Unruffled Ruffed Grouse

October 30, 2014 at 9:00 am (Bird photography, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Ruffed Grouse showing the ruff blown by the wind

Ruffed Grouse showing the ruff blown by the wind

You’re more likely to hear rather than see the ruffed grouse.  The drumming of the males to attract a mate is a common sound – bum, bum, bum bum bum, bumbumbumbum.  But they tend to stay hidden.

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So I was pleasantly surprised to not only see, but photograph two of these well-camouflaged birds.  This one was at Yellowstone National Park.  It was a chilly, windy day which made this guy fluff up to stay warm, looking like a chubby partridge.

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The colors and patterns of the feathers are absolutely exquisite.

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The grouse I saw in Grand Teton National Park wasn’t as colorful, but you can see the topknot it raised in alarm.

Ruffed Grouse, Grand Teton NP

Ruffed Grouse, Grand Teton NP

To hear what the male sounds like when drumming with his wings (and to see photos of this) visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology webpage.  

Text and photographs copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available for sale HERE.

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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Horse and Bison Calf Make Friends

October 29, 2014 at 9:09 am (National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , , )

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A herd of bison hangs out on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.  A beautiful horse was in a pasture next to the bison and a calf took an interest in this strange looking “bison.”

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Of course, the horse was also curious.

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Cautious, but friendly…

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Awwwww…….

 

Text and photographs copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available for sale HERE.

Join my Facebook Page

Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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Trumpeter Swans, Jackson, Wyoming

October 28, 2014 at 8:48 am (Bird photography, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

I stopped at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming hoping to see bugling elk in the time-honored tradition of fighting for the right to mate with as many lovely cow elk as possible.  I saw not one elk, but I did see some geese and ducks.  While reviewing the photos I had taken – which cuts into my actual photography time mind you and which I questioned whether or not I should be doing – a family of HUGE trumpeter swans flew by.

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They were “trumpeting” their arrival, and of course I was quite excited.  I had just heard on Wyoming Public Radio that the National Elk Refuge had four breeding pairs of these striking birds, and among them had fledged ten cygnets.  Here was 25 percent of that population right in front of me.

Trumpeter swan and cygnets

Trumpeter swan and cygnets

This pair had three of the ten youngsters the refuge counted.

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They were hunted to near-extinction in the early 20th century (as were many of our beautiful birds) but have made a comeback and are considered to be relatively common today.  However, they are a species of special concern in Wyoming.  Here is what the National Elk Refuge website says about them:

Passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 gave protections to trumpeter swans and other birds and helped curb illegal killing. 

In 1932, fewer than 70 trumpeters were known to exist worldwide, at a location near Yellowstone National Park. This led to the establishment of Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in 1935, which is located in Montana’s Centennial Valley and is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Nearly half of the known trumpeter swans in 1932 were found in this area. Over the years, the Red Rock Lakes refuge flock served as an important source of breeding birds for reintroduction efforts in other parts of the country. 

Trumpeter swans are presently classified as a Priority 1 Species of Special Concern by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, a regionally sensitive species by the US Forest Service, and of great interest to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The Greater Yellowstone region is home for the Tri-State subpopulation of trumpeter swans and is the largest breeding area for swans in the lower 48 states. In spite of harsh winter conditions, swans often both breed and winter in the region. 

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When they take off in flight they need to “run” across the water as they beat their wings on the water to gain momentum and lift.  It’s quite a noisy affair!

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Trumpeter swan cygnets taking flight

Trumpeter swan cygnets taking flight

One of the parents had already flown to a location away from the road and gawking birders, and the rest of the family was enroute to join him/her.  Here’s a short slide show of the takeoff.

To learn more about trumpeter swans and to see their breeding and migration territory, see the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s site.   You can also hear their unique trumpeting calls.

Trumpeter swan family, National Elk Refuge, Jackson, WY

Trumpeter swan family, National Elk Refuge, Jackson, WY

Text and photographs copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available for sale HERE.

Join my Facebook Page

Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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My Last Visit to Echo Park

October 23, 2014 at 5:40 pm (Colorado, Photography, National Parks, Nature, Bird photography, Nature photography, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado birds) (, , , )

Hikers and golden cottonwood

Hikers and golden cottonwood

Actually, these photographs are from my last two trips to Echo Park.  I bought a “new” used AWD Toyota Sienna and broke her in on the Echo Park Road.  Then a week later, I took my friend Marilyn  there since her little (and heavily loaded) Honda Fit wouldn’t make the trip.  Marilyn is a volunteer for several wildlife refuges, and I met her last year at Okefenokee NWR.  So, like me, she moves from place to place with all her possessions stuffed in her long-suffering car.

Marilyn and Steamboat Rock

Marilyn and Steamboat Rock

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Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, and Farting

October 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm (Colorado, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , )

Pikes Peak framed by aspen

Pikes Peak framed by aspen

I had an opportunity to visit a childhood friend and her family in Colorado Springs last week, and they took me to the two most famous places there – Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods.  (If you tuned in to find out about the farting, keep reading.)

Garden of the Gods at dawn, with Pikes Peak to the right

Garden of the Gods at dawn, with Pikes Peak to the right

I dragged them out of bed to watch the sunrise tint the strange rock fins that are the featured draw of the Garden of the Gods.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Bighorn Sheep at Pikes Peak

September 30, 2014 at 9:29 am (Colorado, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Nyeah Nyeah

Nyeah Nyeah

Driving down from Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs with friends last week, we saw a herd of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep ewes with their families.  They sported patchy coats that looked like they were still shedding last winter’s fur when they should be growing this winter’s coat out.

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A few were chewing cud or licking their lips, which made for a comical portrait. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bear River Birds

September 10, 2014 at 7:15 am (Bird photography, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Southwest Birds) ()

Western grebe pair

Western grebe pair

Although my trip in July to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah was a bust (child-rearing was already over) I did get a few nice images.  The Western grebes look similar to the Clark’s grebe, but the black on the head covers their eyes.   See the difference.

Clark's Grebe

Clark’s Grebe

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Sand Wash Horses – September 2

September 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm (Colorado, Wild Horses of the Southwest) (, , , , )

Photographs and videos of my favorite herd of wild horses – in Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area near Maybell, Colorado.  Heather Robson, a New Zealander and member of the Sand Wash Advocate Team (SWAT), who keeps track of all the names and lineages from afar, has helped me with the names.  I hope I put them with the right faces!

Stallions at play

Stallions at play

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Sand Wash Basin Foals in June

September 1, 2014 at 11:43 am (Colorado, Photography, Wild Horses of the Southwest) (, , , )

A tender moment

A tender moment

I will be leaving soon for another visit to the Sand Wash Basin near Maybell, Colorado to watch my favorite herd of wild horses.  I kinda got behind in my editing from the last visit in late June, so I’ll share what I’ve got before the next batch hits.

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McKee Springs Petroglyphs

August 26, 2014 at 9:28 am (Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument, fine art photography, National Parks, Photography) (, , , , )

McKee Springs - the most famous panel in Dinosaur National Monument

McKee Springs – the most famous panel in Dinosaur National Monument

After three months of looking at the replica of this famous Fremont culture petroglyph panel in the visitor center, I finally got to see it in person.  We can only make educated guesses as to what these figures represent.  Someone told me that this largest figure is of a woman.  If the figures are solid in color, they are male. This one is “hollow” and the three stripes on the bottom of the torso supposedly represent the number of children she had.  I am not sure if this is true, but it’s the only story I have.  These figures are done in the Classic Vernal Style representing a culture that ranged widely in the Southwest 800 to 1000 years ago.  They are likely ancestors of today’s Utes and other modern Native tribes. Read the rest of this entry »

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