Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fur, Flowers and Feathers

It's been a pretty good year for wildlife photo opportunities.    They have to come along unexpectantly as I do not sit and wait for what might come along while going fishing or while on the trout stream.  You never know what might show up going and coming each day to a new adventure.

I was fishing a side channel of Rock Creek when I came across a clearing full of big horn sheep down from their mountain lair for a drink.  I have never seen such a bunch gathered in one spot.  This was early July and they were still shedding their winter coats.  They were pretty shaggy and they could have used some time in the sheep dip tank to help rid them of pretty strong body odors.

The herd was heading back to a pretty steep cliff to head home over the top.  I couldn't believe how sure-footed they had to be to climb to the top without a spill that would be disastrous if high enough.

Two yearlings broke away from the herd to try to master this cliff on their own.  Up they tentatively  went, from ledge to ledge before scurrying over to the top.  Can you spot the leader almost to the top?

One morning Schnitzel and I came across three beautiful mule deer bucks crossing the highway to the creek for a drink and some munching.  All three were sporting very nice racks still in velvet.  The bucks seem to stay together for most of the summer until visions of romance strike them and then they break away to try to gather a harem all their own.  They are not buddies any more in their quest for a nice harem to call their own.

 We had spotted a blue grouse in the yard with her 5 chicks.  Luckily we scared them away before the cats discovered them - easy pickings.  I later came across Mom and her brood along the creek while fishing one day.  The field is full of grasshoppers now which is a very nice tasty meal for grouse.

We enjoyed the coming and goings of Gambel Quail while in our Arizona neighborhood.  Pretty cocky looking with the plumage.  While in our house one morning, I heard pecking at our back slider.  There was a bunch of them thinking they saw other quail in the glass, I guess, as they were trying to get their attention.

 If you want to see deer, drive the roads along hay fields.  There will be some large bunches out together for the evening repast.  These were three of this year's fawns who had pretty well shed their spots.

A couple of mule deer does quickly left when I stopped for a picture.  My zoom got right close and you can see why they are called "mule deer" with those ears.  They also do more hopping than running compared to whitetails.

I love the wildflowers around here.  The best are higher up in the mountains, but I found a favorite called "Butter and Eggs" by the lake.  These seem to be spreading a lot in the low lands. 

And even the lowly thistle can be lovely when in bloom.  

I should spend more time looking for photo opportunities while in Big Sky country.  But every once in awhile, a subject just does not want to be photographed and they let you know it in a not so nice way!

That leaves the fish pictures next to wrap up my blogging for this summer.  Has been fun!!  TROUT


  1. What amazing wildlife there. Everyday must bring a new surprise. Got a real chuckle over the last shot.

  2. It's always fun to ee the wildlife and I'm always amazed at the terrain the sheep live on and even fight on.

  3. I can't believe how they can climb those cliffs! Great pictures and what spectacular wildlife you get to see there.

  4. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Really wonderful photos! I've been "out west" a few times, but never in this beautiful country where you are in Montana.