Where does the time go???
Just a short 5 weeks ago, Tom & I took a quick trip out to Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. We had so many places that we wanted to go … so many things that we wanted to see … and so much that we wanted to experience. It truly was the syndrome that we’re all so painfully aware of – “not enough time in the day” … or in this trip’s case, not enough time in the night as well.
This blog post will cover many of the sightings and experiences that we encountered within Rocky Mountain National Park, which was actually, the last place that we visited on the trip. After spending time with a variety of landscape locations, I found myself chasing “MLB”s (aka Miscellaneous Little Birds) and even lizards … anything to get in touch with wildlife again. 🙂
When we arrived into the Estes Park area and immediately noticed evidence of last years flood, which so devastated it, as well as many of the surrounding roads and communities. Out of respect to those affected, no images will be shared of the destruction. Much work has been done, though it continues to evolve. All in all, the communities truly seemed to bond over their misfortune.
Try as we might, we failed to find the usual bighorn sheep that normally call the Big Thompson Canyon area their home. We did however, encounter several groups of bighorns in Estes Park itself. Sometimes they were out grazing the landscape …
… other times they were simply resting and digesting.
Since we were there in the “slow season”, many of the area accommodations were either closed or had limited business, so often the sheep made their hang-out in normally human-populated areas. Just loved this shot, where the local magpies shared the grooming duties.
Iconic to RMNP itself are the elk who live there. I remember clearly how excited I was when I first caught a glimpse of my first elk in the wild, many years ago (not saying how many to protect my dignity – LOL), within the boundaries of RMNP. Though the bulls had already dropped their antlers, they had already begun to sport their new nubs and before long, they will be displaying their racks again.
In addition, we saw numerous packs of mule deer, but according to the locals, they have been declining in numbers in the area. Even saw a bear! … well, sort of. 🙂
There was also a variety of bird sightings … a sampling of hawks were spotted over the vast landscape – some returning methodically to nearby nests, though we couldn’t document the status of any babies in the nests.
One of my favorite local birds for RMNP is the Steller’s Jay. Got to love a bird with all of that beautiful blue and black colors, trademark markings, and that spunk of a hairdo! LOL.
One evening, as we were driving along the park road, which was obviously closed for the winter still for a direct route through the park, we encountered this turkey just wandering the road. It was quite humorous as we kept catching up with it, but tried to give it the “right of way”. Over the course of the next few days, we ran into numerous flocks (if you call it that) of turkeys and could hear them calling out relentlessly.
Of course, there were plenty of geese to go around also.
We probably spent the most time with the great horned owls, and their young, and that will be the focus of the next blog post. Watch for it!
In the meanwhile, I leave you with “some advice from an elk” (as seen on a local poster):
© 2014 TNWA Photography