moved across the meadow and the sun slowly began to illuminate the scene.

The Boys Club

The Boys Club

The Boys Club

The Boys Club

On Alert

On Alert

If you don’t crowd them, they settle in and go about their daily routine, browsing, grooming,

Mulies Sparring

Mulies Sparring

Mulies Sparring

Mulies Sparring

and sparring, just testing each others strength, not really full out fighting.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Finally, they were bathed in full morning sunlight, and now I can get some decent shots ……

The End of a Good Thing, Here Comes Joe Point and Shoot

The End of a Good Thing, Here Comes Joe Point and Shoot

but, no such luck. They have been spotted by ” Joe Point and Shoot ” and here he comes crashing down through the sagebrush to get in ” real close ” so he can get the shot of a lifetime, shooting straight into the rising sun, of course. Well, he doesn’t get his shot because he scares them off, and needless to say, neither do I, after 2 hours of carefully stalking these beautiful, but cautious animals, they are out of here !

Sorry to cry and gripe and moan about this, but it happens all too often. You put in the time and effort to get some nice shots and some inconsiderate moron, or perhaps they are just oblivious to what others are trying to accomplish, comes along and chases off your subjects.

Bridger Bay Campsite Visitors

Morning Visitor

Morning Visitor

I get a great kick out of watching the jack rabbits come in early each morning, as I have my cup of coffee. Sometimes it is just one or two individuals, sometimes a dozen.

Coyote Pair

Coyote Pair

Coyote Pair

Coyote Pair

I’m not quite so pleased to see Ma and Pa coyote show up this close however. I imagine they are just doing their morning thing hunting for mice and voles, I doubt they could catch too many of the jack rabbits, but they always seem to show up around the time I am taking the dogs out for their morning constitutional. Sam sees them and wants to go check them out, but I have tried to explain to her that the game they would want to play with her is one she would not enjoy.

Unwelcome Campsite Visitor

Unwelcome Campsite Visitor

Unwelcome Campsite Visitor

Unwelcome Campsite Visitor

These portraits give you an idea of how close in they come, and, yes, the coyote is staring at one of the dogs, probably trying to size up the situation, thinking … one small, probably delicious little four legged morsel, and one very large two legged thing with some black three legged thing in front of him … hmmmm, wonder if it’s worth making a run at it. Any time they come around, I do get the dogs back in the motorhome, just in case.

Antelope Island to Baker, Nevada

After my morning photo shoot, I was back to camp and got everything stowed away and left Bridger Bay Campground around 10:30. Made a quick stop at WalMart on the way back out to I-15, I figured I better stock up on basics since I don’t think there is going to be a lot of opportunities to do so where I am heading.

Drove south on I-15 to I-215 south, battling the always heavy traffic on the interstates throughout the Salt lake City megalopolis. I exited I-215 and got on I-80 west and finally the traffic thinned to tolerable levels. I departed the interstate and headed south on Route 36, through several miles of traffic lights before finally hitting the open road, and no traffic, of the high desert country. Eventually, Route 36 ends and I got on another 2 lane, Route 6 west. More desert, nothing to see, but no traffic to battle, all the way to the Nevada border.

The Border Inn is right on Route 6 and I paid for two nights ( $24.42/ night including tax ) of camping in their flat, unpaved, peastone parking lot. Actually they have a decent, though not terribly attractive, campground directly adjacent to the store/restaurant/bar/casino/convenience store/gas station. Though right on the highway, the lack of night time traffic made for an uninterrupted night’s sleep here. There are full hookups with 50 Amp electric, and the sites are all side by side, close, with no privacy, but there are not a lot of campers here at this time. Verizon signal is a usable 4 bars of 3G and with no trees, satellite reception is fine. All in all, to explore the Great Basin National Park area, I would definitely stay here again.

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August 7, 2014 South Beach Campground, Washington

Beach bunny

Beach bunny

Still Just Goofing Off at the Beach

Just doing this post to let people know I am still alive, but have adapted only too well to my new life as a beach bum. While the weather inland has been a constant stream of 90 degree days with bright blue skies, here along the beach we have alternating days of temps in the low 60’s when enveloped in day long fog, or temps in the mid 70’s when the fog burns off. When the foggy days get to you, all you have to do is drive inland a couple of miles and you are always under bright blue skies. When I was planning this summer trip to Washington, I was under the impression that i would have to be prepared to handle long days of dreary, rainy weather, but it has been anything but! In the 90 days or so that I have been in western Washington, there have been only two days when it rained at all, and then it was only a brief shower or two.

Beach bunny

Beach bunny

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

I spend most days reading or doing light work on the motorhome, a little cleaning here and there, maybe wax a small portion when I feel real ambitious ( so, of course, I haven’t really gotten much of this monster waxed ). I also have started on another method of staving off my alzhiemers, attempting to learn programming, become a coder. Both Stanford and MIT offer a lot of their regular computer sciences courses online, for free, for anyone to partake, and, since they are free, I am partaking …  slowly. With a little online searching, I have been able, so far at least, to find the accompanying course textbooks also, and have downloaded them as free PDF’s and then transferred them to my Kindle for ease of reading ( that way I don’t have to have my computer on, running down my RV batteries when I want to study ).

I haven’t done much of any photography for the past few weeks since I rarely leave the beach. The rather cute little bunny is a regular visitor to my campsite, along with many of his peers. This particular one will let me get within a few feet of him before he hops into the berry bushes just 6 feet from my door. When the dogs hop down the steps, the rabbit freezes, sometimes only 5 feet from them, and most of the time they never know he is even there. I don’t know if he is a native cottontail or an introduced eastern cottontail, but I have noticed that every one of the dozen or so rabbits I see here every day have the same small white blaze on their forehead.

Bald eagle on the beach

Bald eagle on the beach

Eagle on the beach

Walking the beach

eagle flying away

And off he goes

About the only other time I got the camera out was last night when I saw this eagle circling over the beach right outside my window. I grabbed the camera and headed to the top of the my site’s path to the beach, just as he landed on some driftwood near the bottom of the path. I slowly crept down toward the beach, keeping myself concealed by the bushes along the path, and as I did so, the eagle hopped down from his perch and, rather than flying away, started rapidly striding toward me. When he was just 30 feet away or so, some idiot also saw him and came running down the beach toward him so he could get a shot with his phone. That of course scared the bird away, just when I thought I was going to get some neat shots. Never did find what it was that had him so interested in this section of beach, maybe a rabbit had wandered out on the edge of the sand?

 

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