June 28, 2018 Port Townsend, Washington

Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

Fawns, Flowers, and Whale Watching

Lounging Blacktail Bucks
Lounging Blacktail Bucks

Port Townsend has a large intown resident deer population, and some would say, a large intown deer problem. Click here and here for local news articles on these urban deer.

Blacktail Buck
Blacktail Buck

It is difficult to drive anywhere in the residential part of town without encountering these beautiful animals.

Backyard Grazing
Backyard Grazing

As a person that formerly maintained a large collection of perennials in gardens around my home and business, I can’t imagine what the folks here in Port Townsend have to put up with in trying to maintain their gorgeous landscaping.

Blacktail Mom and Twins
Blacktail Mom and Twins
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

As a tourist here, I enjoy being able to see and photograph these youngsters, there really are few animals as cute as these guys.

Blacktail Fawn
Blacktail Fawn
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

To the many serious gardeners here in Port Townsend, I am sure it’s a different story.

Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

These youngsters obviously can’t read that they are not supposed to be here.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

And here is the reason the inner city is so popular with all these deer, just an unlimited buffet of delectable gourmet deer food.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

Many gardeners in town have erected deer fencing in an effort to keep the deer out. Local ordinances limit the height of any fences to six feet, not an unsurmountable height for for some of these deer.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

A drive around town reveals some very impressive landscaping. I envy the ability to grow such a wide diversity of plants in this environment. The difference in available plant selection in Zone 4 where I gardened and here in Zone 8 is huge. Don’t envy them the challenge of growing some of these flowers amongst the deer herds though.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

Some wonderful dogwoods in bloom right now.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Tree Bark
Tree Bark

Even the bark of some of the trees is photo worthy.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Whale Watching Trip on the Redhead

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

A four hour whale watching trip out of Port Townsend was a wonderful way to enjoy a beautiful calm and sunny day ( the only one here so far ).

Orcas
Orcas

The whale watching part of the trip was actually kind of disappointing …

Orcas
Orcas

… spotting only one lone Humpback Whale and one small pod of transient Orcas or Killer Whales.

Orcas
Orcas

Regulations require all boats to remain at least 200 yards from the Orcas and 100 yards from other whales and our captain certainly didn’t come close to violating those rules. I would say we never got within 500 yards of the Orcas, thats over a quarter of a mile away, meaning you could barely discern their large dorsal fins poking out of the water and certainly could not get any kind of decent images of their activity.

Container Ship
Container Ship

But spending four hours on the calm waters of Puget Sound on a nice day was a welcome change of pace for me and there were other interesting sights to see out on the water.

Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Fort Worden Lighthouse
Fort Worden Lighthouse

The Fort Worden Lighthouse is much more scenic from the water than it is from land.

I hope to remain here in Port Townsend through the 4th of July week and then will venture farther out onto the Olympic Peninsula after the holiday week, hoping I might then be able to find a place to stay.

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May 31, 2018 Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Great Grey Owl
Great Grey Owl

More From the Tetons

Absolutely lucky that someone else had spotted this Great Grey Owl not far from the park road since he was perfectly camouflaged against the bark of the pine where he was perched. If not for the photographer already shooting this bird, I never would have stopped.

Great Grey Owl
Great Grey Owl

He changed perches a few times …

Great Grey Owl
Great Grey Owl

… including this spot that yielded the perfect shot.

Great Grey Owl
Great Grey Owl

Soon others stopped to check out this large, beautiful bird, and as so often happens, out came the cellphone photographers, racing closer to the owl, eventually scaring him farther and farther away until he was out of their reach.

Disheveled Pronghorn
Disheveled Pronghorn

The Pronghorn is usually one of my favorite subjects, but not this early in the summer as they shed their winter garments for their summer wear.

Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush

Out at the end of Flat Creek Road, on the far side of the National Elk Refuge …

Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush

… I found a hillside covered with Indian Paintbrush.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Indian Paintbrush
Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Indian Paintbrush

Mixed in were several patches of Arrowleaf Balsamroot.

Wildflowers, Stormy Skies
Wildflowers, Stormy Skies

And as I was setting up and taking these flower shots, I thought I heard something behind me, about 50 feet away down a steep embankment along the Flat Creek.

Newborn Moose Calf
Newborn Moose Calf

Moving a little closer to the top of the bank, I saw this obviously fairly recently born moose calf, wobbling along behind his mother.

Newborn Moose Calf
Newborn Moose Calf

Mom had spotted me and was leading her newborn to a more sheltered area across the shallow creek.

Newborn Moose Calf
Newborn Moose Calf

She had to turn and offer encouragement to her calf to entice him to join her in crossing the creek.

Newborn Moose Calf
Newborn Moose Calf

Eventually safely across the creek and feeling a little safer having put some distance between us, they laid down to get some rest. I do not think I missed this calf’s birth by more than a few moments, probably the smallest moose calf I have ever seen. Wish I had some better, closer shots, but Mom wanted to remain in the willows and out of sight of predators and I certainly wasn’t going to push her and her young one out into the open.

The Tetons

The Magnificent Tetons

Grand Teton
Head in the Clouds

Since I was able to spend a full two weeks here this spring, I could patiently await blue skies or puffy cumulous clouds to set off the dramatic snow capped peaks of the Tetons.

Oxbow Reflections
Oxbow Reflections

As usual this year, I had my share of rainy and overcast weather, but I also had some just gorgeous blue sky days. So on gloomy days, I searched for wildlife, and when the sun came out, I looked for flowers and mountain shots.

Spring in the Tetons
Spring in the Tetons

The Jackson Hole area has become one of my all-time favorite spots to visit. I usually am here in the fall for the moose so this was my first time here in the spring, and the crowds were smaller, though still too many people for my tastes.

Spring in the Tetons
Spring in the Tetons

As usual, I stayed at the Gros Ventre Campground and it was definitely less crowded than in the fall, in fact, they still had two loops of the campground closed while I was there.

Plus there was more, and more accessible wildlife here, than I had encountered in Yellowstone just the week before, with fewer people pursuing them. On one of the rainy days, I braved the crowds and visited several of the many fine art galleries in downtown Jackson Hole. So, fine wildlife art, beautiful mountains, a quiet campground, as well as plentiful wildlife, what not to like about the Grand Tetons in the spring.

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April 6, 2018 Twin Points Campground, Skiatook, Oklahoma

Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden

Spring is Here at the Tulsa Botanical Garden

( But It Only Stayed A Day )

This post is for the nice folks back in New Hampshire, still playing with snowblowers and snow plows when you should be thinking spring. I was looking for a little visual relief from the bleak gray landscape here in Oklahoma, so I decided to visit the Tulsa Botanical Garden to see if there was any color to be found hereabouts.

Productive Land
Productive Land

Along the way to Tulsa I came across this scene, some VERY productive acreage, cattle grazing under wind turbines while hydrocarbons are being pulled from below ground. A goldmine for the fortunate party that owns this land.

Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden

Tulsa Botanical Garden

Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden

With a bit of blue sky showing, I decided to drive down to the outskirts of Tulsa ( you can just see a couple downtown high-rises in the upper right corner of the image above ) to check out the spring blooms at the Tulsa Botanical Garden.

Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden

All in all, a fairly spectacular display of spring bulbs, and with temperatures barely hitting 40 degrees, I pretty much had the place to myself, ideal for photography.

Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden

Blue skies gave way to clouds and, unfortunately fairly strong winds came up, making it all but impossible to shoot flowers that were now in constant motion.

However, before the winds came up and the sun disappeared, I did manage to cover most of the garden and got some nice shots of their wonderfully designed flower beds.

Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Pansies
Pansies
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden
Tulsa Botanical Garden

With temperatures forecast to drop to the low 20’s tonight, with the possibility of sleet and snow, the garden’s director told me I was lucky to get here when I did, because he assumed that the frigid conditions would take a toll on his gardens. I guess most of the country is suffering from this delayed Spring/ prolonged Winter, but here in Oklahoma, Spring was glorious, even if it did only last two days.

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March 26, 2018 Springdale, Arkansas

Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring

A Trip to the Pet ( Toy ) Store

Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring

I arrived at the Hickory Creek COE Campground outside of Springdale, Arkansas last week and set up for a two week stay to visit with my older brother Bill and his wife Jan. Not having seen each other in many years, there was a lot of catching up to do.

Magnolia and Pines
Magnolia and Pines

Signs of spring are beginning to appear here in the economically booming northwest corner of the state. Walmart makes it’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville just a few miles north of Springdale and that presence has brought prosperity to this part of Arkansas. New strip malls and housing developments are going up almost everywhere you go in the region.

The Whole Pet

Maltese
A Kid Let Loose in a Toy Store

Bill and Jan own The Whole Pet, with three pet stores in the area ( in Springdale, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith ) and Pearl, Sam, and I drove into Springdale to visit their newest operation.

Maltese
Man, Look at those Toys!

Pearl is now 12 weeks old and continues to amaze me with her fearless, no holds barred attitude. A visit to a store is a new experience for her, and rather than staying by my side and cautiously  poking around, she hopped through the door and galloped in to check out what must be a pretty exciting place for a dog to explore.

Sam and Pearl
Sam and Pearl

Only took her a few minutes to wear Sam down, sliding around the slick floors.

Maltese
Oh, the Choices!

I’m sure Bill and Jan know better than I, but I’m not sure I’d leave so many interesting toys at puppy height.

Maltese and Golden Retriever
Playing Keepaway

The store offers do-it-yourself dog bathing facilities as well as professional grooming and this twelve week old Golden Retriever had just been groomed. Pearl wasted no time getting acquainted and teasing the him with a game of keep-away.

Pet Shop Action
Pet Shop Action

The action was just too fast and furious for me to keep up with.

Maltese
Playing Fetch

They have a few different sized tennis balls for dogs displayed on a floor level shelf, so it didn’t take long for Pearl to find one that was just the right size. She quickly picked on the new game of fetch.

Maltese
I Wanna Play Something Else

Not having the longest of attention spans, the game of fetch didn’t last all that long. Besides, there was a lot more to explore in this new place.

Maltese
Playing Tag

After the Golden left, it didn’t take long for Pearl to find a new playmate, here chasing this youngster around the shop. Without a doubt, the boldest little pup I have ever been around.

Maltese
A New Playmate

Playing fetch, or more like Keep-away, with her new playmate.

Maltese
Where’s He Going

I had to step out to the car to get a different lens for the camera and when I turned around and saw this, just had to take a shot.

Maltese
Think I’ll Choose the Horse

Some one foolishly placed stuffed animals on the lower shelf and Pearl found a Clydesdale that seemed to need some attention.

Maltese
Playtime

Hope I’m not expected to buy all these toys.

Maltese
Timeout

After an hour or so, she finally just had to take a break before resuming her explorations.

The Whole Pet Store
The Whole Pet

If you are ever in this area, don’t miss checking out The Whole Pet.

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