Just hangin’ out

27 02 2023

Do you see what I see?

This big group of elk was on the southeast shoulder of Filly Peak in the western part of Spring Creek Basin.

Winter is the season of elk in Disappointment Valley, where we have less snow and the livin’ is easy (or relatively so). 🙂

Speed racers

8 01 2023

That’s not a race you’re gonna win, ponies. 🙂

I rolled up to see a couple of bands grazing below the road just moments before the little resident herd of pronghorns (there are about 20 or so hanging out together and very visible in Spring Creek Basin lately) made *their* presence known (to me, at least). But as the pronghorn bucks and does started moving up the hill toward the horses, high spirits in both species kicked in, and all I had to do was aim and hold down the shutter button!

Pronghorns are fascinating mammals – the fastest in North America. While they are numerous in many parts of the West, they’re NOT so numerous in western Colorado, and because of that, they’re not hunted here. Seeing a group of 20 is a cool sighting of a fairly big group (most of the rest of the year, they’re in much smaller groups). Also very fun to see: pronghorns racing along with the mustangs!

Pretty soon, I think curiosity took over on the part of the horses (or they *knew* they weren’t going to win any races!), and they stopped to watch as the pronghorns sped past.

If you’ve never seen pronghorns on the run, you’re really missing out. Even at what for them, I imagine, is a relaxed pace, they’re fast. And seeming effortless!

Each group eventually disappeared from my sight … but pretty soon the horses appeared again, coming toward my area of the hill as they grazed. When I walked out a bit, I saw the pronghorns, settled down in a group, napping and grazing. This human was feeling the peace. 🙂

Peace in the valley

19 11 2022


Peace in the evening

15 11 2022

Three days down, four days to go.


19 09 2022

Thinking about that handsome neighbor next door … 🙂

Gettin’ along, goin’ along

9 08 2022

Temple and some pals watch a pronghorn buck following his little group of does and fawns up on the western edge of Spring Creek Basin amid glowing 4 o’clock.

Lizard, all-knowing

4 08 2022

Why do they always look so grumpy … or like they know things you wish you did, if only you could imagine them?

All in the family

17 07 2022

When I first saw the pronghorns as I was heading out of Spring Creek Basin, post-sunset under clouds (before I got my camera yanked out of my backpack and brought to bear at eye level and before this photo), I thought the doe shepherding three littles ahead of her had triplet fawns.

Then I realized that there was at least another doe with the group (in addition to the buck I also initially saw).

But I do think at least two of the little critters were twins.

Not sure he’s daddy, but he *was* protective of his little family.

Another beautiful end to another beautiful day in Spring Creek Basin, Disappointment Valley, Western Slope, Colorado, America, planet Earth. 🙂 (And as if this weren’t enough, two bands of mustangs were very nearby.)

We have water!

8 07 2022

When we get enough rain to fill roadside ditches (which is infrequent to rarely occurring), the frogs/toads start singing! I’ll be the first to admit that I know *nothing* about frogs and/or toads, including how to tell which is which. I think these probably are toads. …

Ah, scratch that. Now I think they might be a variety of “spadefoot” (is that a toad or a frog? apparently, it’s something else altogether). One of the characteristics is “a vertical pupil like a snake, while toads have horizontal pupils.” Very clearly, the critters I saw have very vertical pupils, though the pix I saw showed them rather round (!). Also, “their skin is much smoother and has very few or no warts.” And “their back feet have bony, sharp spades that are used for burrowing into soil, sand, or loose gravel.” I couldn’t see their feet very well – they were in a nice bit of water that must have seemed extravagant to them – but surely they ought to be able to burrow into something during the (mostly) dry times that we (mostly) have? This is the website where I found the above information, and I think they might be Mexican spadefoot.

These two were feeling amorous. 🙂

Those eyes!!

It’s pretty nice to have water around again. 🙂

Fat little grandfather

23 06 2022

This may have been the healthiest horny toad I’ve ever seen. S/he’s a big granddaddy/mama; I think his/her body would almost have filled the palm of my hand.

Look at that belly! And that tongue!

This is a wonderful Navajo legend about the relationship between the Diné and horned lizards.

This link talks about the symbolism of horned lizards. According to the site, “Na’ashǫ́’ii dich’ízhii (horned toad) is called Cheii (Grandfather) by the Diné (Navajo). Grandfather Horned Toad possesses great spiritual power that enabled him to triumph in a contest with lightning, an incredibly powerful force. The Diné use his songs and prayer for protection from the dangers of the world and the evil intentions of other people.”

And we can all use songs and prayers for protection from the dangers of the world and the evil intentions of other people, eh? 🙂 I didn’t have even a sprinkle of corn pollen or any other offering, but I did endeavor to protect the critter from stout hooves as s/he scuttled between sagebrush.

Who couldn’t love that face!?