Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ever Wary

A mother red fox warily watches me while her kit feeds on the carcass of a cottontail.

We have often caught fleeting glimpses of foxes in the residential area.  Usually it was just a flash of orange out of the corner of our eye.  Last night Steve was delighted to come across an entire family feeding near some pipes at a construction site.  He was, as it often happens, without a camera so he called me and told me to be waiting when he got home. 

The light was already fading but it was easy to spot the mother fox against the snow.  3 kits, their fur still dark, played near by.  The mother instinctively moved off to a safe distance but kept an anxious eye on us as the youngsters continued to frolic, unconcerned by our presence or the clicking of my camera.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the pictures were grainy due to the low light and and subsequent slow shutter speed.  I was also forced to shoot through the holes of a chain link fence.  Determined not to waste such a precious encounter despite the limitations, I lightened the picture up a bit and softened the edges to give it a painted effect.  Hopefully I'll be able to catch the foxes out playing in the morning or afternoon when the sun is out and the lighting offers a better opportunity for decent shots.


Friday, April 13, 2007


A bull elk rests after a long morning of bugling and sparring with other bulls.  Apparently he was victorious as a dozen or so cow elk grazed contently nearby.

* Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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This picture was originally posted in a test journal which was a trial attempt to update this photo blog.  It didn't come out the way I had hoped (individual pages have an archieve column which throws off the setting of the photos and drops them to the bottom of the page), but I really REALLY liked the photos on the black back ground.  Enter global photo community aminus3. I have been posting there since the end of March on my site "Colorado At The Speed Of Life".  I invite you to take a peek there.  You'll see some of my old favorites, and maybe a few new ones as well.  I shall still keep this blog going because this is my home, my family and friend, but I really enjoy the interaction with the new global photo community.  Check out the Community link while you're there.  Photographers can feature a new photograph every day and some are just out of this world!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hawk vs. Snake

Here are some more pictures from my encounter with the hawk and snake the other day (this one's for you justplainbill).  I didn't take any pictures of their escape because my husband and I were busy 'mediating' at the time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

STALE MATE (edited 4/13/07)

Steve called me at home to come and witness the aftermath of a real life and death battle.  When I arrived at the scene, this is what I saw.  A red tail hawk had gone hunting and obviously underestimated the size and strength of its intended prey.  The large bull snake wasn't about to go without a fight.  Although it was badly wounded, the snake managed to wind itself around the hawk's tail and wing, pinning it to the ground.  Stale mate!

Our presence proved to be a greater threat to the animals and the snake loosened its grip on the snake and went on the defense towards me.  Eventually they untangled themselves (?), their eyes and body language indicating that they were more concerned about us than they were of their opponent which they were just in a death struggle with. 

The hawk shook out its ruffled feathers, and took a defensive stance, feathers fluffed out and wings thrown back, but when I didn't make any threatening movement, it hopped up into the air and with a flap of its powerful wings it flew off.  Although it had the hawk in an obvious death grip, the snake suffered greater injuries from the hawk's talons and beak.  It hissed at me but also seemed to realize that I meant no harm and it slithered off slowly and painfully to find a safe place to rest.

As a rule I try not to interfere with nature, but after looking both creatures in the eyes and seeing the fierce desire to live in both of them, I am glad that I showed up when I did.  It would have been a sad shame to see both of these magnificent creatures perish in a battle that neither would win.  To be honest, I half expected the hawk to come back and scoop up the injured snake, but I guess it was just happy to be alive and free at that point that its hunger was forgotten.