Monday, 6 April 2015

Sandhill Cranes, Sharptail Grouse, Red fox (20150403) A solo trip to the Ranch

It was supposed to be too nice a morning to sit at home, and since I had done the first walk of Spring on Thursday, I headed out on my own on Sunday. The sunrise was fabulous and day looked very promising. A quick trip over Sharpie Ridge netted me a group of Whitetails. Don't they make jumping a fence look effortless?
Then just up the road a bit were a pair of Mountain Bluebirds. As you can see from the snow on the branches and in the field on the previous shot, we had a little skiff of snow overnight.
Some Rough-legged Hawks filled in my time until I found this little beauty near an area where we have found them before.
I was able to spend a couple of minutes with this critter getting shots in a couple of different environments, then this Magpie showed up and did a little "photobomb". When you have the bird to compare to, these foxes are really quite small.
Next up were a group of Sharp-tailed Grouse feeding on the Aspen buds that have started to appear. I have added a short video here, I  have a couple of images below. While filming the Sharpies I could hear Sandhill Cranes and decided to investigate. I found the cranes and they were a looong way off. I set up the camera for a video. I did shoot a short video of them vocalizing, you can watch it here. I realize the birds look pretty small, as I stated earlier, they were a long way off. But then they flew toward me.
I screwed up royally as I didn't make adjustments after filming so I didn't have great settings for bird in flight shots. I did manage this image though that I am very happy with!
So, it was back up the hil to see if I could get better images of the Sharp-taileds as now the sun would be more behind me.
I eased my way along very slowly and was able to get right into the middle of the feeding birds. This was great for photo's but left no chance for me to get out and take any up close video.
I was even able to get this shot of two on one branch. It would be so nice if you could just get them to listen to you a little. I might be able to get them both looking at the camera:)
The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful. But, Hey I am NOT complaining. I finished the morning off with this Ruffed Grouse, which I sped on the side of the road. It "popped" up into this Aspen and amost totally disappeared.
After sitting quietly for about 5 minutes it too began to feed on the bounty being provided by the Aspens at this time of year.
I spent the rest of the morning doing PR work with one of the local ranchers to ensure my access to other lands in the area. What a TERRIFIC morning with some fabulous surprises! Here is hoping that you get to put a little "wild" in your life this week!

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