Eagle Fest

Blue Drift_IR.jpg

It’s that time of the year when the eagles are nesting, breeding generally in January / February.  Pinetop / Lakeside in Northern AZ hosts an Eagle Fest hosted by the Arizona Game and Fish for an educational experience to learn about the eagles, their habitat, behaviors, and a field trip to see the eagles ‘in action’.

FlightPlay_IR.jpg

Female bald eagles lay between 1 – 3 eggs, with only a 35 day incubation period.  The fledgling(s) only stays in the nest for 45 days before being kicked out to fend for itself.

eagleflight_IR.jpg

The juvenile bald eagles, or eaglets are born a light gray and turn brown in color.  It isn’t until they are 4 – 5 years old that the iconic white head and tail feathers appear.  Bald eagles can live to be 35 years old or more.

Juvi_IR.jpg

Our field trip was at Rainbow Lake, in Lakeside, AZ.  It was fascinating to watch all the waterfowl ‘walking on the water’ as the ice melted on the lake.

walkgonwater_IR.jpg

We watched mergansers catch fish and chase each other around to try to steal the fish from one another.

Merganser Chase_IR.jpg

That is… until the bald eagle got hungry and dive bombed the mergansers to make their catch their own.

Eagle Fly_IR.jpg

Just goes to show… the bigger bird gets the worm, er… fish.

Duckdance_IR.jpg

Advertisements

Snow Burn

_40A1727_IR.jpg

My sister tells me she enjoys my blog and hasn’t seen a post in awhile… so I guess I have been remise.  Hi, Karen 🙂

So we went out to our burn area behind our house to take some photos of the burn area in the recent snow fall.

_40A1528_IR.jpg

Our singed trees are loving the snow and the soaking water it yields.  While many trees won’t come back… some will.

_40A1548_IR-2.jpg

We’ve gotten probably 24″ since Christmas all together, so it has been very welcome precipitation for our forest.  The snow has slowly melted in, giving the ground it’s much needed moisture.  We’ll take all we can get.  Bring it on.. and bring more!

_40A1683_IR.jpg

_40A1632_IR.jpg

A Whoosh and a Tale

Dearner_IR.jpg

We got about 8 inches of snow out of this last storm.  I am loving the beautiful fresh fallen snow on the trees.. and this sweet deer taking it all in.

Then… in a Whoosh, 1/100th of a second later, to be exact.  From right behind the tree came quite a surprise to me… and this lucky deer.

MountainLion Leap_IR.jpg

OMG!  What the HECK was THAT?!?!

In a flash, this mountain lion thought he had dinner.   But in just a matter of minutes, he was back empty-pawed.

Mountain Lion Snow_IR.jpg

Dejected and hungry, he left the scene of the near miss, not to be seen again.

MtnLion_IR.jpg

The deer have since been back… but are a lot more cautious and alert.

AlertBuck_IR.jpgnewbucksno_IR.jpg

It was the first mountain lion I have EVER seen in the wild.  I felt so fortunate to get a shot of it.  As it was… I was looking through my viewfinder when it happened…. and it was over in less than a blink of an eye.  Life happens quickly, it pays to know your path and be prepared.

Buck Butt_IR.jpg

 

 

Bison are back

_40A3761_IR.jpgBison at North Rim, Grand Canyon

Back in the mid to late 1800’s over 60 million bison roamed the plains.  From North Dakota to Arizona herds were plentiful and prolific.

bison54_IR.jpgBison at Raymond Wilderness Area

Until they weren’t.  Hunters decimated much of the herds.  In fact, it was in large part ‘how the West was won’, as hunters kill Native American Indian’s food source.  With only some 23 bison left, concerned citizens the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and the Bronx Zoo, among others isolated the remaining bison to prohibit their extinction.

Bison Charge_IR.jpg

bisonbaby_IR.jpg

Today, bison are being re-introduced and bred under the watchful eye of Game and Fish Departments, National Wildlife Federation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and private organizations across the country.  Today’s bison are carefully monitored for disease and genealogy to assure healthy, robust, diverse herds.

Bisonfield_IR.jpg

It’s a real treat to see them grazing on the Plains and to appreciate and observe these large historic animals.

bison64 vert_IR.jpg bisonhorn_IR.jpg

For more bison pix, see my post here … https://kritterspix.com/2018/11/05/they-are-not-buffalo/

Ring Tale

We have explored the backroads of Arizona extensively.  Along our travels we have been fortunate enough to see all sorts of amazing scenery, and wonderful animal sightings.  I always feel blessed to have these great animals cross our paths at the same time they cross ours.  Some animals are common to see, elk and deer for instance.  Others, not so much, but we have seen… bobcat, turkey, and even bear.

_40A1734_IR.jpg

On a recent trip to Sedona we saw this elusive little critter practically under our feet.  We spot lighted him with our flashlight and caught a fleeting shot.  It’s a ringtail cat!

Apparently, it’s the Official State Mammal of Arizona (who knew?).  They have a fox-like face with pointed ears and a long distinctive tail.  The ringtail is part of the raccoon family… note, the familiar striped tail.  They live in a riparian habitat in the rocks near water, making Sedona a prime area (apparently).  They are noctural creatures, only coming out at night.  So, we were lucky to catch of glimpse of him.

_40A1718_IR.jpg

We had been taking night shots at an overlook in Sedona when he scurried across us, curious what we were he came back for a another quick look.  Funny how that happens.  Sometimes it is all about being in the right place at the right time.

See more Sedona pix…. https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/30/sedona-az/  and   https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/30/oak-creek-sedona-az/

Fall is in the air

knobbyupvert_IR.jpg

We went out to check on Fall Colors, but it’s still a little early for this neck of the woods.  Maybe next week will yield more color.

knobbyclos_IR.jpg

For now, we were happy to walk through the woods and take in the crisp air… as was this little squirrel we found.

fallsquirrelvert_IR.jpg

Winter is coming.  Storms are on the horizon, and we have already had our first snow.  We’ll take it.   Our burnt forest can certainly use a good soaking.

sunstreamstorm_IR.jpg

bursntsilo_IR.jpg

_40A6253-HDR_IR.jpg

We’ll make another trek next week to check on colors again.  It’s all good.

_40A6292_IR.jpg

mapleburstvert_IR.jpg

 

Tinder Aftermath

burnt needles_IR.jpg

Following the Tinder Fire that devastated our communities, I have been intent on capturing the many faces of the aftermath.  You can see my other post here….  https://kritterspix.com/category/pix/   

burnthill_IR.jpg

clrcrk corner_IR.jpg

In this endeavor I have been faced with the realities that are post-fire – the devastation, the soot, the destroyed vegetation and the re-birth of new vegetation.  What I somehow didn’t expect was the realization that my photos truly are capturing a moment in time that will only be that way for that instant… to never be the same again.

charcoal tinder_IR.jpg

I took this photo (above), I call Charcoal Tinder, just after the fire and we were finally allowed back in the forest.  This cool tree still has the roots attached, charcoaled that they may be.  It stands as a testament to the resilience of the forest, and the trauma that it saw with fire raging all around.  I flinch to think about it.

charcoalburst_IR.jpg

scaraface_IR.jpg

I took these two photos of the very same tree just a week later, I called it Scar Face, now.  It’s the same tree!  It’s roots have broken off and already disintegrated into the charred soot at it’s feet.  The cool branches that stood strong amidst the tragedy of that day… are now gone.  It is already fading back into the earth from where it came.

burntridge2_IR.jpg

It saddens me to realize that what is left now… may not be for long.  Our forest will continue to change.  Trees will fall, leaves will drop, plain sticks and hulks of trees will become more prevalent… until nothing but a heaping pile of remnants remain.  Whoa!  That’s too vivid… but that’s what it looks like on the Mogollon Rim, years after wildfire devastated it’s beautiful landscape leaving nothing but fallen tinder in it’s wake all these years later.

burst vert reflect_IR.jpg

reflection burst_IR.jpg

I remain extremely appreciative and thankful that it wasn’t worse, and that we still have our home to return to, where so many don’t.  We look over a scarred ridge that serves as a reminder of what came so close… and I look toward the green trees amongst the brown ones and smile at their tenacity and strength.

tinderlit_IR.jpg

sky siloette_IR.jpg

skyfire vert21_IR.jpg