Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trapped Wolf in Alaska
Here is a link to a photo of a trapped wolf in Alaska. Anyone who would treat any animal like this needs to be jailed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dinosaur Egg? - Southern Utah

I found this strange item embedded in a coarse sandstone boulder along with two others. This one and one other had been broken open sometime in the past millions of years. The sandstone boulder it is in seemed to be an erratic. That is it didn't match the red sandstone it was sitting on. It appeared to be part of a deposit left by a flood as there were other strange rocks around the area that didn't seem to match the red sandstone either.
The round structure at the end looks a lot like a yolk.
Anyone out there that knows what this is?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Desert Bighorn Rams Fighting - Zion National Park, Utah

These two rams have just impacted during a fight. The shock of the impact has knocked hair up into the air off of the back of the ram on the right. The impact has thrown the back legs of both rams up off of the ground and driven the ram on the left toward the ground.. The skulls of bighorn rams are thick and filled with air spaces to protect their brains from damage
These rams were knocking heads frequently all one afternoon, but were often just out of sight over the ridge they are on. The sound of the collisions could be heard for  close to a mile in the quiet desert air.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dinosaur Tracks near Saint George, Utah

I went to a Dinosaur Museum in St. George that had lots of tracks on display. I thought to myself "I could find some of those." I am camped about 15 miles north of St. George and so I went looking. I found a slab of ancient greenish rock and there were quite a few tracks on it. This trail had six tracks about 3 1/2 feet apart. There are 4 of the tracks in this photo. I will report my find to the BLM office in St. George on Monday and see if it is important or not.
This area was once  the shore of an ancient fresh water lake where the dinosaurs hunted each other and caught fish to eat as well. These tracks were obviously put down in thick sticky mud and were not perfectly clear, but it was fun to find them by just going out and looking. Just 3 toes on each foot were visible and they don't look big enough to be a T-Rex. You can use my rock hammer to compare for size.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great Blue Heron With Catfish - Donnelly, Idaho

Here is a photo I took this summer a short distance from where I live. This Great Blue Heron is trying to figure out how to avoid the spines on this Bullhead Catfish it has speared in order to swallow it. If you enlarge this photo by clicking on it, you can see the heron's sharp bill has completely penetrated the catfish and is sticking out the other side.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Desert Bighorns - Zion National Park, Utah

I have a tendency to concentrate on taking photos of the big rams, but the rocks and natural beauty of Zion along with these bighorn ewes and young ram made for a pretty picture. There are so many different rock types and formations in Zion that it is hard to take a bad photo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ram - Zion National Park, Utah

I took this photo two days ago and just had time to process it. This is the largest ram I have seen in Zion since I came here two weeks ago.
If this ram lives for another four or five years and his horns keep growing, he will be VERY impressive.

Desert Ram Jumping Up Cliff - Zion National Park, Utah

This big ram is starting his jump to the next level as he climbs a cliff in Zion National Park. Bighorns are like  combination Gymnast/Rock Climbers. You can see the corded muscles in both front and back legs as he makes his move.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fighting Bighorns - Zion National Park, Utah

The ram on the left is about to deliver what he hopes is a crushing blow to the ram on the right. The rams are like Karate fighters and will turn their horns to strike with the sharp edge of their horns just as they make contact. These rams were very evenly matched and fought off and on all afternoon. The ram on the right caught the blow with his horns and suffered no damage.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Big Boys - Desert Bighorn Rams - Zion National Park

I finally found some! These are the largest desert bighorn rams I have found so far. The light was harsh and too bright, but it was great to see these two rams. I got several shots of them fighting later and will post them over the next few days. I will be looking for them again tomorrow morning.

"Hi Dad" - Desert Bighorn Lamb and Ram - Zion National Park, Utah

This lamb has come up to stand by a mature ram who may or not be its' father.  Rams join the family groups of ewes and lambs in early winter during the rut. The rams usually stay with other rams in herds by themselves for most of the year, although that is not a hard and fast rule.
This ram has broken off the tip of his right horn during a battle with another ram.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pretty Boy - Desert Bighorn - Zion National Park, Utah

The desert bighorn ram in this group looks so pretty that he resembles a stuffed toy. He doesn't show much wear and tear from fighting other rams. I took this photo last week and have been looking for this ram to get a closeup photo of him ever since. I will look again today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ewe Scratching Her Ear - Zion National Park, Utah

The same flexible toes that allow this Desert Bighorn Ewe to grip the rock cliffs she traverses everyday, work well to hold her ear and scratch both sides at the same time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ram - Zion National Park, Utah

This ram is displaying his horns to some ewes he is following. Bighorns have a number of visual displays they use to communicate to each other. The outside of his horn is keratin, just like our fingernails. It is naturally a dull white in color. The horn gets its' golden brown color from the ram butting and rubbing his head against trees and getting sap, tree bark and dirt on the horns. The horn has a bone core on the inside.
I like bighorn sheep. They are easy to see and approach. They generally live in spectacular mountainous country, which is an added bonus when photographing them..
They are very susceptible to diseases carried by domestic sheep and often suffer large die offs when they come in contact with their domestic cousins. I would like to see domestic sheep banned from grazing on all public lands.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ewe - Zion National Park, Utah

This Desert Bighorn Ewe shows off her agiilty as she jumps from one rock to another. Bighorns are vey good at traveling in rough rocky country. They make moves like this one seem routine.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ram At Sunset - Zion National Park, Utah

I took this photo just a few hours ago as the sun was setting over Zion National Park. The sunlight was no longer shining in the canyon where this ram was posing, but there was enough warm light reflecting  around to give this shot a nice pastel effect.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mule Deer Caught In Fence - Carmel Junction, Utah

This is one of the saddest scenes I have confronted as a photographer. This mule deer fawn has caught its' foot in a barbed wire fence it attempted to jump. The animal was still alive when I found it today, while driving east of Zion National Park, a few miles west of Carmel Junction, Utah..
The wire had cut completely to the bone all around the foot. I attempted to cut the wire with some small pliers I had, but I couldn't cut the heavy wire.
 I drove to Carmel Junction and asked a cashier in the store to call the authorities and she called dispatch and they contacted a deputy sheriff to meet me at the scene. When the  deputy arrived an hour later, we agreed that the best thing to do was to put the deer out of its' misery and shoot it. The deputy shot the deer and I left.
Deer often misjudge how high to lift their hind legs when jumping wire fences and the foot gets caught under the top wire and above the next wire. There is no escape from this. A slow painful death always results from being caught this way. There was a dead fawn caught in the fence the same way, less than a hundred yards from this live one.
This fence was in place to keep privately owned cattle, which were grazing on Government BLM land, from getting onto the highway. My solution would be to ban private cattle and other livestock from ALL PUBLIC LANDS and remove these horrible wildlife killing fences.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ram - Zion National Park, Utah

I went out looking for a larger ram than I photographed yesterday and I found one. I had to shoot into the sun and a little downhill, but I did find a bigger ram. This ram has broken off some of his right horn. He would be more impressive if it hadn't been broken. He has a scar on his nose from previous battles with other rams.
Now tomorrow, I hope to find an even larger ram.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Desert Bighorn Ram - Zion National Park, Utah

I found four groups of Desert Bighorns today. This was a young ram in the second group that I photographed . I have been told that much larger rams have been sighted in the past week, so I will be looking for them.
Many Desert Bighorn rams show the flared horns that this young ram has. Rocky mountain bighorns have a tighter curl and heavier horns.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Abused Radio-Collared Bison - Yellowstone National Park

This radio-collared Yellowstone Bison is having a hard time feeding itself. Her hindquarters have become so emaciated and wasted that she had a difficult time getting up or lying down. I suspect that she became infected where the capture dart fired by Yellowstone researchers, when they radio-collared her, injured her in the thigh. The  tight radio-collar was restricting her attempts to swallow her food.
Every animal darted suffers some injury and some get infected and die.  This cow bison will soon join those who die.
I took this photo a few weeks ago in Yellowstone. When I visit, I see rangers constantly harassing photographers and other visitors when they get too close to park animals. What they need to do is arrest the people (park employed researchers) that treat Yellowstone's animals this way. I have never seen a photographer or visitor treat an animal like this bison has been treated. It is the research idiots that do this in park after park across the United States.