Languishing in my “to do folder” unnoticed from last spring was this little chubby gal fawn. She obviously has a lot of attitude. She was all business with her twin just off frame moments before. Now shes prancing about sticking her tongue out. You will notice the rounded belly of a baby that obviously has spent some time on the spigot. Moms lunch counter the two share. They mix that with tasty morsels from the buffet around them. I’m sure there are many good looking plants that tasted terrible though. Learning quickly is a trait of the species but this one is a mere baby when this was taken.
The deer live on what they forage . They are tougher than cattle with regards to eating certain plants. For instance, deer can eat pine needles and not abort their fetus.The turpentine in the pine needles can and will cause cattle to spontaneously abort.. So certain pastures with pine trees are not good winter pasture for cattle. Deer have a very tolerant system to deal with such things.
This fawn I have followed over the summer. This is miss “Perfect Ears” I’ve spoken of in other posts. She is always lagging behind the other two. More curious of things I believe. She is more than cooperative and tolerant of “Clever Girl” driving around, stopping and sitting with a big eye sticking out the drivers window…. I hope we have a mild wet winter… I miss the spring already….
Have a great night all from my workstation here on ranch 🙂
Hey Big Brown Eyes…. 👀 He is well camo’d this year….
So I check my posts every morning. This particular morning the computer that is dedicated to such tasks started looping and became useless. Crashing my FB account requiring a new password. I will post around 6 AM every day if I have my choice. I was out photographing sunrise and didn’t know until 7. That morning. So I spend the next hour fixing all the digital avalanche that disrupts schedules until I fix them. Part of that chore is to drive up to the ranches communication tower.
While waiting around for the computer up there to update (lengthy), I had some time to walk that ridge which yielded this very young Cotton Tail Bunny. It took some stalking and patience to get this close even with a long lens. Now I know there is a hunting season for them in Wyoming and Montana. I’ve never hunted cottontails outside of the Illinois cornfields of my youth. They have been controlled around our homestead by our 6 Barn cats. This one is over a mile away and perhaps outside their range. I still have my original 6 cats that are 7 years old each. They have survived dispite the Bobcats and Coyotes that love your average domestic house cats up here on the high prairie.
Most of you know I maintain a network of Game Trail Cameras across my ranch. Various trails and natural choke points are favorite places of mine to plant them. I have to decide WHERE to put them. This is based on WHERE the unknown creature destined to walk in front of my automatic cameras will inhabit eventually. I noticed a well used path down near a local lake where small animals obviously had tread prior to my discovery of the local highway. Out comes a game trail camera with a view of the path.
Of course I have no control over environmental lighting. Moving animals at night are hard for Game Trail Cameras to freeze. This one did pretty well but at 5:15AM, just a bit before sunrise that day, there was enough ambient light to freeze this little canid (I think a Fox of some sort). What was REALLY interesting was the breakfast it had in it’s mouth.
I wish I knew the back story of this. I can only by implication assume the fish was dead on the shore. The other alternative is he did some early morning fishing which would be different for sure lolol. The Fox may like his sushi from a gas station refrigerator next to the automotive fluids aisle. You know, a little past prime perhaps?? There was a pretty good grass fire here on ranch lately so maybe he had that fish cooked first. Back to reality, the lake is getting lower and a fish may have been trapped in the shallow. At any rate, caught him with his breakfast. Yumm. 😜
I sure had to look twice at this. Ok, three times…. Maybe it’s just me….. 😜 It sat in my “Images to finish” pile for a few weeks, it kept popping up. I finally gave in and finished it. First of all it was VERY colorcast by the last seconds of the day sunlight painting the scene. IT was horrible to color correct back to reality. The illusion / confusion is just so durn unusual that I had to give in. Usually I’m placing problem children like this at the 6PM post position lolol.
Doing some quantity of photography of ungulates, I often get interesting “alignments of deer or Pronghorn. Usually easily when they are in herds. These two were all by themselves. I was actually quite a ways out from them. Having said that, the back doe wanted nothing to do with me having never seen a big black truck around before. They were out by some salt blocks mooching off the ranch.
Ranchers do a LOT more for the wildlife than most non-ranchers understand. Feeding our cattle supplements birds, mice, deer, pronghorn and all the creatures that in turn eat on those. For Instance: We have kept 4 stock tanks open 365/24/7 for 18 years now. Believe me in this cold country, unfrozen water keeps these guys alive and around here. We pump that water which takes electricity. We only need to keep one tank open for our stock.
The deer are known for eating into hard collected haystacks. Powder River and Little Powder River Drainages are all rich in deer. An equally large number of partially eaten hay bales in stock yards lolol. Wildlife management is very important. Sometimes supporting them just a little makes it all possible. Take off the edge so to speak 🤔 .
This is Peter’s long distant cousin Bubba. Bubba Bunny is not that common around the Ranch as our ranch cats consider them fair game. Even the larger Jack Rabbits give us a wide birth. We have 6 Barn Cats (vaccinated and well cared for). The best small rodent control devices created are cats. The cat’s fortunately don’t bother my flock of ducks and chickens but somewhere along the line these long eared fellows became menu items. I had to get way away from the homestead to run away from their influence to photograph one.
I haven’t seen a plague of rabbits since I’ve lived up here but historically there have been some major problems resulting in some state wide hunts. The state used to offer bounty on the Jack Rabbits (this is a cottontail) with some hunts filling up the back of pickup trucks overnight. They were out of control occasionally. They needed predation to take care of their numbers. Some of the problem was the elimination of a portion of their natural predators. The introduction of western hybrid monocultural grains probably had as much effect on their growth spurts at various historical moments.
However since about 1880 they have been in general population decline with notable exceptions notably. Locally this year I have noted a lack of Whitetailed JackRabbits. These little cotton tails are around and are hunted of course. They are only seasonally pursued by law. Jack Rabbits are hunted all year.
Jack Rabbits will attack you if they feel threatened or provoked. Being charged by a Jack Rabbit was no fun for me. I didn’t enjoy the prospect.. It happened very quickly. He had evil intent but he lost the fight. Jimmy Carter had a golf club, I had a bolt action rifle in .257 Roberts at the time…. He ceased being a threat 25 yards out. I would never shoot a cotton tail unless I was really hungry. Well if he was the size of a Jack Rabbit I would too lolol. Good Rule to Follow: Don’t charge at a guy that builds guns and ammo for his day job.😜
These two week old fawns are following their mother across a pretty good run along side of my Pickup truck. There of course was no threat from me. Pronghorn tend to run along with vehicles just to remind themselves they are the fastest land animal in North America. Typically they will do their best to speed up and run across the road in front of your vehicle. Since the local backcountry speed limit is 45 mph, typically, they can and do pass you. I’m not sure if there is an evolutionary advantage to telling your pursuers that you are faster…. Maybe next time they won’t try??? 🤔 😜 In two decades of riding these backcountry gravel roads, I’ve only hit one Pronghorn with a vehicle. We custom build bumpers just for such things on our vehicles so no damage to the truck but the Pronghorn didn’t do as well. 😔
Mom had twins because last year was a banner year for grass. Her body reacted and doubled down on the survivability this summer. So far, it is early July and the Grass is totally brown. The grasshoppers are already competing for the meager grass crop cut short by both a dry year cutting mandibles. The grasshoppers are as thick as I remember them since I’ve lived here but I assure you that they could and probably will get worse. India, Saudi Arabia and Africa are having REAL Plague of Locust Biblical stuff at the moment. Let’s not go there please ☹️ It’s going to be hard on that mother. ….
For Blue Monday: A mated pair and a perspective with the female being on a post that is a good 3 feet closer to my camera as the left post. (Thus the “Slight” out of focus way closer female). That camera was actually focused between them to get them both “close”. If I focused on one or the other, one would always be way out of focus. So focus between 😜📸 .. (all about F-stop, this was in deep shade and I had no where to go….).
The 6 inch long one ounce birds don’t make much noise in my experience but a little in the morning. Hard to describe. They are fairly small Thrushes with a round head outline and straight thin bills. Sky blue is how I describe the color but are a bit darker on the wings and tail but with a light patch under the tail and it’s stomach. The female just blue on the tail and wing tips.
These guys hoover while foraging for insects. I’ve seen it many times. These guys were jumping around myself in a rare meeting with a couple of neighbors. We were too close to their nesting area…As soon as we changed position, back to business seen and zipping about and then back to this place. He was flitting around, she was watching mostly . I just by happenstance had an 1200mm camera set up with me. They hoover to catch bugs so they have mastered their environment for sure. We are actually a little low at 4000 feet in elevation for them as they are found to 11000 feet up in the hills. The do like our grasslands though. Lots of bugs out there for them to eat…. Good habitat for most insect eaters.
Location: near the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)
Dragonflies are not always loners like this one. They often group into swarms. Bees and Wasps can sting you, Mosquitos bite you but there is something exceptionally magical about Dragonflies (they don’t bite you). That is of course unless your a mosquito in which case they are your worst nightmare.
Both the larval and adult form actively hunt mosquitos in their various life stages. They are certainly near the top of the local insect predator chain. I’m pretty sure a preying mantis will make a mess of a dragon fly though 🤔.
During the Carboniferous geologic Period 300 million years ago, when coal swamps and high oxygen levels allowed it, Dragonflies grew to massive sizes. With a wingspan of up to 6 feet, they were a force to be reconciled with. They were likely a top level predator of anything they could pick up including small amphibians and proto-reptiles. There were numerous insects for them to feed on of course.
There are currently around 5000 known species, the identification of which I shall leave to a specialist. Their larval stage lasting up to two years is aquatic where they eat about anything that they can in the water. They are amazing fliers putting most helicopters to shame. They only hunt on the fly, but they also mate there. Fly United is their only option. They are the best mosquito control out there. I’ve seen swarms covering large areas down in the ranches wetlands.
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. (Wyotana) Title: Red Plum and Dragonfly
The Great Blue Heron is also know as Ardea herodias by hobbiests and professionals alike. Here it is hanging out 50 feet up above a lake in a big CottonWood Tree. You know, the tiny branches at the tippy top. It was variously gusty / windy that morning at 5 AM.
These are BIG birds weighing in at 4.5 – 5.5 pounds, stand 5 foot tall with a 5 foot wingspan….. They are truly AMAZING circus actors. As far as I can tell they are total masters of their environment!📸 This bird was sitting about 150 yards from my lenses while I was on an adjacent slope I can actually get at nest level on (50 feet above the lake). I gain distance from the birds though by gaining elevation up to them. Leaves will shortly be getting in my way of seeing into their cloistered world.. Soon the curtain will be drawn except for the coming and going of the birds from the rookery here on the ranch.
The rookery/colony is only a 6 nest group along a remote backcountry lake. The only visitors to this place are me and who ever hays the ground around the lake that year. 99 percent of the time no one bothers this area. I have a game trail camera under their nests but I won’t get there for some time as disturbing the nests is not a good plan. I won’t get out of my truck if I’m within 300 yards of these guys.
With all the cold weather lately, this image came to mind that spring isn’t that far away. Spring 2019… Bedded Deer Bucks chewing what ever goodies they regurgitated. … yumm… The grass that time of year is a wonderful brown/green color, the deer have all new coats. Their rapidly growing antlers are covered with the capillary blood vessel rich “Velvet” covering the bone under supplying it with nutrients.
Sometime later in the year they antlers will stop growing. The velvet starts to itch and they will rub those antlers tearing the velvet to ribbons. They will rub on any bush or tree unlucky enough to be in their path. Deer rubs on trees are good signs of deer activity and you can usually tell how recent they were.
Reminder: Photographic Musings (memorize this)
Terms you need to know: (F-stop) is your aperture size. The size of the “pupil” inside your lens. Big pupils (low fstop numbers) lets in a lot of light but your depth of focus is thin and shallow. (the eye is in focus but your ears are not). With a high F-stop number, you get a very deep field of focus/depth of field. The whole face and the trees behind the face are all in focus. This is because a high f-stop number makes a very small pin hole for a “pupil” in your lens.
F-stop is one of three settings you adjust in Manual mode. It is a double edged sword, deeper focus field comes from having a small aperture “pupil” which means less light. Light is what your balancing here. The other two settings (ISO and Shutter Speed) compensate for what your doing with f -stop in this case.