Yellowstone Wildlife

Yellowstone is known as much for its wildlife as its great geologic features. North America’s apex predators, the wolf, grizzly bear and the mountain lion all roam Yellowstone’s wild lands along side the bison, elk, moose, deer and other prey species. Sadly, many of the species we had hoped to see didn’t show and a few were too far away to get a good picture. But we did see some and what we saw was amazing.

In this post, you’ll see the pica, a relative of the rabbit that lives in higher altitude rock fields. You’ll see the pronghorn which is related to but is not an antelope and the mountain goat which is not a goat but, an antelope. Finally, the American Dipper; the only North American song bird that feeds underwater in stream beds.

The Swainson’s hawks we taken not far outside of Idaho Falls, ID on the last leg of our journey to Yellowstone.

I hope you enjoy these images.

Regards,

Larry

Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution image.

 

Note: These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

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A Day at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Commonly known as the Okefenokee Swamp, it is located near Folkston, GA – near the Georgia-Florida border. Though most people consider it a swamp, it is really a peat bog. A bog is a wetland underlain with peat, dead plant material that forms a woody, brown, fibrous blanket. Most of us know it from the peat moss we buy in garden stores. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife that live among the forest of balled cypress trees covered with Spanish Moss and the prairie, a tannin rich pond whose dark brown water is covered by water lilies and other plants.
The Okefenokee is not fed by any river or stream. It is a natural basin that is filled by rainfall on the pond and runoff from the surrounding terrain. Though it is only fed by rainwater, the pond maintains an average depth of 2 – 2 ½ feet of water. Twenty Five percent of its water drains to the Atlantic Ocean via the St Mary’s River. The remaining 75% drains to the Gulf of Mexico via the Suwanee River of “Way Down Upon the Suwanee River” fame.
During the late 1800’s it was heavily logged for its rot resistant cypress wood. The main canal through the swamp was an attempt to drain the bog to the east for purposes of transporting lumber. The canal was dug by hand but was not completed because it wasn’t deemed possible to dig through the natural berm on the east side of the basin.
Native Americans occupied the area surrounding the swamp between 500AD and 1840 when the Seminole tribe was driven off. There is record of Spanish settlement between 1625 and 1640. In 1937, the federal government purchased the Okefenokee and created the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge. The facilities were first developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1937 and 1941.

Note: Click on caption to see image at larger size and higher resolution.

 

 

Note: These and other images are available for purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

The Turkey Vulture

Almost every day I see a kettle of Turkey Vultures soaring in search of food. One spot, where I walk up a half mile, 5% grade, there are always a few perched on a tower at the top. I hope you enjoy the images of these stately creatures with their odd looking heads.

Regards

 

Larry

Note: Click on captions to see images in larger size and higher resolution.

These and other images are available for purchase at www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

Cooper’s Hawk

We have an active backyard. Several species of birds frequent our feeder and the ground beneath. My wife is always chasing squirrels from the feeder. This afternoon, we had an unexpected visitor – a Cooper’s Hawk. He was very gracious. He hung around for about 15 minutes and allowed me to photograph him. Interesting though, no birds came to the feeder, no squirrels came around. Not a tweet could be heard; not even from the baby starling that has been crying all week. It took about an hour after the hawk left for backyard life to resume.

Regards,

 

Larry

Note: Click on caption to see larger, higher resolution image.

Note: This and other images are available to purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Some Interesting Wildlife Sightings

Last week, we made a visit to Cowans Gap State Park in central Pennsylvania. We were fortunate to get two rare and interesting wildlife sightings.

The first sighting was a grey catbird dancing around at the base of a tree. We watched for a few minutes, perplexed by what it was doing. When I got my camera and tripod set-up, I noticed a northern black racer snake curled up in the bush near the bird. As we watched, we learned that the catbird’s elaborate dance, coupled with pecking the snake’s head was really an attempt to chase the snake away. Though we didn’t see the bird’s nest, we surmised it was nearby. It was really fun to watch this activity live rather than a scene in a TV documentary.

The second sighting was of a very large porcupine. It was the first time I have seen a porcupine in the wild.

I hope you enjoy these images.

Regards,

Larry

Note: To see images in larger size and higher resolution, click on the caption.

 

Note: These and other images are available to purchase by visiting my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

Green Heron

This week, I was blessed to be able to observe and photograph a green heron for 10 minutes. I see green herons from time to time but only one other time did I see one long enough to take a photo and one shot was all he gave me. This colorful bird is much smaller than its more familiar cousin, the Great Blue Heron. Why it is called the green heron, I do not know. I only see gray, blue, chestnut red and yellow. Regardless, they are beautiful. I hope you enjoy these images.

Regards,

Larry.

Note: Click on caption to see image at larger size and greater resolution

Note: These and other images are available to purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

Images of A Few Birds

Here are some images of birds I took over the past few weeks.

Note: Click on image caption to see image in larger size.

Thought magpies are common in many areas, the Yellow Billed Magpie is found only in Sacramento, CA and surrounding areas.

These and other images are available to purchase at http://www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.