A year wouldn’t be complete without my wildlife photos that I strive so hard to capture. This year has been especially unique with some terrific ‘up-close-and-personal’ shots of a wide variety of wildlife, including bison, antelope, and big horn sheep. Picking the top shots is the hard part… what an awesome problem to have. : )
1. Antelope Greens Peak Loop near Show Low
2. Blue Heron Carneros Lake
3. Big Horn Sheep Greer, AZ
4. Mule Deer Grand Canyon South Rim
5. Mule Deer Grand Canyon North Rim
6. Bison Raymond Wilderness Area
7. Great White Egrets Happy Jack, AZ
8. Baby White Tail Deer Fawn Happy Jack, AZ
9. Bull Elk Happy Jack, AZ
10. Pygmy Owl Happy Jack, AZ
I did a Best of…. back in 2016. Not sure what happened in 2017, but thought I’d provide a couple series of Best of’s for this years photos to share.
1. Tinder Fire Of course, the most memorable (and terrifying) event of the year was the fire that stormed up our hill on April 29, 2018. We were fortunate enough to be spared… many weren’t so lucky.
2. Post Fire The post fire made for some surreal photos and devastating landscape, which I’m happy to report is starting to come back.
3. Renewal Trips to the Mogollon Rim brought new light, old growth, and peaceful respites.
4. Sublime Point The North Rim Sublime Point offered an awesome vantage point for nature’s wonder.
5. Bright Angel Point The popular Bright Angel Point along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon makes for magical scenery.
6. Maple Blanket An early October snowfall chased the fall colors off the trees creating a blank of fall color on the new fallen snow.
7. Sedona Fall Oak Creek Canyon burst with yellows and reds along the serene creek.
8. SnowMelt Snow melt creates run off among the woods of Mogollon Rim.
9. Ruins Doors This magical place overlooks the valley below as it has for centuries, seemingly untouched.
10. Ram Release While this is more an animal highlight than a photographic one… it was a special moment for us this year, to be a part of re-locating big horn sheep to their natural habitat only a few miles from us.
For more Best of 2018 check out post ….kritterspaw.com/2018/12/27/more-best-of-2018/
I remember when I used to visit my husband’s folks in Morman Lake, AZ. They would be all excited to share ‘their’ elk with us. With a binoculars in hand, if you squinted real hard, you could see the little dots of elk crossing in front of the fire house, about 1/4 mile away.
John’s mom still remembers fondly how close they got to see the elk. I laugh.
If she had any idea of how close we see the elk today!
Every once in a while you get the opportunity to be a part of something truly special. That’s how we felt this week when we got the chance to witness (and photograph) the release of 30 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep into their historic habitat along Leonard Canyon.
An amazing helicopter pilot with one eye on the sky, hands on his controls, and one eye on his precious cargo, lifted crates of bighorn sheep that had been collected from another habitat in Morenci.
By moving this selected grouping of rams, ewes, and lambs, the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep can become diverse across Arizona assuring their continued growth and health.
Not only is Leonard Canyon / East Clear Creek a historic habitat for the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, but ironically, our recent Tinder Fire makes for ideal conditions.
In the aftermath of our Tinder Fire, vegetation continues to grow back, which is full of nutrients for the wildlife that will return to our area for the new growth.
Hopefully these bighorn sheep will make Leonard Canyon and the surrounding area their new home, and thrive and flourish in their new environment.
I was delighted and honored to be part of such a tremendous and joyous event, where many hard working, caring people worked hard to bring these bighorn sheep back ‘home’. It was a beautiful thing to witness the many professionals who brought this all together through their hard work, dedication, and expertise. My sincerest thanks go out to AZGFD for allowing us to be part of this special treat.
You can read AZGFD’s news release here …. https://www.azgfd.com/bighorn-sheep-restored-to-historic-habitat-near-tucson-payson/
You know you are retired when you start doing Bison Workshops for fun! The first thing I learned, is they are not actually Buffalo… all American ‘buffalo’ are actually Bison.
There are two herds being re-introduced into Arizona that are direct descendants of original bison that roamed the plains in the 1800’s before their virtual extinction. One is in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is a growing herd. The other is managed by the AZGFD at Raymond Wilderness Area outside of Flagstaff.
We learned how to identify the boys from the girls. Beside the obvious, the boys have a more thick curly fur on their foreheads, and their horns curl in.
We were told that these big guys were a relatively young herd, and none more than 3 years old. I can only imagine them when they ‘grow up’.
We got this amazing opportunity to literally see them up close and personal… and it was a real thrill…. one that I would do again in a heartbeat.
Thanks to Mike and Deanna for joining us on this fun adventure.
For more bison pix, see my post… https://kritterspaw.com/2018/11/10/bison-are-back/
It’s fall in Northern AZ. With all the snow (all 10″ between 2 storms) and wind we have had, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground on the Rim… so time to explore fall colors in other parts.
Sedona along Oak Creek makes for a fine diversion. The aspens were in full yellows and the ferns varying shades of reddish brown. It was the kind of scenery that gives you pause as it takes your breath away.
The cascading waters just added to it’s peaceful serenity. It’s hard to beat scenery like this. Arizona is truly a magical place.
One that we are fortunate enough to call home.
I thought I had seen it all… at least most of the animals there were to see. (Though I still have never seen that elusive mountain lion.) The other day we even got the opportunity to see a Ringtail Cat. Which was super cool. I didn’t get a photo, alas… they are nocturnal. I felt fortunate enough just to see this odd little weasel-like creature with a raccoon-ish big stripped tail bigger than his body. (You can see a photo of him here… https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/30/ring-tale/). But I digress.
The other day, we were outside and this ‘swarm’ of white birds was circling overhead. They settled in the tree in our front yard! Moreover, they stayed!
I’m guessing they were migrating from here to there… where ever the here and there are. But in transit, they needed a rest, and found a good spot right here! Wow!
I can tell you, I got little else done that day!!!
So, they appear to be Great White Egrets… while they are ‘common’ birds…. they certainly aren’t common in our front yard here in the mountains. So I was delighted to have them find rest at our home.
They were here… then they were gone.
I was happy to entertain them… or moreover, have them provide my entertainment, albeit for a short respite.