Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15, 2011
The other day I took a break from my art work to venture out into the outdoor world of the Upper Wind River country. Crossing the bridge by my house-studio I found a pair of Hooded Mergansers plying the waters of the river. We had a pair last year about this same time and I am guessing these might be the same pair. Last year was the first time I had ever seen hooded Mergansers. This is a real treat. They are a beautiful bird particularly the male as is so often found in the bird world.
February 15, 2011
I have seen a cow moose several times in the last few weeks west of town and with the idea I might find her I drive west of town to the DuNoir. topping the hill above the valley I spot a Golden Eagle and a number of magpies sitting on a recently road killed deer off the side of the road. I pass on by and turn around and approach the site camera ready but by the time I get stopped it is off along with the magpies and right into the sun making for a difficult shot.
February 15, 2011
There is no sign of the moose but the late afternoon sun is hitting the snow squalls that are piled up against the peaks above the DuNoir valley creating a cloud show of mood and color. The high peaks now and then peaking through .

February 15, 2011
After nearly an hour or so I head back to town but am stopped by a number of Mule Deer just off the side of the road. They are not the least bit disturbed by my presence and I spend some time photographing them including these two nice bucks. Within days they will be loosing their antlers for the season and the regrowing process will once again begin ushering in a new season. Antler growth is the fastest growing tissue known in the biological world and by early summer they will once again be sporting their magnificent head adornments.
February 15, 2011
The next day, friday afternoon, I am still determined to find that cow moose and hopefully be better prepared to get some shots of the Eagle sitting on that dead deer. The Mergansers have dissapeared. They sure didn't stay long.
No Eagle and I am surprised that there is very little carcass left. Coyotes must have come down last night and made short order of it.
I approach the hill just beyond the carcass and there she is straight below me along the river and I arrive just as she is coming down to the river for a drink of water. I watch as she finishes and then climbs back up the river bank and begins leisurly strolling along the rivers edge stopping here and there browsing on willows.
February 15, 2011
There are still snow squalls hugging the peaks but a lot more mountain is visible today. the DuNoir valley has got to be one of the most beautiful places in America and this evening is no exception to that idea.
February 15, 2011
I return to watch my moose a while longer. She is still meandering along the river side browsing on the willows as she goes.
February 15, 2011
February 14 and it is pretty pleasant out. A little windy but that has the temperature up into the mid 40's. A great afternoon to again take a break and go for a hike up the Glacier Trail.
It is more snow covered than I thought it might be but packed by weekend hikers and in places quite muddy and other places very icy. My still bothersome foot is talking to me all the way but I figure it is good to do this to it but am wishing I had a good hiking pole as coming back down the steep trail might be a little hazardous on that foot on this steep trail. Surrounded by high peaks and granite faces it is a beautiful afternoon hike and no one is around to break up the solitude I am so enjoying.
The falls are still frozen solid and as that has been my afternoon goal I turn around and head back down the trail. I do decide to leave the trail for the drier side further to the north where the sun in the more open hillside has melted off the snow. It is pretty steep but with no ice my foot appreciates it a lot more and thanks me for the decision.
February 15, 2011
On the trip back to town it is always a treat to stop and get a look at the Ramshorn across the Wind River valley to the north. It is never a dissapointing view and never the same view twice.
The lake is frozen solid and near the edge are a number of magpies and Ravens that I notice who are working on a carcass of a deer out on the ice near the shore. I'm guessing the poor deer had gotten out on the ice and had fallen down and not being able to get back to its feet had slowly perished there. Such is the harshness of nature.
February 15, 2011
The sun is sinking lower and deer are everywhere. I see no bucks and am guessing that some of what I am looking at are bucks that have dropped their antlers.
Shadows are creeping northward out from the Wind River Mountains and make a great silhoutte of these deer profiled against the sunlit Absarokas
February 15, 2011
The Dubois Badlands are immersed in early evening light as I pass through them. Early mornings and early evenings are always a time of great showy displays. Light, texture and color. And it is always a free show.