I had never visited the Carson Valley area before, well except for the hot air balloon that we took several years back over the Lake Tahoe area. But I don’t think that really counted. When I had the opportunity to do so in early 2018, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but knew that it would be an adventure. One thing that I didn’t expect was the scant amount of snow on the ground. I guess everything has its cycles. However, the scenery was beautiful … so vast and open.
While the landscapes were endless and varied, it was the wildlife that I primarily focused on. Came across this beautiful buck foraging on the winter’s landscape … minus the snow and all. 😉Like I said, the landscapes were amazing and quite different than I expected. Of course, our weather was quite threatening and the images projected that moodiness. Looking across Washoe Lake was incredibly beautiful and the sounds of nature were all around us.Found this Cooper’s hawk in the bare trees, right next to where I set up for that above image. It cooperated for a bit, then had enough, and flew across the lake.Raptors were seemingly everywhere! In the beginning we seemed to be scouting out the ever-present red-tailed hawks. Their ID is generally quite obvious and they were hunting the fields.Then swooped in my favorite non-owl raptor … the northern harrier … not just any northern harrier, but the male, aka the “gray ghost”. I don’t know what it is, but I find them so fascinating!While the adult male is gray in color, the female and juveniles are more of a brown color. Their usually ID is that white strip on their rump, topside.At one point, we heard a hawk giving non-ending screams as it approached closer to where we were shooting from, which incidentally was our vehicle, on a day that had easily 40 mph wind gusts relentlessly blowing my long lens around! As it flew overhead, we identified it as a ferruginous hawk. Such a gorgeous raptor as well. 🙂As we were headed out to a park in the area for some owls, we did a double-take on something that we spotted out in the field. After scoping it, we realized it was a mature golden eagle and it was feeding on what appeared to be a coyote relatively fresh kill. Golden eagles have a wingspan of about 72-96 inches! Now that’s one big bird!!We also spotted this lovely coyote working the field along the river. It kept a keen eye on us, as I’m sure that they’re not always welcomed on the farms. Looked quite big and healthy.Then out of nowhere … I saw them… wild horses. I was quite excited and began to take REALLY far away images. We drove out more closely to them, but still a respectable distance … after all, I wanted them to not feel threatened and act naturally. To my surprise they came closer …… and closer ….… and closer. I just loved it! I also loved all of the sticks, feathers, and such in this horse’s mane. We stared at each other for a bit … I wondered what it was thinking.Then a younger one came up. By now it had begun to rain slightly and the winds picked up again. How adorable is this young one? So free, so natural.It met up with one of the mature horses and nuzzled it a bit…. Right in front of us, I might add! A few snorts and vocalizations were overheard from this close distance, as we had the car turned off the whole time.These two were quite interested in us and approached our car. By now, I was a bit unsure of how they might react and Tom had his finger on the automatic window. They were so incredibly beautiful!After staring at us for a bit, they turned and retreated back to where they came from. I would imagine that they visit the lake across the street often because when we were there, we saw evidence of such. LOL. That was pretty much an overall memory of our time out there. It’s definitely an area that I want to re-visit one day. Loved it. ❤
Next Up: Back to fun times in Colorado … and meeting a new “friend”.
© 2018 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography