Wildlife Sightings

People ask me, ‘where do you go to get your animal pictures?’

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It’s actually not an easy question to answer, as there is no straight forward answer.

I can tell you that ZERO of my wildlife photos are taken in a wildlife park or zoo.  They are 100% taken in the wild.  As all things wild, they are unpredictable.

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Many wildlife photographers get a lot of their photos through their livelihood, as biologists or working in nature conservatory for AZ Game & Fish or Forest Service preserving an animal’s habitat.  These sorts of jobs help the photographer, often early in their career, to learn the habitat and tendencies of their subject.

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I have not had that advantage.  I have had to learn the hard way on my own.  While, I have stumbled across various animal habitats, like the pair of great horned owls at Whitewater Draw, that’s the exception more than the rule.

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Sometimes it’s easy to go to where you know there will be animals, like Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, where the sandhill cranes flock to every November / December.

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But for me, that’s more the exception than the rule.  Sometimes, I get animal shots in my own yard.

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Often, though, it’s a matter of getting out there.  You have to look, to see.  We make frequent trips to the rim, leaving early morning when it’s still dark out, to get to the rim at first light when the animals are still moving around.

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Besides the rim, we go out on photography trips just in search of that great landscape or animal shot.  Knowing that antelope can be found in the plains, or that there is a herd of big horn sheep that frequents the Greer area, can be helpful.

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Other than that, one just has to get out there.  You don’t find animals sitting on the couch eating bon bon’s, unless you’re watching the National Geographic channel. Ha! : )

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In any case, luck favors the prepared.

Just this week, we were wandering around the woods (as we often find ourselves), actually looking for water where there was none.  We found lots of dry holes instead of Lakes, but we did encounter well over 1000 sheep crossing the road.  That’s not something you see every day – or ever before!

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Sometimes, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

 

 

 

A trip to the Rim

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Life gets busy, but we should never be so busy that we don’t take time out to frequent our favorite spots and do the things that rock our individual boats … and for us that includes the Mogollon Rim.

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We actually got snow, sleet, hail, and rain during our short trip, which made for awesome scenery and elk wondering what we were doing there.

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It made me wonder what took us so long… oh, there was that project, and that chore, and that meeting, plus that snow storm, the roads were closed… well, okay.

Always find time to smell the roses, or in our case fresh forest air.

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SNOW!!!

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We set a record for snow this week!  Single day snow of 35″.  That brings our estimated total this year (since Jan 1) to 90″!  We are LOVING it.  Particularly, after our recent fire, we can sure use the precipitation.  Wooohoo.

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It snowed an inch an hour for from 8am Thurs to 8am Fri.. and then some.  It was a sight to see… and very happy we were here to see it.

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Snowy faces all around!

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Check out more pix here….. https://kritterspix.com/2019/02/23/snow-elk/

 

 

A Whoosh and a Tale

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Grand Canyon North Rim

 

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It’s true that the South Rim is closer than the North Rim… by a bunch!  But, give me the North Rim any day.  The views are better, and the crowds less (that by itself is reason enough).

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We enjoyed the many overlooks and stunning views along the way.

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The aspen leaves were turning and the fall colors were stunning.  The roads and the hillsides were covered with their golden hue.

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You can see more of my Grand Canyon photos here… https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/05/grand-canyon-north-rim-bright-angel-point/  and here … https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/05/grand-canyon-north-rim-point-sublime/

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Hutch Mountain

 

hutch lo far_IR.jpgHutch Mountain Lookout tower is one of many throughout Arizona.  It is on the National  Historic Lookout Registry.  It was built in 1936, and still serves as a manned major viewpoint for fires in the Flagstaff area.  Located off of FR3 (Lake Mary Road) at Milepost 310, not too far down a couple good dirt roads.

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The day we were there there were 9 fires in the area, all started by dry lightening, including the Tank Fire.  The Tank Fire was in the very same area as the Tinder Fire which devastated our neighborhoods just a month before.  As an eery reminder of those terrifying days, our neighboring subdivisions CCP 1&2 were issued pre-evacuation notices.  Fortunately, the fire was quickly doused and completely contained.

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From the top of the tower you could see the Chinooks flying on the horizon dumping water of the fire.

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The surrounding landscape is full of Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, elk and deer.

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At 8535 feet elevation the days are cool, and nights brisk.  Climbing the tower offers a vantage point across northern AZ.

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Buck Personality

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The more I study the animals, the more I am convinced that they each have their own personality.  The males of the species are much more spooky, while the females are more docile.

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We caught this nice little buck enjoying the day after a recent snow storm.  He was soaking up the snow looking for food and water.

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He seemed very content, and not in a hurry to get anywhere…. and I was happy to watch him and take it in.