June 25 – 26, 2010

Plenty of fawn and bear action lately, but not a lot of photo opportunities. The grass is so high that the fawns are easily obscured, and the bears have been too far away for any decent shots. Sunsets have been excellent, so I’ve been spending most of my time on landscape photos.

The lack of new shots has given me a bit of time to work on some older ones…

June 5 & 6, 2010

My wife and I spent a good portion of the weekend at the Capitol Hill People’s Fair in downtown Denver, helping out at the Defenders of Wildlife information booth. We had a great time talking with people about current wildlife news and issues, and I (though I usually avoid captive subjects) took some time to shoot the ambassador birds in neighboring booths.

I was able to get out to the hills on the evening of the 6th – saw 2 foxes, 4 golden eagles, 8 hawks and a ton of deer, but no bear yet…

Merry May Memories

It seems like May, one of my favorite months for photography, passed by so quickly this year… I spent a good portion of the month outdoors, and, with patience and luck, was able to see and photograph many of the wild creatures that call Colorado home: moose, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, lynx, coyote, fox, porcupine, beaver, yellow-bellied marmot, muskrat, black-tailed prairie dog, abert’s squirrel, american pika, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, spotted ground squirrel, golden mantel ground squirrel, vole, great blue heron, canada goose, cackling goose, bald eagle, golden eagle, great horned owl, night heron, glossy ibis, osprey, cormorant, snowy egret, raven, mallard, cinnamon teal, wood duck, ring-necked duck, common merganser, redhead, red-tailed hawk, cooper’s hawk, prairie falcon, magpie, crow, steller’s jay, avocet, killdeer, northern flicker, bullock’s oriole, kestrel, kingfisher, mountain bluebird, broad-tailed hummingbird, red-throated hummingbird and a ton of other small birds.

A few snapshots from last month:

Only a couple of weeks until Spring yields to the dry heat of Summer, bring on the bears!

May 28, 2010

My buddy Rob and I headed for the mountains at 6AM for bighorn shots, but soon changed our minds and decided to go on a moose search instead. Winter Park turned up nothing of interest besides a colony of nesting swallows, so we continued up the road to Rocky Mountain National Park. As soon as we reached Grand Lake we spotted a scraggly red fox with a bird in it’s jaws, slowly skirting the lake shore. We were pulling over and getting into position for shots when three dogs appeared, running full-speed after the fox – the fox easily outran the dogs, gave them the slip in a stand of pines, then crossed the road directly in front of us and safely made it’s way up the hill and to the den with the bird breakfast in it’s jaws.

Several groups of cow elk were out roaming the Kawuneeche Valley (as always), but we continued with the mission until we reached the Coyote Valley trailhead – finally, a moose! The lone bull moose with brand new horns poking through his head was about 100 yards or so off of the road, kneeling down on it’s front legs grazing. Rob stuck near the car while I (as always) took off in search of a different vantage, setting up the tripod in a marsh about 40 yards from the car. After 5 minutes of shooting, the bull began to pay close attention to us, and started walking straight at me. As he was making his way toward me I realized that all four of his hooves were extremely overgrown (the front right hoof was the shortest, at about 10 inches), it looked like he was wearing those long, pointy, curly boots – they didn’t seem to be uncomfortable, just cumbersome. He walked to a willow bush about 25 feet from me, then turned and walked right between Rob and I toward the road. A truck spooked the moose and he ran down the road, his giant, curved hooves loudly clip-clapping. He ran off of the road, right past me and into the marsh.

We spent a while with the big guy, then headed out of the park. Passing through Grand Lake, I spotted a couple of people on a road above the highway looking intently into the trees – a mama moose and two tiny calves, what luck! These two little guys were less than a week old (according to local experts that had “known” this particular mama moose it’s entire life – it’s great to meet other people who really “know” the animals in their area), and they couldn’t be any cuter. Still unsteady on their long legs, it was a joy to watch them wobble around behind mom as she grazed on a hillside about 25 feet from us. The next hour or so was spent with the moose family, chatting with friendly folks who would come to adore the toddlers in between shots.

After a while mom took the babies up to the top of the hill and out of sight, so we headed to the car. Local experts told us that this mother moose had ditched her two yearlings last week, and they’d still been following her around from a safe distance. We drove about a half mile down the road and there were the yearlings, right on cue. We spent some time shooting the two yearling moose, then headed back to town – mission accomplished!

May 1 – 14, 2010

Busy couple of weeks at work, not a whole lot of time for photography…

Soggy spring is in full swing – the bears should start showing up more frequently in their usual spots pretty soon (only one bear pair sighting so far at Roxborough, though several bobcat sightings), can’t wait to get out there early on my next day off!

April 19 – 24, 2010

Soggy week, not very conducive to outdoor photography – I was able to make it to Chatfield SP early in the week and Rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday, but other than that I’ve been sticking around the studio and processing photos.

There’s a fox den across the street from my mother-in-law’s house, I’ve been staking out the den in the mornings from 6 to 7 or so. The fox mom, dad, and 2 kits have made many appearances, but I’ve yet to nail any decent shots of the family (fingers crossed for this week!). I snapped this photo of another neighborhood fox one morning as she was attempting to carry two eggs in her mouth without breaking them. It was a slow, painstaking endeavor – frequently stopping to rearrange her precious cargo, jumping several 6-foot fences and even avoiding a couple of speeding vehicles on the way back to her den, without breaking either egg.

April 18, 2010

On the 18th my wife and I volunteered with Defenders of Wildlife, hauling out old barbed-wire ranch fencing from the Betasso Preserve. Betasso is located at the junction of Boulder and Fourmile Canyons, just west of the city of Boulder. Carrying the bales up and down trails was hard work, but the reward is priceless – a safer place for both wildlife and people, as well as the restored beauty of this wonderful landscape. We were treated to a friendly fox and a herd of mule deer as soon as we arrived, too!

Later that day we decided to head to Cherry Creek State Park – quietly enjoying sunset from the shore of the lake made for a perfect end to the day.

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