Mountain Lion

Right on cue, after a bobcat appearance, a lion shows itself. I thought if I saw one this would be the camera that picked one up. It is on a well-traveled route to water. The deer and horses are frequently using this trail so why not a lion? It’s a rocky route without low weeds and brush so the lion is highlighted quite well. Unfortunately, again these photos are at night so not the great photo quality. Still, it is nice to see that they are out there keeping the wild places wild. Thie appears to be a young lion. It looks on the smaller side. I hope to see it again but not in person!

Finally a Bobcat!

While I am enjoying all the images and information that I have been able to gather on deer and coyote movements, I will admit that I have been eagerly anticipating getting images of Bobcats and Mountain Lions. I have been assured that both frequent the property. As such, I am carrying bear spray on my belt when I wander the around just in case of an encounter. A reminder of the need to be aware and vigilante came this week when it was reported that a young girl out walking her dog was attacked by a mountain lion south of this area. Fortunately, both girl and dog were not seriously injured but it is cause for concern. These are not great pictures. Trail cams don’t take the quality of images a DSLR camera takes but I am thrilled to see the bobcat showing up on two different nights on my camera. In a couple of the photos it shows the bobcat carrying a rabbit in it’s mouth after a successful hunt. Now on to capturing a Lion.

Sparrows

This time of year, White-crowned sparrows return to the lowlands of the southwest in large numbers. They spend the summers in the northern boreal forests and the higher mountain ranges. Their reappearance is a harbinger of colder temps as fall and winter arrive. They are a welcome site in the sagebrush steppe as a lot of the other birds have fled to warmer climes. Often, they can be found in the same areas as Rufous-crowned sparrows foraging for seeds. I enjoy photographing both species as they have a distinctive and attractive appearance.

White-Crowned Sparrows

Rufous-crowned sparrow

Ghostly Trail Cam Photos for Halloween

I have always been afraid of the dark. This fear has not gone away even at my advanced age. I just have far too much imagination and can conjure frightening images from the slightest noise or unexplained movement out there in the scary dark. I laugh at myself as even when reviewing trail cam photos that are taken in the dark I can get creeped out. It is disconcerting to stare at a photo that was taken at 2:00 AM and there is nothing obviously in the photo that triggered the flash. Another eerie sight are eyes glowing out of the dark with no hint at what animal or other being is behind the eyes. In these photos the animals are easy to identify, deer, feral horses, coyotes and a raccoon.

If not Spiders, then What?

Last post was an example of the unexpected when it comes to photos captured on Trail-cameras. What is the desired objective? …beautiful animals of course. I started placing a series of cameras out in July in two main areas that are full of wildlife. Nevada State Game Laws makes the placement of Trail-cameras illegal after August 1 of each year until January 1 of the following year in the interest of fair chase. My goal is photographing animals not hunting them in this application, but I am still subject to the law. I obtained permission to place these cameras on private property which is legal. I am seeing lots of large Mule Deer bucks along with does and fawns. The cameras have also captured a skunk, coyotes and feral horses. While Trail-cameras don’t take high quality photos the pictures are hopefully going to increase my odds of getting good pictures with my real camera. Here are some examples from the last few months.

Mule Deer Buck
Business End of a Skunk
Coyote
Heavy Horned Mule Deer
Two Mule Deer Bucks

Spider Web

I admit to having horrible arachnophobia. Ever since I can remember spiders have terrified me. I almost get physically ill when having to confront them. I am aware of all of the positives of spiders and what they contribute I just don’t want to see them. I run a string of trail cameras to capture deer, coyotes and anything else I can see in my ongoing interest of the natural world. I enjoy the date and time stamp aspect of the photos which adds to my knowledge of animal movements and habits. Imagine my surprise on capturing a large spider building it’s web in front of one of my cameras one night. Ever wondered how long it takes to build the web? I now have the answer – around 4 hours from start to finish. I am grateful that by the time I came by to take the memory disc out of the camera; web and spider were long gone.

Just starting to weave the web.

Thirty ,minutes in and a pretty good start and outline.

At one hour the web is taking shape.

After 3 hours the web is almost complete. Just finishing touches left.

Started at 11:00 PM and appears to be complete at around 3:00 AM. Now it sits in the center and waits for it’s prey. Yuck! 😉

Jewels of the Garden

Hummingbird Feeding on Red Agastache

Hummingbirds are called the Jewels of the Garden or Jewels of the sky. It is easy to see why. As they flit through the colorful flowers the sun catches their brilliant, iridescent feathers giving them a gem like appearance.

Hummingbird and Pink Agastache

These birds are some of my favorite photo subjects. I have turned my backyard into a hummingbird, or pollinator garden as I have written about in the past. I love being able to hang out in my own space, no driving, complete privacy and unlimited time to devote to these tiny subjects.

Pollinator Heaven in Pink

I don’t know what impacted my flowers this year, but I have very few great photos of the Hummers with beautiful flowers. This is one I like. The flowers seemed to be stressed by the heat and bloomed early and faded fast. I still had a good showing of birds but just not the number of pretty flower and bird opportunities I’ve had in the past.

Hummingbird with Faded Monarda

Common Yellowthroats

Female Yellowthroat with Dragonfly

I was fortunate to find a nesting pair of Yellowthroats earlier this summer. They were busy feeding their young ones and the number of dragonflies that were consumed was staggering!

Male Yellowthroat

The males are more colorful with a bandit like mask of black across the eyes. More dragonflies in his beak for the nestlings.

Feeding Interaction between the Couple

I was happy to capture this interaction between the male and female while they were feeding their young.

I Like Big Bucks and I Cannot Lie…

Pronghorn are perhaps the the most beautiful animals in North America. Their speed, their grace and their exotic markings, make them one of my most sought after photography subjects. The Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge produces many fine examples of pronghorn bucks.

In September and October the Pronghorn look their best. I have taken photos of them in Spring and early Summer and they can look a little unkempt. At this time of year their coats are prime, their horns are all shined up and both the bucks and does look beautiful to my eye.

This is also the best time of the year to get close to these speedy and elusive animals. They are focused on females and forget their usual caution. They can hear the camera clicking away and will look at my blind but soon they are chasing the girls and fighting with the boys.

This handsome guy was my favorite this season. He is clearly in his prime and at the top of his game. Just stunning to watch. I hope he passes his amazing genetics on to many this year.

This fella is still impressive but probably a little older and does not have quite the panache the younger buck has. His horns were in better shape a few years ago but he is still an impressive specimen.