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
We finally got a little snow…. not much, but enough to have the animals hunker down and get out of the wind and snow. This little pygmy owl sat and gazed at the snow and watched it come in. Any time we see some of the more ‘exotic’ and rare animals, we are thrilled… and this pygmy owl was no exception.
I put this photo on my kritterspaw.com site, but it bears repeating.
We saw what we thought was a little bird, huddled up on a branch. It seemed roundish, as it shivered and squatted itself all together during our snow storm. Then it turned and looked at me. I couldn’t believe it. It had that unmistakable face… it was an owl. It wasn’t much bigger than a sparrow… maybe 4 – 5″ tall.
How cool is that!
Apparently it’s a Pygmy Owl. To be specific, a Northern Pygmy Owl. The most common one I could find (in AZ) is from southern AZ (Tucson area). It has been on and off the endangered species list, with only 28 sightings in 2014…. none noted to be in Northern AZ. It’s no wonder really… they are so small.
The pygmy owl eats insects, lizards, rodents, and small birds as large as itself.
I’d love for it to come back, but it may be a once in a life time sighting. I’m so happy we saw it… and got a decent photo!