One smart squirrel: Fan of… & AOTD

I watched one smart squirrel figure out how to get around the “squirrel-proof” cover on this bird feeder. It knocked seeds to the ground and feasted on them. Clever little creature.

Chickaree squirrel, High Desert Museum, Oregon
One smart squirrel, High Desert Museum, Oregon

I watched squirrels at other feeders here on another day and they gave me quite the scolding. Here’s a short poem I wrote about them.

Fan of… #35 ; AOTD

Love nature and share the love: LAPC

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Here are a few pictures of wild things resting, feeding, and breeding. They are always reminding me to love nature and share that love with others.

Love Nature Gray wolf, MT 2June2018
Gray wolf

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

George Carlin
Trumpeter swan & mallard, OR 19May2018
Trumpeter swan & mallard

Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg.

Hans Christian Andersen
Pronghorn, WY  1June2018
Pronghorn

…When alarmed, their rapid career seems more like the flight of birds than the movement of an earthly being.

George Ord
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Bison coming right at you: TWI – Action

Up close and personal with bison

Bison coming at you in Yellowstone National Park,WY 30May2018

I was glad I was inside my car when I saw these bison coming right at us. Some people think they are calm and tame like a domestic cow. They’re not! Bulls weigh up to 2,000 pounds and cows weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Since they can run up to 30 miles per hour, it’s best to keep your distance.

Here’s another post on them plus a link to more information. Bison Celebrating 4th.

Travel with Intent Photo Challenge – Action

 

 

Marmots Playing: Tuesday Photo Challenge

Pups playing

I had fun watching these yellow-bellied marmot pups playing while their mom kept a watchful eye on them. A mother’s work is never done!

Yellow-bellied marmots at play in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1June2018

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Scooby Doo & Calypso Too: TWI – Dwarf mini

A dwarf mini with big attitude

We used to have two miniature horses. One, Scooby Doo pictured on the left, was a dwarf mini. He stood at only 27″ at the withers. His pedigreed companion, Calypso Blue pictured on the right, stood at 32″.  Calypso was calm and even-tempered. Scooby had a lot of personality and let you know it.

Scooby Doo & Calypso too Dwarf Mini and Mini horse 9January2002

When it was time to move, the farrier who trimmed our horse’s hooves took Scooby. He had worked with a lot of horses in his days and could see that Scooby was a big personality in a small package.

Travel with Intent – Dwarf

Cooling Otters: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge

Three guys cooling their jets

When it’s as hot as it’s been (102 degrees here yesterday!) I wish I could do a little cooling off by being an otter. Here are three cooling otters in motion.

Three Otters Cooling at the High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 19March2018

They always look like they’re having so much fun.

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Baby bunny: Tuesday Photo Challenge

New life in the form of a baby bunny

Last night my dog was shaking with excitement looking at something right outside the sliding glass door. A baby bunny! However, it wasn’t just any rabbit. This one was a tiny “kit” that was just a few inches long.

Baby bunny in Bend 17June2018

I have seen jackrabbits and cottontails in the shrub-steppe High Desert habitat where I live. This could be a cottontail or maybe even a pygmy rabbit. It’s hard to tell when they are young.

Yes, the background is not the best for this shot. But sometimes nature comes to you and you have to take advantage of it and grab your camera. The sprinkler head is just over an inch across so this gives you an idea how small it was.

Needless to say, my dog did not get to go outside for a while. The bunny went back to its burrow which is probably under our porch. Life goes on for this little cutie.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – New

Lamar Valley Elk: FOWC

Elk at Yellowstone

Here’s a group of elk making their way through a small lake in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. A peaceful scene is mirrored in the lake. However, the elk are in an area where several wolf packs live.

Lamar Valley Elk Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1June2018Lamar Valley Elk 2 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1June2018Lamar Valley Elk 3 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1June2018Lamar Valley Elk 4 1June2018

Did you know that the environment is changing in a positive way since reintroducing wolves? To see a fascinating video about this, click How Wolves Change Rivers.

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge – Mirror

Hidden Fawn

Hidden fawn near Camp Sherman, Oregon 25June2016

While out hiking last June near Camp Sherman, Oregon, we were surprised to find a hidden fawn in a grassy field. Its mother was close by so we took a few pictures and continued on our way.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise

Chickaree Mad at Me

Chickaree3 HDM Cr 12Oct2015 SiobhanSullivanI got quite the scolding from this chickaree squirrel from its perch above me. Chickarees, otherwise known as Douglas’ squirrels, will try to defend their territory from just about anything.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop

Shadow Otter

Shadow Otter 31Aug2015A strange and almost surreal photo that has rays of light, wave shadows, and reflections of floating leaves. Can you find the shadow otter swimming in the background?

Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow

Yellowstone Memories: Weekly Photo Challenge

Yellowstone memories, Black bear family, Yellowstone National Park
Black bear family, Yellowstone National Park, WY

When I start feeling nostalgic about Yellowstone National Park, I know I can always go back and look at some of my many pictures. They remind me of my great Yellowstone memories. Maybe these bears were out looking for a pic-a-nic basket. 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge – Nostalgia

Bison celebrating 4th

Bison in Yellowstone National Park 13 June 2011

Say hello to our new national mammal

Here’s a picture of bison in Yellowstone National Park. Happy 4th of July from our new national mammal in the U.S., the bison. Their scientific name is Bison bison bison.  If only all scientific names were that easy!

Bison are a conservation success story. Due to over-hunting in the late 1800’s, their population was down to a few hundred animals. As a result of the conservation strategies employed by President Theodore Roosevelt and like-minded individuals, the bison were able to make a dramatic comeback.

Here’s a link to a U.S. Department of the Interior page that has 15 interesting facts about them – Bison  

Pins and Needles: All about the North American porcupine

Porcupine2 HartMt May1982
Quills of North American porcupine

Have you been pining away wishing you knew more about porcupines? Well today is your lucky day! Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the North American porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum, but were afraid to ask.

Range:

The North American porcupine ranges throughout most of Canada and the western United States south to Mexico. They also live in the northern Great Lakes and northeastern United States regions.

Identification & unique characteristics:

North American porcupines are a large rodent with black to brownish-yellow fur and distinct quills that cover most of their bodies. They range in weight from 11 to 30 pounds and measure 24 to 36 inches in length. Porcupines are excellent climbers with short strong legs, long claws, and hairless soles on their feet. They have a small head and rounded ears.

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Easter cottontail

Mountain cottontail

Mountain cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii

In the sagebrush sea
Where bunchgrass waves in the wind
Alone he grazes
Nose twitching, large eyes gazing
Cottontail punctuating

Lewis and Clark Critter Quiz: Described or Discovered?

Lewis and Clark Critter Quiz -Bison at Yellowstone National Park, WY

Hmmm…a predominantly pink woodpecker named after a famous early American explorer and a wily relative of the crow named after his partner. That might make for an interesting bit of writing. I started to research the topic and decided to create a Lewis and Clark Critter Quiz.

Little did I know there was controversy linked to the plants and animals “discovered” on the Lewis and Clark expedition. The expedition supposedly discovered 178 plants and over 122 animals previously unknown to science. Or did they?

Other sources say they “encountered” or “reported” certain wildlife and plants. Due to discussions as to the accuracy of previously published lists, one recent list is divided into two sections: Discovered (for the first time by European Americans) and Described. Some of the flora and fauna species had been discovered in other parts of North America (or the world) prior to the time of the expedition while others had been a part of native people’s life for many years.

I am lucky to have seen many of the wildlife species that Lewis and Clark discovered and described. Many of these creatures live in and around Yellowstone National Park, which I have often visited. Here is a quiz that includes pictures of wildlife encountered on the expedition.

Did the Lewis & Clark expedition Discover them or Describe them? The answers are at the end of this quiz.

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New Year: An optimistic reflective poem

New Year - Black-tailed Deer. Olympic National Park, WA
Black-tailed Deer. Olympic National Park, WA

As the new year approaches
You can choose to look down and back
Or up and forward

Home on the Range near Antelope, Oregon

Home on the Range Pronghorn near Antelope, OR 12-11-2015
Pronghorn near Antelope, Oregon

I had to go north to Seattle for a couple days but it’s great to be back to my home on the range. I saw these two does, appropriately, near the town of Antelope, Oregon.

Chickaree

 

Agile climbers

Mischievous thieves

Scolder of treetops

Digger under leaves

Successful Invaders: Flora and Fauna that won

Successful invaders Old western juniper tree at dusk
Old western juniper tree at dusk

What are successful invaders?

There are certain members of the plant and animal world that I call successful invaders. Some are admired; others are reviled. A few are both liked and despised at the same time.

Western juniper

Where I live, the Western juniper, Juniperus occidentalis, fits into that last category. It is a native species but due to fire suppression and habitat destruction, it has spread like -excuse the reference- wildfire. Juniper has taken advantage of the situation and has significantly expanded its range. I have heard a lot about how much water it can suck out of the landscape – supposedly 30 gallons a day.  Its root system taps downwards and outwards to effectively use the available water. Many people don’t like them for that reason and because at times they have a not-so-pleasant scent.  I’ll always remember listening to a person that lives in the wealthy part of town saying that she eliminated all 18 junipers on her property as soon as she moved in. Eighteen trees.

However, juniper also has its good side. As it ages it epitomizes the image many people associate with the Wild West. I love to photograph them. The form of the tree generally changes from a pyramid-like shape to a twisted, sprawling irregular one. It can be covered by purplish berries (that are really cones) and these are used in gin production. Wildlife loves it for cover, nesting, and food. Its wood is bi-colored and long lasting.

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