From Jackson Hole we explored th Grand Teton National Park for a couple of days, with a real hope of catching sight of more Black Bear and Moose, animals that had eluded us in Yellowstone.
We were often treated to flying displays by American White Pelicans who often kept immaculate formations.
We were tipped off by a local about a valley where we might catch a Great Grey Owl hunting as well as the possibility of finding a Moose. unfortunately we did not see the owl, but managed a rather rushed and blurry shot of the only kingfisher we saw on the whole trip:
At the same spot we also saw theseBlack Headed Grosbeak.
Still in search of Moose we found another Northern Flicker, in better light and conditions than previously. I do not know whether that is the female or a juvenile in the nest hole in the second picture - however, I didn't even notice the nest hole was there until editing the pictures today(-:).
This Ruby Crowned Kinglet behaved just like the Firecrest it resembles - it kept pinging about in a fir tree leading me a merry danceleaving me with lots of shots of blurred empty fir branches. It took pity on me in the end and hopped out into this more open tree just long enough for the one shot, and off it went again.
We then walked through an nature reserve which had a high concentration of butterflies as well as the unidentified bird at pics 3 & 4 and the waxwings.
Lazy squirrel - probably a juvenile
having left the reserve still in seasrch of Moose we came across one of these purpose built Osprey nesting sites, 30 feet from the main highway.
At last we found what we were searching for - a Moose: though we had heard we might see a female and calf, to see the female itself was a treat. We have no idea whethher there was calf nearby. No sooner had we got the first shot off the female settled down and its posible she had already settled her calf before we arrived on the scene.
Shortly afterwards we found another Beaver, who was busy demonstrating the dexterity that rodents have, using his front feet to gently roll this willow stick round as he stripped off the bark.
the following day, we were treated to a Bull Moose
followed 5 minutes later by the groip of 4 Grizzly Bears that we had seen earlier, though now in more open countryside.
From the deck at our lodging on the morning we left Jackson hole we saw anothe rpair of House Finches.
As we left Jackson Hole, we called at the village of Kelly and took some pictures of the cabins that were (according to local history) used during the filming of the 1953 movie "Shane" with Alan Ladd, Van Heflin, Jean Arthur and Jack Palance. I'm sure some of you areold enough to remember it(-:).
Flying overhead was another of those Osprey.
The next day and a half were spent mostly travelling as we had 450 miles to travel to get to the next destination we were spending a couple of nights at. On the way we saw the following - take a look at the antlers on this(-:)
In spite of motorcycles, quad bikes etc, they still do it the old fashioned way.
At Steamboat Springs we visited their local waterfall and Mrs Bob got this shot on her compact - top marks to her for that.
We also saw more Clark's Nutcracker, but this time a family group.
feed me mother please!!!
have not yet been able to identify this due to the poor quality pictures.
From Steamboat Springs we moved across to Rocky Mountain National Park via Trail ridge Road - at 12000 feet it is apparently the USAs highest paved road, travelling beyond the treeline. There to greet us was another Mounbtain Bluebird - even bluer in the sunshine!
If you recall the antlers on the Elk in Yellowstone - look at how much further thes antlers were.
Yellow Bellied Marmot
and Pika were on view and fighting in the sunshine
We stayed overnight in a Motel in Estes Park. Just as we were leaving in the morning, I noticed a chap appeared to be taking photaographs in the trees. After having a word with him he showed me the location of 2 Broad Tailed Humming Bird nests at different stages. One nest had quite large young that were quite active when being fed, flapping wings etc and probably close to fledging. In the other the eggs had only recently hatched.Naturally departure was delayed(-:).
From ther we drove down to a town called Cascade, not far from Colorado springs. we had 3 nights booked there and then we were due to travel to Denver for our last night before flying out. At this point of the holiday there were more touristy sightseeing things to do and I did much less birdwatching though we did catch a couple of extras. From the deck of our B&B I got an early morning (poor) shot of a Steller's Jay
and an unidentified bird.
On a visit to a local waterfall I managed to capture a western Tanager
On our last day we visited Denver Zoo - a place that I have always remebered from my early days watching Johny Morris on Animal Magic. Obviously I have many pictures from there which are not of wild animals and don't belong in this thread. However, these trees (and there were more) were full of wild Cormorants, so I thought they would act as my closing bird shots.
Unfortunately there is a much sadder end toi the holiday. I mentioned we had 3 nights stay planned at the B&B in Cascade. On the day of our last planned night there, we went on a trip some 80 miles south to Royal Gorge and Canon City. When we arrived back at the B&B at about 10:30pm we found that the whole village had been evacuated at lunchtime because of a forest fire - the Waldo canyon fire that has been reported lately on BBC news. we could see the fire on the hillsides and it looked very ominous. Our hosts had had the foresight to evacuate most of our belongings and though we had to find alternate accommodation for that night., it was as a result of their prompt action that we were able to return home as planned on the Monday. The latest we have heard is that they are still not back in their property, though we believe that their evacuation at the moment is more precautionary and that they have not suffered the kind of loss that has since occurred in nearby Colorado Springs. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, those that have already lost property, the families of the 2 deceased and also with those risking all to actually fight the fire.
A final summary is here:
USA Holiday Wildlife pics - Summary
Beautiful photos Bob, and wonderful sights. :) It looks like you had a great holiday despite the ending. I'm so sorry to hear about the village, I hope things only get better for them from here on in.
Well done Bob another cracking report and photos can't decide my favourite in this one..it's between the Hummingbirds and Waxwings.
I'm sorry to read about the village, and hope things get back to normal for them as soon as possible, and well done to your hosts for rescuing your belongings.
I just cannot believe how many wonderful animals you have seen. What a tremendous holiday. Your reports and excellent photos have kept me glued. Thank you for sharing it all with us.