Tule Elk Herd

April 16, 2018 at 5:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

A herd of tule elk grazed peacefully in a field along Mission Road, Fort Hunter Liggett, California on Saturday, back-dropped by blue and valley oak. Tule elk are the smallest of the three elk sub-species found in California.

“Tule elk are endemic to California and the most specialized elk in North America, given that they live in open country under semi-desert conditions, whereas the species as a whole typically occupies temperate climates and utilizes heavy cover at least seasonally.” — From California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife.

Two calves have already been born to this herd.

The bull is growing his new set of antlers, but is no less the boss of his harem of 10 cows and one that looks like a spike male. Annoyed by the photographer, he slowly gets his herd moving, nudging one cow and tapping on the rear end of a calf hidden in the grass. The two calves cavort as the herd slowly moves to another grazing area. See it in the video.

I’m not sure how old these calves are, but they do have white spots like deer fawns.

These elk are commonly seen along the post’s public roads, and I can’t wait until there are more calves and the bull has a full rack on display as the season goes on.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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The Other Side of Big Sur

April 14, 2018 at 6:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers)

Along the San Antonio River

The landscape just the other side of the Santa Lucia Range from Big Sur is a lovely mix of blue and valley oaks, cottonwood and willows, and grassy fields.

The foothills pines provide a gray-green backdrop to the new leaves of the oaks, and the foreground is often colored with the previous year’s dried-up yellow-star thistle, a noxious invasive that resists control.

The pines look as if I’ve turned that part of the image black-and-white, but this truly is the tonality.

Valley oaks tend to be bigger and grow in the valleys, while blue oaks have deeper roots and can cling better to the many rolling hillsides.

The trunk of the valley oak is checker-boarded like this, and it is most distinct on the oldest trees.

This year’s wildflower bloom is a bust, especially compared to last year’s superbloom which I missed. But there are some patches of sky lupine on the roadsides.

There were also a few mule deer out and about.

The textures and interplay of greens is always a show-stopper for me.

The oaks on this side of the mountain range rarely get the Sudden Oak Disease that is afflicting many on the coast. The thought is the pathogen needs the fog and moisture from coastal climate to thrive, and our side is drier. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a late wildflower showing, since the rains came late. I’ll keep you posted!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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Pinnacles National Park – West Side

April 8, 2018 at 10:32 am (California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography)

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My first visit to Pinnacles National Park was about three years ago when I lived in Apple Valley, Calif. I stopped there again on my way to San Francisco a few weeks ago.

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One of my favorite views is on the narrow, winding road from the Salinas Valley to the park’s west entrance, with this particular oak tree leafing out in spring.

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Western bluebirds were busy in the visitor center parking lot snatching bugs.

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I was enamored with this tapestry of green hues backlit by the mid-day sun.

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The landscape is volcanic in origin, and the west side offers several trails. I chose the short, easy one – The Balconies Cliffs-Cave loop trail.

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The layers of color as I approached the end of the trail fascinated me.

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I didn’t notice at the time, but this rock formation looks like a whale leaping out of the water to swallow the moon!

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Pinnacles is known for having good rock climbing routes, but many can be pretty much walked up, like this one.

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I was too early for the wildflowers there (and the winter rains were late) but I’m guessing the flowers are making a showing by now. I didn’t see the California condors I had seen there last time, but there’s always the option for another visit!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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A Pretty Cool Day

March 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Rainbow and blue oak, Fort Hunter Liggett, California

I missed the bus yesterday morning. Actually there was a new driver and he wasn’t at my stop at the right time. So I drove 50 miles to work.

I’m glad I did because as soon as I got to Fort Hunter Liggett, California, the rainbows happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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Homosassa Wildlife Park

March 10, 2018 at 5:35 pm (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Florida State Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife, Zoos)

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Crested caracara

My birding friend Marilyn and I knew that the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park  was a great place for bird photography from a visit a few years earlier. We were determined to return when I was able to extend a business trip to take advantage of a 3-day holiday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Snail Kites and ChizzyWinks

March 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

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Florida snail kite, female

Actually, I thought they were called chisleywinks, but couldn’t find that word, so chizzy wink it is. But more about them in a minute

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Florida snail kite, male

This post is about the endangered Everglade snail kite, which lives in the U.S. only in Florida and eats pretty much only apple snails. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Most Stunning View Ever!

February 6, 2018 at 8:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography) (, , , , )

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Hollister Peak at sunset is viewed from a remarkable pullout on California’s State Route 46 between Paso Robles and U. S. Highway 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway).

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From the same vantage point is Morro Rock. Both are part of the Seven Sisters (some say it’s Nine Sisters) – remnants of ancient volcanoes in San Luis Obispo County. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monarch Grove, Pismo Beach

February 5, 2018 at 8:00 am (Butterflies, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Video) (, , , , )

 

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Most of us will never make it to the wintering site of millions of monarch butterflies in Mexico, but smaller groves of migrating monarchs make their winter stopover in several places on the California Coast. Read the rest of this entry »

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San Antonio de Padua Mission

February 4, 2018 at 7:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Photography) (, )

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The San Antonio de Padua Mission is on the Fort Hunter Liggett property, but is publicly accessible.

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Long after the mission was established, William Randolph Hearst bought the surrounding property for the Milpitas unit of the Hearst Ranch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Elk, Deer, and a Cougar

February 3, 2018 at 2:18 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, )

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The area around Fort Hunter Liggett, California is known for its wildlife and scenic beauty. Herds of tule elk live on and near the post, and are often seen along the main public roads.

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I’ve yet to see a bull elk, but these cows posed so nicely for me in the early morning light that they were irresistible. Read the rest of this entry »

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