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Great Horned Take Off

Great Horned Take Off
Great Horned Take Off

Great Horned Take Off

This is not something I see everyday lol. Owls bolt quickly if approached or I don’t see them at all. They also blend in rather well. Magic in the backcountry.

I was quietly driving down low in a wash/gully in my Polaris Ranger Crew. Owls as a whole, stay tree perched. This one was eating a tid-bit of something, perched stationary on the side of a hill/ground. Never got a look at what. He was VERY well camo’d and I just caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. His feathers are a disruptive camo to your eye. Makes you dizzy.😄 The path taken here is the proverbial “Low” road . This ground is a wonderfully dissected steep topography. Low ground between the fingers of the drainage reaching to the higher hills nearby . This forest has the spirits of dinosaur walking about as fossils do roll out of the golden Cretaceous River Sands from the famous “Hell Creek/Lance Formations. here.

It seems to me that all the Dinosaurs didn’t die at the end of the Cretaceous with the meteor/bolide that “killed the dinos”. That Extinction Level Event (ELE) killed 80 percent of Life on the planet . Took place a mere 66 million years back if you believe a geologist/paleontologist. MOST dinosaurs did indeed die but the ones that did’nt had feathers, a tail and teeth. Their modern descendants are flying around us now. There are two types of Paleontologists. (BAND and BAD). Birds Are Not Dinosaurs and Birds are Dinosaurs. Most are the Latter.

I have a few dozen good captures from this encounter but I have bigger “fish” to fry at the moment lol. . This G. H. Owl.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. (Wyotana).

Title: Great Horned Take Off

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Rodent on a Rock

Rodent on a Rock
Rodent on a Rock

Rodent on a Rock

This Northern (not the Wyoming Pocket) ) Pocket Gopher was on the Montana / Wyoming border. The Northern is considered a Sub-species of the Wyoming Gopher though… Underground mostly, this one was active as I randomly wandered by his ground in the backcountry. I spied the movement. Any hawk worth it’s name would enjoy this though I suspect he blends in pretty well on that sane of the same exact color lolol. I suspect the rock was warm too from the sun that bright early morning. It may well have been warming itself.

His burrow was next to this chunk of Hell Creek Sandstone. I saw him several times getting up on this rock to take a look around. I’m thinking it was pretty bright for him. It took a bit to get into position for this one. He didn’t like me at first but after about 15 minutes he was back at it again. This was not an easy one to compose lolol. He was king of the hill as far as he was concerned. Understanding your position in the world is an important perspective to gain lololol. 😜📸

Of course this is posted a bit out of season. I’m pretty sure this guy is sleeping here in mid-winter as I post this. He’s in a burrow under the backcountry snow at the moment. Filled his burrow with seeds and other stores. You have to admire an advance planner that stores food for the lean future. IT’s a good survival strategy.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Rodent on a Rock

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Ferruginous Hawks Heading Out

Ferruginous Hawks Heading Out
Ferruginous Hawks Heading Out

Ferruginous Hawks Heading Out

Yet another capture driving along remote backcountry roads up here in the borderlands. I saw these two Raptors talking 30 feet apart on a fence. At this lower f-stop setting, the focal field was about 20 feet deep and these birds a 20 feet apart lol. The left one is closer to me than the right (rear) one. They took off just after I came to a stop and started machine gunning the 1200mm lens.

I’m not a hawk expert and the distinction between Red Tailed Hawks and Ferruginous Hawks seems blurred to me. I suspect somebody knows the answer that will be reading this. Feel free to correct my ID as I’m only about 80 percent sure. The different sizes are an obfuscation.

Random encounters result in opportunistic captures for my photon traps. (cameras). I see them….driving along a gravel road, stopping. Then getting out standing between the door and the car with a 2 foot long lens is a chore best accomplished with some haste. Doing so and not have the birds fly off is a whole different encounter. The chances that both birds would hold their ground on a vehicle incoming at 45 mph is small. 45 is the speed limit on most gravel backroads around here. Then have enough time during all that get a camera up and set properly in manual mode. . Elapsed time less than 20 seconds I would imagine.

Location: near the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

These Hawks look to be both the same sex… Might be wrong..

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Ferruginous Hawks Heading Out

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Hawk Flight Path Composite

Hawk Flight Path Composite
Hawk Flight Path Composite

Hawk Flight Path Composite 30″x10″ triplet (3:1 aspect)

Certainly I am not an expert on extant raptors. I know a bit about Avian Dinosaurs, this is the Bliss DInosaur Ranch after all…. That being said, I “believe” that this is a “Ferruginous Hawk. A single bird along it’s flight path. In other words, this is the same bird against the very background it was flying past. (A composite/multiple exposure of sorts) . (Red Tail versus Ferruginous is a tough one. ). I’m sure someone reading this will know instantly.

The bird is actually below me topographically. It was actively flapping to keep or gain altitude and was on an hunt. Mouth open giving a screech. Camera on rapid fire of 10 shots a second. I was high on a ridge several hundred feet above the surrounding ground. This hawk was actually making enough noise for several birds lol. He was calling so much, I’m sure he was telegraphing his presence to the prey.

This guy actually circled twice which gave me enough time to tweek the camera and catch him on the second pass. I don’t see hawks from above too often. Passing by me twice was a gift from him to me. He must have seen something down there and wanted to check it out twice. He didn’t give me a third opportunity. Hunting appeared better else where. It was soon flying off. Not a bit worried about whether I took his photo.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Hawk Flight Path Composite

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Moo Moo Sunset

Moo Moo Sunset
Moo Moo Moon

Moo Moo Sunset

As I drive around our ranch. I check water tanks and fix fences that don’t need to be down. It’s good to keep cattle out of the hay bales for instance. I also keep a good pile of cameras with me. Each is a specialty tool with a lens on it that does a particular task. Short lenses, long lenses and many in between. Usually when an alignment of planets occurs, a long lens at a good distance is a nice application.

Photographic Musings: Buying a camera??

This cow filter worked very well to reduce the over all light reaching my camera. Not quite 1/2 of the suns disk was blocked and thus this image was possible. I really don’t like glass filters in front of my lens when pointing at the sun. (I use mirrorless cameras only please so I don’t blind myself). Calling this scene bright would be an understatement. You certainly couldn’t look at it bare eyed. The mirrorless removable lens camera displays the image on a video screen in the eyepiece or the LCD on the back of the camera. All live real time. Your settings change the image live. You know what your going to get (more or less) what you see in the eyepiece. Working a good camera on Manual takes on a whole different style.

Disclaimer: Don’t try this with your DSLR camera as the direct path of light to your eye will probably blind you. Also, some mirrorless cameras are not rated for this kind of telephoto sun shot. Don’t assume a smaller sensor camera (I use full frame Sony Alpha 7’s) will take this without burning a hole in the sensor.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Moo Moo Sunset

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Cow’s Bad Hair Day

Cow's Bad Hair Day
Cow's Bad Hair Day

Cow’s Bad Hair Day is one of those captures that just makes me roll my eyes lol. I’m pretty sure she was miserable about this 😔

TheSticky Seeds, widely known as “Burdock” (Arctium) seed clusters.

Claim to Fame:

The inventor claims Velcro was conceived from observing the seeds “hook” like design combined with it’s “adhesive” qualities. The hook’s at the perimeter of the seed cluster attaches to hair, clothing and even feathers. Some birds getting into Burdocks, totally covered in burrs.

It “Symbolizes” Abundance I understand.

Burdock has world wide distribution (not surprising). It’s a great dispersal strategy which lends seeds to travel lol. It is however, a VERY good plant to know about. It is a common food in the orient utilizing the tap root of young plants as a vegetable. Soak the shreaded roots for 10 minutes. This will cause it to loose a slight muddy taste. Known at ‘gobo” in Japan, I have eaten it before in several different pork dishes and soups. The tap roots resemble a carrot in shape. It has lots of fiber also a good source of calcium, potassium and various amino acids.

Burdock beer was common back in the middle ages. Known as hedgerow mead it is still a flavor. In the United Kingdom, “Dandilion and Burdock” is a popular soft drink even today.. Historically used as a “bittering agent in beer prior to the introduction of hops in beer for this purpose.

Medicinal Uses. Pregnant women might want to avoid Burdock. Believed to increase lactation, so…. Careful too as it can cause contact dermititus in some and in more sensitive individuals, allergic reactions .

Traditional Herbalists, who consider the dried roots and seeds useful. (Chinese traditional medicine) both of which are used as treatments for many Ailments. Often used as a diurietic (makes you pee/loose water), and a diaphoretic (makes you sweat). I’m pretty sure there are volumes written about this plant on line. Googling this might be a good thing. 😃

Location: Near the Burdock Patch, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Cow’s Bad Hair Day

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Jabba the Owl

Jabba the Owl
Jabba the Owl

Jabba the Owl is a Great Horned Owl AND a fledgeling laying down under a wing.

This Capture is WAAAAAY far out there for the optical technology I had at that time. At least 300 yards across a lake at 3200mm. Taken last spring before the leaves sprouted on the host Cottonwood Tree. I only got a few opportunities on this nest as the spring COttonwood leaves totally hid it from me time and time again. . I just couldn’t see him for about a month after this shot. When I finally got lucky with a certain angle and a beam of light. At these distances a quarter mile line of cottonwoods all looks alike from different angles lol. These owls have some of the best disruptive camo I’ve ever seen. It was amazing I found him this time. I do have some other images with him and a fledge standing too.

There was no other way to approach this next as just finding it against the visual noise of the treeline that ALL looks like this lolol. That is a very small area of a big row of trees looking through a long tube with no landmarks lolol. One time I had a green frog at 15 feet in algae to find while looking through a 18 inch long lens. Under High Magnifications, this is nearly an impossible task. To point a camera that precisely with consistency time and time again….nope This capture is taken off a sandbag on a Jeep Window.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Jabba the Owl

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Canada Goose Nest Sunset

Canada Goose Nest Sunset
Canada Goose Nest Sunset

Canada Goose Nest Sunset is a capture

I was driving to check some game trail cameras at a nearby wildlife funnel. I saw the parents bolt for my presence. We surprised each other as I only check cameras when I’m in an area which might be several weeks. This image is a regular camera issue . I think it took me about 2 minutes to have a 360 degree game trail camera on the location. I have some excellent images of the the parents tending their eggs. The Game Trail Cameras worked without me bothering them. I have a few finished images of that apparently that I have yet to revisit but I’ll get there lolol.

There was NO hatch of this nest. . The parents were obviously disturbed by something. They left the eggs. (not by me as the trail camera watched them for a month tending eggs. ). Suddenly, they were gone. The eggs scattered. I don’t know what happened to them. I do have a pretty good series of very close images from them with the eggs. Several other animals apparently took advantage of the nest after that. I have blurry photos. The night a raccoon found them was the last. It’s hard to know why the clutch didn’t hatch and the parents departed. 😔

These wetlands are on ranch. They are spring fed, as such in 20 years I’ve never seen this pond dry up. Built by a dam on the old local section of the “Montana to Texas Cattle Trail”. A LOT of cattle have drunk water from this pond. The trains started hauling cattle..

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Canada Goose Nest Sunset

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Pronghorn in Prairie Dog Town

Pronghorn in Prairie Dog Town
Pronghorn in Prairie Dog Town

Pronghorn in Prairie Dog Town: Throwing a big party……Taken a few miles outside of the Thunder Basin National Grassland.

Northeastern Wyoming is America’s Serengeti

There is so much going on here I don’t know where to start. The two dogs left center belly to belly instantly caught my attention. That action is what I cued in on in the camera. There is a lot of activities. Pronghorn walking about, trying not to step in a hole. The herd were more or less passing through town. I’m not sure what the attraction is with an area full of pitfalls. Many an animal has broken a leg this way. Running through here would throwing the dice. Sooner or later your going to fall into one.

This is a “ways” out with a long lens. There is NO way to get this kind of image if your anywhere close to the dog town. Even these guys know about sticking your head up with cars around. They get “educated” very quickly as people shapes are known to make boom noises. Those are followed by a crack or oblivion depending on the abilities of the rifleman.

Ranchers really don’t like the damage they do to the pastures. The denuding of the grass around the town is the obvious thing. Prairie Dogs can carry Bubonic Plague as well as fleas are a problem in certain places. They are very cute of course which doesn’t make it easier to deal with a prize horse that stepped in a Prairie Dog Hole going across a pasture. Unchecked, they will take over a field in a few years.

Location: Northeastern Wyoming near the Thunderbasin National Grassland. Campbell County Wyoming.

Title Pronghorn in Prairie Dog Town.

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Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner
Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

I obviously let the word out that there was feed in my barnyard from which I feed my flock of ducks, chickens from. The turkeys somehow found out about it through their channels. So these freeloaders come by now and again to supplement their diet. They fly over the electric fence. I’m still trying to figure out how they learned that. This is our side yard about 50 feet from my west side door.

I wonder if they know they significance of having ten (10) genuine Native Americans over for dinner. Here in America for a LONG time before humans. After all they almost becoming the national bird. Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter where he stated that the turkey was “more respectable” than the eagle, which he thought was “of bad moral character.” He argued vociferously for it. The turkey would have been on coinage/buildings/seals from the beginning. That instead every artistic portrayal of a regal eagle has been done since. The Eagle won, instead of the majestic soaring turkey (oh wait), well at least they are brave. Boy that snood is quite a protuberance as well lolol. . The males are plain annoying at times. I see dinosaurs in them.

Surviving the major extinction of the Megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene, the turkeys had a humble beginning in the Early Miocene. Their ancestors went back to avian dinosaurian history though. The Miocene was a time of high CO2, high biological productivity, and rapid growth of new species development from 22-9 mya.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

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Sharpie on an Icy Wire

Sharpie on an Icy Wire
Sharpie on an Icy Wire

Sharpie on an Icy Wire was a capture from 35 feet below and 50 feet off to the side. The wire was moving back and forth in the breeze. The bird was constantly shifting it’s significant weight to compensate. The ice wasn’t falling off so it was pretty well attached.

I was in my Jeep working out the drivers window. This guy and a flock of at least 50 others were hanging out nearby. There is a very large flock hanging around this year. All the good images I will get this year will be from inside of my vehicle. If Sharp Tailed Grouse see a human, they take off for a good distance. I understand they can fly for several miles at a time. From up here on the ridges, they could glide for 20 miles lololol. These guys are plump prairie Chickens.

The native Americans called them Fire Chickens because they would take advantage of burnt out areas moving in very quickly to take advantage of the feeding opportunities. They are plump birds for sure lolol. At least it doesn’t make their tail look fat ……. cue top hat rif…

They really don’t occur in the east or much bast Wisconsin OR west of the continental divide. They are quite a large grouse with the characteristic pointy tail. The purple cheek bags the males puff out in breeding season is spectacular. I will get to that one too ….

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Sharpie on an Icy Wire

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Robin Red Breast Beast

Robin Red Breast Beast
Robin Red Breast Beast

The hardest part of this capture Robin Red Breast Beast, is that the guy was really trying to get me….

This was a classic “Rinse and Repeat” shot opportunity. The bird didn’t want me there. He would go to the same spot in the nearby tree and fly at me and my 200 pound mastiff. Over and over and over again. The dog was not concerned. I was sipping a cool drink in the shade naturally. Comfortable in my chair fortunately. I happened to have an 800mm telephoto. A Sony Alpha 7RII camera attached nearby. Rinse and Repeat as I said. Give me enough chances and I’ll get the shot lolol.

I literally had dozens of chances at these shots and got quite a few as these cameras rapid fire very well. It’s always nice when the bird is predictable. You can aim for the focus and the lighting spot you want him in.

The trick is to time the click to the bird traversing the zone of focus. Light is rare under a tree . There is no direct light under the canopy.. You have to compensate for the lower light level somehow and ISO comes to mind. You need your speed and your f-stop to freeze the action and to give one deep focus. The ISO has to be the compensator. Turn it up ….make it grainy as a price….

There are a few more of these that will be trickling into my work flow. They all come from the same timeline over about an hour in my yard. The pair of birds this guy was part of raised their fledgeling just fine. Photos of it elsewhere too. You must have to watch.

This is a full framed image. It is not much of a crop. 3×2 feet

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Robin Red Breast Beast

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Barn Cat Yawning About Winter

Barn Cat Yawning About Winter
Barn Cat Yawning About Winter

Barn Cat Yawning About Winter is a true story. He’s bored (and maybe a little starved for O2 since he just wok up) lolol.

It was about -2 out (about a week ago as this posts) and this cat was already bored by the cold. Three of them were sleeping up along this south facing decking and inside of about a 6 inch snow free area. The sun was “warm”, the 10mph (way minus wind was blocked by the deck. Our group of 6 barn cats (oilfield kitten rescue) are all neutered, tame and vet checked/medicated.

We take very good care of them so don’t worry about the temps up here. All of them have gone through -30 before in many previous Wyoming Winters. They are 6 years old.

A fairly famous scientist, Carl Linnaeus named the domestic cat Felis catus within the scientific naming system. Carl Linnaeus (1707 –1778), AKA with his ennoblement title as Carl von Linné , was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalized binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. The system we use today. So he got all the easy stuff done first lololol.

All animals are scientifically names (and thus grouped with other similar creatures) within his naming system. It’s a good google if your into scientific names to find out they SYSTEM. . It’s one of my weaknesses but I do know the language of paleontology . I take to scientific names like the proverbial peas to carrots….as long as it’s a fossil 😜 Paleontology students are given this assignment somewhere along the road in their education. Good to know.

If someone asked you to go take a photo of a yawning cat….. good luck with that🤔. Doing so might take a while for you to get it. I just randomly was in the right place at the right time with a long lens on a camera ready to click. I caught a few more sleeping cats on the snow with this session. (they could go in a nice warm barn but the sun was too inviting). Stay tuned 📸

Location: Front Deck, Homestead Compound, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Barn Cat Yawning About Winter

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Robin Fledgeling Personally Close

Robin Fledgeling Personally Close
Robin Fledgeling Personally Close

I took a few images of this Robin Fledgeling Personally Close. He was young and foolish, I had a long lens. The two of us got along fine together. I was trying NOT to attract my resident ranch cat population up into the windbreak where this guy was trying to grow up. Flight was clumsey due to it’s flight feathers partial development.

As I say it was ignorant of this big lumbering smelly noisy human walking around might be a threat. It had drawn a line in the sand as to how close I could get to him or he would flutter off. So I went back into the house and got an 800mm lens that focuses as close as 15 feet. These captures are the result. Macro work with a 2 foot long lens is always challenging. My returning to the area, he was approximately where I left him a mere 5 minutes earlier. I’m not one to complain about negotiations with a wild creature that last longer than a few seconds…maybe a minute. In all honesty, it did take me a minute to find him again back in the pretty thick windbreak.

It looks like “Birdie Sanders” to me. Just perhaps a true characterization maybe not but there is something about the down feathers….🤔😜 It will loose those down feathers pretty quickly. It flew south with all the other Robin Red Breasts (many). There is a good population of them. They compete with Meadowlarks for bugs but the Meadowlarks VASTY outnumber them. I seem to remember that Robins are European imports but memory fades and fails. Anyone know?

I have another images of this birds wonderful face, head and eye floating around posted a few days ago.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana (In the Windbreak west of our homestead.

Title: Robin Fledgeling Personally Close

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Birdie Sanders

Birdie Sanders
Birdie Sanders

Birdie Sanders was a European Robin Fledgling that was in my back yard Wind Break Woods last summer

Being a baby, his flight or fight reflex was not well developed. He could mostly fly to low branches and get away. Because it’s a baby, slow deliberate movements and this 800mm at about 15 feet was the equipment to have. Any closer would have flown.

This is a full sized image in a 2:1 Aspect up to 40×20 inch at high resolution. He was actually pretty curious about me but I didn’t want to attract my cats to the area so I didn’t linger. I managed to get a “few” images for the portfolio lol. I love the green grass summer bokeh from those ware lazy days of summer. This guy has migrated south already if he survived the summer and the one day of fall. (It was on a tuesday this year).

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Birdie Sanders

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Robin Head On Close

Robin Head On Close
Robin Head On Close

Robin Head On Close is just that. Territorial Robins are in the spring.

Of course I’m mixing and matching seasons as I post these days. This was this year (2019) however. This guy was dive bombing me sitting back in my side yard sipping on an umbrella drink and a telephoto that goes macro at 15 feet. He always went back to the same perch. Telegraphing his intentions is a weakness in his approach. He would stoop just before he leaped giving me enough reflect time to click the shutter. Of course I use a camera giving me 10 frames a second (then) and I just wait for him to fly into my focal plane.

He really didn’t bother me much, finished my sippy drink plus took a few dozen good frames. I got the best part of the deal. My dog was more shook up by the constant busy nature of the bird. His prey drive was wanting to kick in but I discourage that unless it’s a person as I trust his judgement. Good King Corso, 220 pounds…Robin didn’t care and was all Kamakazi in it’s actions. 20 minutes was enough shooting. Half of photography is knowing when to leave the first shooting location and look for another.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Robin Head On Close