Tag Archives: mule deer

November 24, 2016 Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Yet More Cranes and Geese

Snow Goose Explosion

Snow Goose Explosion

A Snow Goose explosion, caused by a predator approaching too close, or just one nervous goose thinking something was amiss. This noisy flock takeoffs occur all throughout the day and are pretty spectacular to see, and especially to hear.

Another Kind of Flock

Another Kind of Flock

A different kind of “explosion”, the people explosion, peaked with last week’s Festival of the Cranes. Post festival, the numbers of people has moderated and it has once again become a little more enjoyable to venture out on the refuge.

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

One of the advantages of arriving here a little early is the opportunity to catch some colorful backdrops of autumn foliage colors. With a couple of hard freezes occurring lately, the leaves are all turning brown and dropping now.

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

Snow Geese

Snow Geese

Lesser and Greater Sandhill Cranes

Lesser Sandhill Cranes

Lesser Sandhill Cranes

This pair of Lesser Sandhills was seen leading a procession of Greater Sandhills down one of the irrigation ditches on the North Loop Road in the refuge.

Lesser and Greater Sandhill Cranes

Lesser and Greater Sandhill Cranes

The above image gives you a pretty good idea of the size difference in the two types of Sandhill Cranes. This year I am seeing a far greater number of Lesser Sandhills than I have on previous visits.

Sandhill Crane Greeting

Sandhill Crane Greeting

These are very vocal birds, calling out greetings as they fly in and again after they land.

Sandhill Crane Squabble

Sandhill Crane Squabble

Sandhill Crane Squabble

Sandhill Crane Squabble

Not really sure if this was a squabble or just a dance.

Sandhill Crane Squabble

Sandhill Crane Squabble

Sandhill Crane with Shotgun Cartridge

Sandhill Crane with Shotgun Cartridge

A sad reminder that these birds are hunted once they fly off the refuge. I took this shot late one afternoon and assumed the crane would simply use one of it’s feet to pull the shotgun cartridge off it’s upper bill. But then I saw it fly in the next morning with the cartridge still attached.

Mulie Dash Through

Mulie Dash Through

This young mule buck came flying through the cornfield where the cranes were foraging and photographers were shooting. Really moving at a rapid clip as you can see from the image where all four feet are off the ground.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

A family unit foraging. The leucistic Sandhill Crane showed up with a family this year for the first time, I was told.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane Family Fly In

Sandhill Crane Family Fly In

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

I love this flight position, assumed sometimes as much as 50 feet above the landing area, as they glide into the wind and prepare to land, oftentimes calling out greetings to those gathered below.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

I’ve been here almost a month now and with temperatures plummeting it just might be time to continue on south to slightly warmer climes and maybe find some hummingbirds to shoot, quite a change of pace from these large guys.

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September 29, 2016 Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

Three Days on Antelope Island

Antelope Island Bison

Campground Hazard

At Gros Ventre Campground in the Tetons I had moose wandering through the campsite and here at Antelope Island there are bison passing through. Pays to check wildlife conditions before stepping out the door these days … and I am certainly not complaining about that!

Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island Viewpoint

Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island Viewpoint

This is a panoramic view of the northwest side of the island taken from above the Bridger Campground where I am camped.

The Bridger Campground where I am staying is one of the nicer primitive state park campgrounds I have ever run into. No hookups, but with water and a dump station just a little way from the campground. Mostly nice level pull through sites with nice separation and a great view out over the Great Salt Lake. A large concrete pad with picnic table, fire ring, and shade cabana come with every site. Good Verizon signal and no trees to interfere with satellite reception. Unfortunately, all but two sites are reservable, so weekend stays are all but out of the question, unless you plan a year in advance.

Bison on the Beach

Bison on the Beach

Yellow Flower in Rock

A Survivor!

Got a kick out of this lone flower proudly laying claim to the top of of this rock.

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

Sitting low in the Prius, these male bison can seem more than a little intimidating.

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

No arguing with these guys over right-of-way on the roads throughout the park.

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

Last time I was here all the bison were down on the south end of the island, this time around they all, as in several hundred, seem to be up on the north end, where the campgrounds are located. A fire burned large portions of the southern end of the island and perhaps that is why they are all up here this year. A small group of seven or eight bulls were hanging around, and in, the campground the first two nights I was here, providing many opportunities for closeup shots. But it is a little unnerving to step out your door and have a bison’s butt just fifteen feet away, leaning against your shade cabana’s roof support post.

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

I could actually hear this guy groaning as he scratched an itch, must have just hit the spot for him.

Antelope Island Bison

Antelope Island Bison

Magpie and Bison

Magpie and Bison

This guy was rubbing his side against the picnic table shelter’s supporting post, and the whole structure was shaking.

Magpie and Bison

Magpie and Bison

The magpies must be harvesting insects, perhaps ticks, from the bison. They must dig a little deep and cause some pain as I saw the bison trying to shake them off each time they would land.

Antelope Island Pronghorn

Antelope Island Pronghorn

Pronghorns and mule deer also roam the island.

Antelope Island Mulie Bucks

Antelope Island Mulie Bucks

This small group of mulie bucks were grazing a distant hillside at dusk one evening, but I just couldn’t get any closer to get any good shots. Pretty impressive rack on the one closest.

Avocets

Avocets

There are thousands of ducks and coots on the lake feeding on brine shrimp and algae, and hundreds of avocets and other small waders patrolling the water’s edge for brine flies. Because of the extreme salinity, there are no fish in the Great Salt Lake.

Feeding Ducks

Feeding Ducks

Threatening Skies Over Antelope Island

Threatening Skies Over Antelope Island

This is a view of the shallow waters on the east side of the island looking towards the hustle and bustle of the greater Salt Lake City corridor.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

My last night here, a storm moved in from the south, and the sky blackened as the sun was setting in the west creating some wonderful light conditions over the water.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

With the sun still shining on the western part of the island and with rain squalls and winds coming up the east side of the island, conditions were ripe for a rainbow and I got to watch as it formed.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

The sky turned all kind of weird colors, from grey to green to almost red/yellow as the sun sank lower and the storm advanced. I wish I could have taken more shots of this dramatic weather event, but I was rushing home to close windows I had left open, not knowing it was supposed to storm like this.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

All in all, a pretty spectacular last night of my stay on Antelope Island.

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August 1, 2016 Lake George, Colorado

Colorado Settler's Log Cabin

Colorado Settler’s Log Cabin

Exploring More Back Country Roads

After getting settled in at the Travel Port RV Park in Lake George Friday, I spent the weekend checking out some of the back roads in this area, just a little west of Colorado Springs.

Mulie Doe and Triplets

Mulie Doe and Triplets

On Saturday, I traveled north on Tarryall Road ( Route 77 ) to Route 285, then south on Route 9, back to Route 24 and home. On Tarryall Road, I encountered a mule deer doe and her triplets, something I had never seen before, but have since learned is not entirely uncommon in areas of ideal habitat and proper deer populations.

Mulie Triplets

Mulie Triplets

You have to look carefully to count all three young ones in these images, but there are three and they appeared very healthy, must be great mom.

Colorado Abandoned House

Colorado Abandoned House

Along Route 77 there were several old, abandoned houses and cabins,

Colorado Abandoned Log Cabin

Colorado Abandoned Log Cabin

Colorado Abandoned Log Cabin

Colorado Abandoned Log Cabin

Tarryall Creek Waterfall

Tarryall Creek Waterfall

and one interesting waterfall below Tarryall Reservoir.

Tarryall Creek Waterfall

Tarryall Creek Waterfall

There were two small ( free ) camping loops right on Tarryall Reservoir that had three or four primitive sites that would work for a large rig.

Looking Down on Cripple Creek

Looking Down on Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Burros with a Gambling Problem?

Burros with a Gambling Problem?

I drove through the small town of Cripple Creek, a former gold mining boomtown, now apparantly a gambling boomtown, early on Sunday morning.

Burro Waiting for the Tables to Open?

Burro Waiting for the Tables to Open?

The streets were deserted, except for these free roaming burros that appeared to be waiting for the gaming establishments to open their doors.

Cripple Creek Sidewalk Attractions

Cripple Creek Sidewalk Attractions

These were the only people I saw out and about this early in the morning and perhaps this is what the burros were really waiting for … free food handouts!

Cripple Creek Mine Structures

Cripple Creek Mine Structures

Gold Mining

Just on the outskirts of this small town, as well as above it, and, in fact, all around the downtown area, were remnants of many gold mining operations, some of which were still being worked.

Cripple Creek Mine Structures

Cripple Creek Mine Structures

Cripple Creek Mine Structures

Cripple Creek Mine Structures

And only a mile or so out of town ( no images unfortunately ), on the road to Victor, is the enormous Newmount gold mining operation that can be seen from miles away. The tailings from this ongoing mining operation tower several hundred feet above the road as you drive towards Victor.

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July 27, 2016 Cimarron, Colorado

North of Crested Butte

North of Crested Butte

A Week of Exploring the Back Roads

Lupines

Lupines

I have spent the last week traveling over 600 miles on the gravel back roads searching for fields of wild flowers and wildlife. Haven’t been terribly successful with either.

Sheep Grazing Among the Lupines

Sheep Grazing Among the Lupines

The best shows of wildflowers seem to occur at an elevation of over 9000 feet, so the Prius has had to work hard this week and has taken me places I probably shouldn’t be going. Even had the thrill of having to change out a flat tire while coming down a 10% grade at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, got to gasping a bit for breath while doing that task.

Colorado Wildflowers

Colorado Wildflowers

Colorado Wildflowers

Colorado Wildflowers

Colorado Wildflowers

Colorado Wildflowers

Though finding a few spots where the meadows were quite colorful, just not finding all that many areas where there are more than two or three types of flowers in bloom at the same time, not as nice as some of the images I have seen online over the years.

Colorado Wildflowers

Colorado Wildflowers

North of Crested Butte

North of Crested Butte

I made a day long 240 mile trip to check out the mountain roads around Crested Butte, the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” that yielded some dramatic mountain scenery but not all that much in the way of wildflowers.

North of Crested Butte

North of Crested Butte

Backroads near Crested Butte

Backroads near Crested Butte

North of Crested Butte

North of Crested Butte

Sunrise, Black Canyon National Park

Sunrise, Black Canyon National Park

Also did a quick morning trip into Black Canyon National Park, a place I have visited before, and not one of my favorites.

Black Canyon National Park

Black Canyon National Park

If you are ever here, the road down to the East Portal is something to see … and drive, a 16% grade that runs for over two miles down to the river. The Prius complained a bit on the way down but really moaned driving back up and out. One very SERIOUS descent and ascent, needless to say, no trailers or motorhomes allowed on this road.

Mulie Buck in Velvet

Mulie Buck in Velvet

Despite all the miles covered on back roads at high elevations, wildlife sightings have been few and far between. I have yet to even spot an elk.

Mulie Buck in Velvet

Mulie Buck in Velvet

This is one of a group of four mule deer bucks, still in velvet, that I did encounter.

Mulie Buck in Velvet

Mulie Buck in Velvet

Shiras Moose

Shiras Moose

And this is Shiras Moose, the smallest of the moose subspecies, and not all that numerous here in Colorado. Though I couldn’t get a good shot of it, this cow was accompanied by her young calf, but the calf was a little camera shy.

Black Canyon RV Park

Black Canyon RV Park

I have been staying at a private RV park on Route 50 just a little past Cimarron, Colorado called the Black Canyon RV Park and Cabins. A very neat and clean park with a wonderful owner and surprisingly quiet. Most of the campers here are long term with just a very few overnighters. The sites are reasonably spaced on fairly level grass pads. Full hookups with the absolute best campground WiFi I have ever encountered, which was a big plus, since there is absolutely no Verizon signal here whatsoever.

My thirteen year old refrigerator died when I first pulled in here and I have spent a good deal of time trying to find anyone who would be able to install a new one and get me back on the road. Campers World in Colorado Springs said they could squeeze me in on September 10th ! The RV dealer in Montrose could maybe get me in by the middle of August. I finally found a place in Delta, CO that will replace the refrigeration unit only, and they are going to do it for me tomorrow. Though this saves me about a grand, versus a new refrigerator, I am not completely certain this is the way to go, but I need to get the refrigerator back on line so I continue of my trip with a series of paid reservations down the road, as I make my way to Leadville and on to Estes Park.

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