Snow Shelter

Animals shelter when the temperature drops and the snow flys. They hunker down and protect themselves from the elements and predators seeking food sources.

So when the storm is over, we go out searching for critters coming out of hiding to gather food.

I always laugh as we bundle up to be the first ones out in the fresh fallen snow looking for animals. It seems like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but we are more lucky than not, and often find a number of wildlife, and even manage to get their picture (though not always).

… and luck is the apropos sentiment, as we leave our home and debate, ‘which direction should we go today’?

I admit to being very fortunate when we go out, but we also go out a lot, are prepared for what we might encounter, and tenacious enough to keep trying even if we aren’t successful the first time. They say, fortune favors the bold, in our case it favors the tenacious photographer.

See Places with New Eyes

Sun rises over Carnero Lake as witnessed by patch of daisies.

It’s amazing how many times you can go to a place, and how it changes from time to time.

We went back to Carnero Lake hoping to catch osprey fishing, but there were none to be had. Considering the amount of rain we had, we were amazed to see how low the lake actually was. It was barely photogenic. Changing our view looking through the forest toward the lake at sunrise, yielded an entirely new view.

Juvenile robin hangs out in a wooded forest.
Squirrel checks out next pine tree to hunt

All we saw (in terms of animals) was a juvenile robin and a squirrel collecting pinecones for the winter.

It’s just a reminder to turn around 360 degrees to take in your surroundings, and actually SEE what different vantage points can present themselves if you take the time to take it in.

Big Horn Lounging

I do enjoy it when we see animals. We encountered these big horn sheep enjoying a grass field lying in the shade and munching away.

It was almost as if they were talking to one another, laughing and telling stories, while others just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

Most of the ones in this herd were males, or rams, with only a few female ewes. The boys demonstrated their dominance by locking horns, but seemed more affectionate than fierce.

While I tried to keep my distance, they didn’t seem to mind that I was there and got closer to me than even I was comfortable. I took every advantage of their presence.

Schnebly Hill Vista

We love to explore the back roads and take in the fabulous views we find along the way. We have traveled the Schnebly Hill Road on numerous occasions over the years.

Schnebly Hill road

The 12-mile road cuts between Flagstaff and Sedona. If one didn’t know better, they might think it a short cut. In reality, all the wind and lack of rain has continuously deteriorated the road.

Sunrise at Schnebly Hill Vista

You may know the road – it’s that really rough road the Pink Jeep Tours drives through out of Sedona. The bumpy road from Sedona to Schnebly Vista traverses over rugged rock shelf terrain. It takes around an hour to go just 6 miles, dependent on how much one wants to beat up your lifted truck or Jeep. It is not suited for passenger cars.

Little mouse collecting food

We even caught this industrious little mouse foraging through a cactus. It’s wonderful the things you see if you get out there. You can see more of my mouse pix here … https://kritterspaw.com/2021/06/11/industrious-mouse/

Sedona city lights from Schnebly Hill Vista

We were delighted to have some clouds for some beautiful sunsets and sunrise.

Little Horn Sheep

It’s not very often we see big horn sheep. But this past week we went out to take pix of the snow and ran into a herd of big horn sheep, including 7 babies. Woohoo!

I can probably count how many times I have seen big horn sheep on 1 hand. They are one of the less common big animal encounters. We were lucky enough to not only see big horn sheep, but babies… and in snow on top of that. It was like a 3-fer.

It made my day, if not my year! I was very happy to have a positive jolt of goodness in what has been a difficult time for us personally. You take joy where you can get it.

I guess we need to get out more!

Best of 2020 – Animals

I like to review my year’s photos to consolidate the best of the year.

I posted my Best of 2020 – Landscape photos here… https://kritterspaw.com/2021/01/12/best-of-2020-landscape/. Now it’s time to review my animal pix. It was a good year for animals, as we saw a lot of different types.

Big Horn Sheep

We were lucky enough to see this beautiful herd of big horn sheep as we left Alstrom Point. We saw the herd in the distance, so drove ahead of them, and I walked out behind a rock to see if I could sneak up on them. I’m not sure who was more surprised when we saw each other as I crotched down from behind a ridge – me or them. It was a fantastic moment.

Coyote

Admittedly, I am not a big fan of coyote. They are scavengers and corral & hunt my precious deer and elk. So I’m just as happy not to see any. But I did this year, and got a decent photo that makes the cut.

Kit Fox

We don’t see many fox, so I was thrilled when we saw this pup this year. So cool!

Deer Fawn

All babies are cute, especially the 4 legged animal variety!

Javelina

Speaking of babies… it was super cute to get so see this affectionate family of javelina with new born babe.

Elk baby

And elk baby, or calf.

Elk bull

The next best thing to new animals (at least for us), or baby animals, are those big boys… elk bulls

Deer Buck

and bucks…

The cuter and better expression, the better!

Chipmunk

I got a ton of chipmunk pix this year, they were just too darn cute.

Deer Doe and fawn

And finally, pretty much any animal in the snow. Just wish we had more of it!

The Bucks Have It

While I love when we see any animals, the most coveted are the most unique and least often seen. Big animals, boys (bucks and bulls), and babies bring the most attention due to their illusiveness.

Aside from that, gestures and action, garner more interest, like this floppy eared buck.

I try to capture their personality and individualism in their environment to share.

These animals are here and gone, so it’s important to me to make their moment shine. I keep telling ’em, smile pretty for the camera – sometimes they actually listen.

Hopi Chipmunk

During our last visit to Carnero Lake (kritterspaw.com/2020/08/16/carnero-lake/), we encountered some playful chipmunks.

I watched them for hours as they got used to me being there, as I inched closer and closer to them.

Once they got comfortable with me being there, I watched them run around and play, chase each other around the rocks and through the forest.

It’s amazing what you can get if you sit still long enough and exercise a little patience.

I think there’s a lesson there.

Babe in the Woods

The babies are back!

Our elk baby sightings have been fleeting since the Tinder Fire hit us two years ago now…. that is, until now.

I was so excited to see a herd of elk momma’s with babies in tow. Seeing their tired and beat up bodies, I wondered that their absence wasn’t so much the fire, as predators. One elk baby had a gash across her back that was bigger than she was. It’s amazing she survived whatever attacked her.

Watching their interactions and cute newness, was a real joy.

I hope they’ll be back, and bring their babies with. I can never get enough of these precious animals… they just make my heart feel good.