January 15, 2014 Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Raptors

Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites

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

Got a late start this morning, not leaving the campsite until around 11 AM. Absolutely perfect weather, clear blue skies, mid 60’s with a gentle breeze, could not be nicer!

I took the short ride up to 13 mile Road and then headed north on Stewart Road looking for white-tailed kites ( formerly known as black shouldered kites ) and other raptors seen often on the edges of the cow pastures here.

Black shouldered kite
Black shouldered kite
Black shouldered kite
Black shouldered kite

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take too long before a pair of kites was spotted surveying their territory from the very top of a large tree on the edge of the road.

I took the 8 Mile Road out to the bay looking for meadowlarks and kestrels, but came up empty today. Plenty of sandhill cranes out in the fields though, but after Bosque del Apache, not much of a target for me.

Leaving Stewart Road, I headed north on Seawall Blvd. through town to the end of the island in search of Northern Harriers and other hawks that frequent the meadows on the northwest side of the storm barrier.

Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier

Today I had a shot at (to me ) the rare and elusive male northern harrier, but only managed to get this bird butt shot, hopefully I will run into him again. Though I find female northern harriers virtually everywhere, this is the only place I have ever encountered a male, often referred to as the grey ghost, an absolutely stunning bird.

Osprey on post
Osprey

I checked out the entrance to the ship channel, but as it was low tide, most of the shore birds were out on the sandbars, too far off to shoot, although I did happen upon this osprey perched atop a utility pole .

Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites

 

 

November 11, 2013 Bosque del Apache NWR

Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost

Busy day today!

Sandhill crane feeding amongst snow geese
Sandhill crane feeding amongst snow geese
Sandhill cranes in flight at sunrise
Sandhill cranes in flight

 

 

 

 

 

In early this morning to get some more shots of the snow geese and cranes in the alfalfa fields.

Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt

 

 

 

 

 

Northern harrier
Northern harrier

 

 

Also got some nice closeup shots of the cranes feeding in the early morning light, even managed to get a passing northern harrier close enough to shoot.

 

 

 

 

I returned to the “Farm Deck” around 3 PM to wait for the cranes to fly over, but as it turns out, they preferred flying around, not over. Although there were quite a few out in the fields, they all kept their distance and when they did takeoff, they seemed determined to stay out of camera range. I remained patient and stayed put for close to two hours, but ended up with nothing to show for it.

Sandhill crane roosting pond
Sandhill crane roosting pond
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost

 

 

 

 

 

Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost

 

 

 

 

 

Headed back home but couldn’t resist taking some shots at sunset along the roosting ponds. Tonight was one of the first evenings when there were clouds at sunset, normally it is all clear skies, and the clouds add a lot to the colors of a New mexico sunset.

Snow geese flying in to the alfalfa fields
Snow geese flying in to the alfalfa fields
Snow geese flying in to the alfalfa fields
Snow geese flying in to the alfalfa fields
Sandhill crane on the hunt
Sandhill crane on the hunt

 

 

 

 

 

Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost

 

 

 

 

 

Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost
Sandhill cranes coming home to roost

 

 

 

 

 

Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt
Sandhill cranes on the hunt

 

 

 

 

 

Sandhill crane in flight at sunrise
Sandhill crane in flight
Sandhill crane feeding amongst snow geese
Sandhill crane feeding amongst snow geese
Sandhill cranes in flight at sunrise
Sandhill cranes in flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 24, 2013 Ennis, Montana

Prospecting for wildlife along the Madison River

Pronghorn family crossing the road
Pronghorn family crossing the road

Unfortunately I have to address my HWH hydraulic leveling system problem. For a week or so I have had one front jack that will not descend, now I have the other front jack deciding that it will not retract, so time has come to find a service technician. Fortunately, the people here at the Ennis Rv Village had the card for a local tech who does work on these HWH systems and I was able to get an appointment for Monday AM. Unfortunately, his hourly rate is $100/ hr., sure hope he is worth what he charges.

Fleeing pronghorn family
Fleeing pronghorn family
Pronghorn family fleeing
Pronghorn family fleeing

 

I took off this morning at sunrise hoping to find some deer to photograph and maybe even some pronghorns. I headed down a road on the west side of the Madison River out of Ennis heading toward the fish hatchery. It didn’t take long to find both deer, though no nice bucks, and my first pronghorns of the trip.

 

 

 

Doe and fawn
Doe and fawn

 

There was a doe with her fawn grazing in the tall grass alongside an irrigation ditch and I stopped to take some photos. I was horrified to see how badly tick infested the fawn was, while the doe had no visible ticks. You would think mom could help her poor kid out somehow, but I guess that is not how it works. Perhaps the fawn should consider signing on with a baboon troop.

 

 

uch! You'd think mom could help with those ticks
Ouch! You’d think mom could help with those ticks
Fawn and thistle
Fawn and thistle

 

 

 

 

 

Scouted out a couple more small campgrounds along the Madison River and got some shots of couples heading out flyfishing with their guide. Looks like a great way to spend a gorgeous day like today.

Jenny inspecting my Madison River campsite
Jenny inspecting my Madison River campsite

 

Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison

 

 

 

 

 

The open range
The open range

 

Crossed over the Madison River, from the west over to the east side, and drove through a couple of miles of open range pasture, where I could see hundreds of black angus, and hoped to find more pronghorns.

 

Determined not to let me pass
Determined not to let me pass

After getting through my black angus road block, I ran into a few more female pronghorns and their fawns and then finally found where all the big boys were hiding.

Pronghorn bachelor herd
Pronghorn bachelor herd
Pronghorn girls watching the boys go by
Pronghorn girls watching the boys go by

 

 

 

 

I would guess that the mating season has yet to start for them as the males are still herded up together and the females and youngsters are still in separate bands.

Horses follow the leader
Follow the leader

 

Freckles
Freckles
Red horse portrait
Red 2
Red horse portrait
Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way home, I stopped by a horse pasture hoping to get some full body horse images for my painting references. There were a couple light horses, a few beautiful reds, and one paint that I thought would make a good addition to my reference gallery. Well, before I could get up to the fence to take my shots, they had all covered the hundred yards or so between them and the fence. They must be used to people bringing them something to eat, or were they just being friendly?

Anyhow, I couldn’t resist taking some horse portraits since they really were beautiful animals.

Two pronghorns
Two pronghorns
Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier takes flight
Northern Harrier takes flight

 

Doe in the stream
Doe in the stream

 

Freckles 2
Freckles 2

 

 

Flyfishing the Madison
Flyfishing the Madison