Bison Quest Christmas Carols – Oh Come All Ye Faceful December 4, 2019
When it comes to tracks, mountain lions are just a cat. But bigger. December 7, 2013
As many of you know, I love snow tracking (ok, when one lives at 6000′ in the mountains of Montana, one better figure out ways to enjoy snow!). And while there are always tracks to follow in the snow, there’s something exciting about seeing big cat tracks just a few hours after they’ve been made here on the ranch. (Makes one look up at the trees and over one’s shoulder as well :). And these tracks were just perfect for seeing exactly what identifies these as cat tracks. Round and round. Round toes, round print, no claws. My little housecats have tracks that look just like these. Only lots, lots smaller. I’ll compare these to some canid tracks in the next blog.
#marmots, #bluebirds, #grouse and #chickadees. This is what my springs are made of.
I was supposed to be working on our ranch taxes. Yes, I know – I’m late. I’m always late with taxes. Extensions were made for people like me. All the same, I was diligently working on them first thing this morning. But when I went out to feed the livestock and let out the chickens, I got waylaid. The sun was shining, a warm southwest breeze was blowing, and I could hear flickers and chickadees and bluebirds and…. I grabbed my camera and mud boots (I said it was a beautiful day, I didn’t say it wasn’t mucky) and just started walking. I saw the first pasque flower of the year, and startled a flock of blue grouse. The yellow bellied marmots were out and whistling, the flickers were making their exotic calls, and the bluebirds were courting. I didn’t get home until lunchtime. This is what my springs are…
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Red Tailed Hawks are back and “nest repairing”. April 5, 2013
Because I love the fact that nature is cyclical, it’s fun to “recycle” nature blogs from about this time of year 3 years ago. In this case, the red tailed hawks are back (even the snow is predicted)!
Ok – despite the fact that we got another 4 inches of snow today (and we didn’t even get rid of all of that last one yet), the red tailed hawk pair is back. While feeding the buffs, one of them soared over my head carrying sticks to their nest at the east end of the ranch. The red tails have a couple of nests on the ranch that they alternate their use of (as do many raptors) and this year it looks like they’re going to use their “sidewinder” nest site (we don’t have sidewinders in Montana- the drainage is named for a narrow winding 4 wheel drive road with a steep drop off as it climbs the moutainside. Those of you who have been here undoubtedly remember it vividly. It’s an experience.). Actually, I’m cheating – the pics are from last year -if you look in the nest…
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And then comes the cautious coyote… February 21, 2013
While some critters come right in to the camera, others make really sure that it’s okay first. This series shows the cautious canid starting in, then going back out, coming in again and then going back out, over and over. It took two nights before he finally actually ate at the bones. Even then, he would eat, then back off, then carefully come back in. This is how a little 20 lb canid lives in a hostile world.
Enter the Ravens. Getting bigger. January 30, 2013
While the magpies are often the ones to find the goodies, the ravens are no slouches and are good at spotting food from above. And if they see a flock of magpies poring over something on the ground, then they know there’s food around.
Our annual yard mule deer fawn June 12, 2012
Every year we have a couple of mule deer does who choose to have, and keep, their fawns in our yard. Surrounded as we are by mountain lions, coyotes, bears and the occasional wolf, one can see why sticking as close to us humans as possible might be a great idea. This is one such lucky baby. Mom just took off to find something to eat and I watched her tell this little guy to go find a place to lay down. I was surprised to find how nonchalant he was (they had no idea I was watching them from the living room window) and how much time (about 10 minutes) it took for him to find somewhere he liked and settle in. I couldn’t resist so moved in for a closer look – and he pretended he was a fawn statue!
Feeding buffalo one-personed! April 28, 2012
Craig has been gone for a month working on tortoises in the desert and I’ve been minding the ranch on my own. In a phone conversation with a friend the other day, she commented, “I get how you feed bison when you have one person drive the truck while the other one throws hay out the back, but how do you do it when you’re by yourself?” Well, it goes something like this:
Moose morning – Spring comes to the high country May 11, 2011
Well, we waited long enough for it, but it’s finally here. Spring has come to our high country ranch. Yesterday was a coyote, flower and baby buffalo day while this morning I got to watch a moose head down the driveway to the house. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at the house – I was a half mile away taking my walk and just happened to be looking back at the house when a big black critter galloped across the hillside and down the driveway. Even at that distance, a moose is easy to recognize. They’re huge with a body about the size of a bison but with long legs and neck. Sort of like a long necked buffalo on stilts. The picture here isn’t of this moose – my moose this morning was a cow (just imagine this one without antlers). If only I’d stayed home and looked out the window!
Art is in the eye (or talent) of the beholder! December 12, 2010
One of our favorite sayings around here is that, “We have 7 months of visitors and 5 months of winter.” Indeed, when weather is warm and roads are accessible, we have waves of visitors. And that’s fine – taking care of guests in the gorgeous green summer months is easy. But we have to give special kudus to those who not only dare to visit us in the winter, but revel in the beauty, drama and contrasts that our severe winter months throw at us. One such intrepid traveler last winter was well known wildlife artist, Jay Johnson. On a tight schedule, he had no flexibility in the days he could visit and ended up here on two of the coldest, subzero days of the winter. Jay loves “playing with light” – that’s obvious if you look at his paintings – and it was so fascinating to see the difference in our photographs. We saw the same things he saw, but while my photos were “accurate and interesting”, Jay’s photos brought out the magic in a “buffalo winter”. Can’t wait to see what he does with it in a painting!