Tag Archives: Elk

~Nature

~October, 2017, Grand Canyon, South Rim

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, along with Mount Everest in Nepal, Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Northern Lights, Paricutin Volcano in Mexico and Harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Canyon attracts 4.5 million visitors from all over the world annually.

The Grand Canyon is home to 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles and five species of amphibians.

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Grand Canyon, South Rim, as we walk east.

Howard and I walked about five to six miles each day while visiting the Grand Canyon. We preferred the east end of the South Rim Trail. The longer we walked the trail, the fewer people we encountered. The terrain was different going east in that it was more forested.  I loved this area. A perfect environment for birds and wildlife.

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Taken in an area east of Mather Point.

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You can’t imagine my delight when I downloaded the photo below. I haven’t seen this bird in years. It is a Red Crossbill. If you zoom in on the photo take a look at its bill.

Red Crossbill
Red Crossbill

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Elk (looks like a first year)
Elk (looks like a first year)

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Junco, Gray-headed
Junco, Gray-headed

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Howard and I were walking along the South Rim Trail near the El Tower Hotel and spotted this Green-tailed Towhee looking for food – scratch, scratch, scratch! They are beautiful and fun to watch.

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Green-tailed Towhee

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One evening we were walking the trails around the RV park. There were lots of Western Bluebirds in the area. In fact, I tried to get a photo of them drinking from a faucet, but someone walked by and they flew. This Western Bluebird, in the photo below flew before I could manually focus on her, but I like the photo.

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Western Bluebird

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Ravens:

I never get bored watching these intelligent birds.  I truly believe this Raven was mimicking a barking dog. I heard a dog barking for several minutes before I heard the Raven. I remember thinking, “what in the heck is making that noise”.

Singning
Barking? Note the wedge-shaped tail. This is how you can ID the Raven.

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He looks happy with himself!

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This Raven was sitting high up in a tree and “talking” away. I saw a young girl, about 11 years old with her phone, trying to get a photo of him. She was shooting into the sun and through a lot of branches. I walked over to the tree and called her to some stand where I was standing. I was happy to see her excitement in seeing this bird. I hope her photos came out okay!

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Soaring
Soaring

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There are approximately 200 species of trees and shrubs in Grand Canyon National Park. Most of these are found in the higher elevations of the park, on the South and North rims. Some of the tree species include the white fir, Engleman spruce, blue spruce, Douglas fir, corkbark fir, ponderosa pine, Utah juniper, alligator juniper, Colorado pinyon, quaking aspen, Fremont cottonwood, Gambel oak, and Arizona walnut.

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Birds I observed at the Grand Canyon, South Rim. I was very surprised at the number of birds there were in the area.

`Northern Flicker Red-shafted

`Hairy Woodpecker

`Scrub Jay

`Pinyon Jay

`Stellar’s Jay

`Common Raven

`Mountain Chickadee

`White-breasted Nuthatch

`Red-breasted Nuthatch

`Pygmy Nuthatch

`Western Bluebird

`American Robin

`Green-tailed Towhee

`Spotted Towhee

`Juncos

`White-crowned Sparrow

`Red Crossbill

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Howard had a fun time taking panoramic photos with his iPhone.

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Howard checking out his panoramic photos!
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This header photo is one of Howard’s gorgeous panoramic photos!

~Taking the time to enjoy nature~

 

~Water

~Grand Canyon, October, 2017

Water – I guess it seems like a strange subject to post about the Grand Canyon, but it is one I am still reflecting on.

After arriving and setting up camp, in The Trailer Village RV Park at the Grand Canyon, Howard and I noticed the birds, elk and deer hunting for water.

Not knowing anything about water resources within this national park, other than the fact the Colorado River flows through the canyon, after awhile I was complaining to Howard, “Why can’t the park service at least have a small pond for the birds to drink out of?”. Yeah, I beautiful pond with a water fall. Perfect!

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During our 4 night visit, I watched several species of birds trying to get a drip of water from the water faucets at the RV sites. Their size didn’t matter, from the smallest — Pygmy, White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches, to the largest — Jays and Ravens, with every size in between. They expended a tremendous amount of energy for a few drops of water.

Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches
Nuthatches

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Notice a drip at the faucet and a drip at the end of the bill.

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Red-brested Nuthatch

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One day Howard and I were sitting in the coach and noticed a small crowd gathering near us. “What are all these people looking at”, I asked Howard. I went outside and saw an Elk at an RV that had just pulled in. I man and his wife were in the process of setting up camp; connecting their electric and water.

Water was dripping from a compartment on the RV. They were quite upset with this young Elk when it began drinking from the open hatch. I heard the wife say, “How are we going to get rid of him?”. It was funny and sad at the same time.

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A very thirsty Elk.

This Elk wouldn’t leave the RV. The site between us and this RV was empty, so I ran over there and turned on the water faucet. The Elk heard the water running and eventually went to drink from it.

It must have liked the water from the RV better, because after awhile it went back to the RV. By this time the situation wasn’t amusing anymore to the owners of the RV, because the man retrieved a broom and tried to chase it away. The Elk was very persistent, but non-aggressive.

One evening after dark we came back to the RV Village from walking along the rim and watched a small herd of deer doing the something.

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One day as we were walking along the rim of the canyon we noticed this sign. I guess I’am not the only one feeling sympathy for these animals.

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“Please DO NOT turn on the water faucet for the Elk!”

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Another day we came upon these Elk drinking water from this “ditch”. I don’t know if this is what they call a water “seepage” or not.

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Grand Canyon Stream Train in the background.

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Where do wildlife get water?

Here is a web-site I found, one of hundreds probably, on water sources in the Grand Canyon.

Spring-Types

Seeps and springs – the true local water of Grand Canyon – offer significant resources to visitors and wildlife alike. The water from Roaring Springs, for example, provides the park with its entire domestic water supply. And at even the smallest seeps, abundant plant and animal life grows and flourishes. In fact, the ecosystems of seeps and springs represent some of the most complicated, diverse, productive, provocative, and threatened ecosystems on earth.

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The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico (the other being the Rio Grande). The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains in the U.S., the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the ArizonaNevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.

Known for its dramatic canyons, whitewater rapids, and eleven U.S. National Parks, the Colorado River system is a vital source of water for 40 million people in southwestern North America.[6] The river and its tributaries are controlled by an extensive system of dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts, which in most years divert its entire flow for agricultural irrigation and domestic water supply.[7][8] Its large flow and steep gradient are used for generating hydroelectric power, and its major dams regulate peaking power demands in much of the Intermountain West. Intensive water consumption has dried up the lower 100 miles (160 km) of the river, which has rarely reached the sea since the 1960s.[7][9][10]    (taken from wikipedia

 

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Gray-headed Junco, sitting on top of a water faucet.

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Water in the Grand Canyon, not easily found, not easily explained.

 

Poetry: “Old Man Resting”

Old man resting,

in a field of spring’s new growth,

tired from the season.

Strength builds,

antlers grow,

peaceful are his days.

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Rocky Mountain Elk
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A sad looking fellow!
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“You would be sad looking as well, if you had the winter I have had.”

In a few weeks this Elk will be strong, sleek and handsome. What a gorgeous velvety rack he is growing!

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Something got this one’s attention.
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A scene from Rocky Mountain National Park, June 2016

 

 

~Photo Essay-A Day in Rocky Mountain National Park

A Sunday spent in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Valley looks and feels peaceful.
The Valley looks and feels peaceful after a busy tourist season

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A late autumn scene
A late autumn scene
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A beautiful sight as you drive up toward Estes Park
The green grasses of summer have turned golden.
The green grasses of summer have turned golden
A Photographer trying to capture this serene scene.
A Photographer trying to capture this serene scene.

I have more photos to share with you tomorrow. Until then enjoy your day.

Trying to talk me into a morsel.
Trying to talk me into a morsel.
"No food, no more photos for you."
“No food, no more photos for you.”

~My Sleepy Elk and his friends

Here are photos of three of the four Elk we spotted while driving toward Estes Park. These guys were lounging around in someone’s front yard. Perhaps full and lazy after a fine meal.

The Sleepy Guy
The Sleepy Guy

They were laying behind this fence on the grass and I didn’t want to get too close and bother them.

The Sleepy Guy and his friends
The Sleepy Guy and his friends
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The Alert One
“Okay, you’re had your fun, now go away.”

These young Bull Elk are still sporting some of their winter coat, which will be replaced with shiny, smooth hair.

If you would like to read more about Elk visit this web site called Elk Facts. Below are a few Antler Facts taken from this web-site:

Antlers
  • Only male elk have antlers
  • Bulls shed and grow a new set of antlers every year
  • New antlers are covered in fuzzy skin called velvet
  • Antlers harden by late summer and the velvet peels away
  • By September, antlers are solid bone
  • A set of antlers on a mature bull can weigh up to 40 pounds
 Featured photo: Meet another friend.
A little tease on an upcoming post.
A little tease on an upcoming post.