At Long Last, A Little Wildlife
Sunday afternoon, and though I usually don’t stray too far from camp on weekends, choosing not to battle the summer hordes, I got a little bored late in the day and grabbed my gear and drove just a couple miles south to see what might be up the Clear Creek Canyon Road. I had actually debated with myself whether to bother loading all the camera gear in the car, seeing as how I didn’t consider my route one that would yield any wildlife.
Not that far past the reservoir, as I was about to round a little bend, a hundred pound rock came bouncing down the embankment to the right of the road, straight out in front of me, barely missing the front of the car. Now this rock was about a foot tall and my 3 inch clearance Prius was going to have some trouble going over it, so I backed up to go around, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw what caused the rock to come tumbling down the hill.
A small mixed group of Bighorn Sheep was clamoring along the hillside, dislodging rocks as they went.
There were two lambs and two females traveling along with six or seven rams. Their destination, a mineral lick.
And this hillside obviously was some sort of mineral lick.
The embankment was pockmarked with holes like the one in the image above, where the sheep have licked and poked their noses into the clay to get at the minerals they crave. The mineral licks are an important source of sodium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, and other micronutrients for the bighorn sheep.
Still no elk or mountain goats, but now I at least have one species crossed off my Rocky Mountain Wildlife list.
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