Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Madera Canyon Rare Birds

Since this is the slow season at our B&B, I've been getting out photographing as much as possible -- hence the lack of posts. Yet, because I've been out photographing there is much to post about.

I've made a couple of trips to Madera Canyon the past two weeks. So, before I get back to Yellowstone, here are a couple of rarities I photographed at Madera. Both of these birds are rare to the United States so a nice find. 

Whiskered Screech Owl

Whiskered Screech Owl

Plain Capped Starthroat with Broad Billed and Black Chinned Hummingbirds

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Noah's Coati

Just before my trip to Yellowstone, my grandson Noah and I stayed at Cave Creek Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains for two nights. Noah is 11. One morning, he wanted to sleep in and just rest from all the activities he's been involved with this summer. So I went out on my own looking for Coatis and Bears.

I returned to the cabin four hours later -- not having seen either a Bear or Coati -- and heard the following story from Noah:

"Granddaddy, I was sitting in a chair in the living room when I heard the screen door open and shut. I looked up and saw an animal trying to get in the cabin. He had a really long furry tail. (I knew right away what it was)."

So, Noah got up, used his notebook's camera, and took video of the Coati for the next couple of minutes.  The Coati continued to try to get in but then upon seeing Noah so close, ran up the tree right off the patio. Then Noah saw my iPhone on the kitchen table so took the following photos with my iPhone. When the Coati realized Noah just wanted photographs, he came down from the tree and wandered around in back of the cabin. More video for Noah.

He may be a Wildlife Photographer in the making:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park - Part V

On my first afternoon at Yellowstone (this trip) I came across a traffic jam. Guessing "bear" I pulled off the road immediately and started walking -- long before I saw a bear. Finally, a sow with two cubs. They were about 50 yards away, down an embankment. Trying to walk down the embankment to get closer was not a good idea (even if there weren't four Park Rangers there to escort you out of the Park). 

There are many bears in Yellowstone. Probably one of the very best places in the US for viewing bears. Because it is a National Park the bears live there in safety and are usually not threatened by people.  

My experience has been that roughly 1/2 the time you come across a bear in the wild (not Yellowstone), the bear runs away. About 1/4 of the time it walks away. In neither of those cases do I follow or track the bear. The bear has told me it doesn't want me around. I heard him. And I respect that. So that leaves 1/4 of the time for me to get a photograph as long as I don't "screw-up."

Yet, in Yellowstone, rarely does the bear run or even walk away. It continues to do exactly what it wanted.

At Yellowstone, bears are accustomed to people. A wildlife photographer who is used to and familiar with photographing bears could get safely closer than Park Rangers normally allow. However, that is just not a good idea. We need to set a good example. Because the last thing we need is to have someone unfamiliar with bear behavior get too close or do something that disturbs the bear and creates an "attack." Not good for bear or person.

Although a little further away than I would have liked, I did get a few nice photos:

Two Black Bear Cubs "Wrestling"

The Two Cubs Walking Toward Their Mom

The Mom Stands Up to Look Out Over the Field. Cubs Alongside Her.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park: Part IV

Late one morning during my Yellowstone trip I could see up ahead many cars jammed alongside the road. I could see lots of people as well. (It was at a bend in the road and I was able to see through the sparse number of trees as to what was happening). I could see that many people were running or walking fast back down the road in my direction. I guessed it was a bear and that the bear was coming in my direction. So, I parked off the road and waited. Sure enough the Cinnamon Black Bear came toward me and then up this pine tree in search of nuts. Because I was already in position I got some wonderful photos. Here's one of them:

Cinnamon Black Bear

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park: Part III

The third morning, again out before dawn, I came across this Black Bear among the sagebrush. This time I was the only one there. I stayed with the Bear taking photos for about 20 minutes and left -- still no one else there. I like this "hidden picture" photo best:

Black Bear

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park: Part II

Continuing with my trip to Yellowstone. On another morning I got up before dawn and headed out to an area where I had seen bears before. It was an area filled with wildflowers. When I arrived there was one other car. And low and behold a beautiful Black Bear was foraging through those wildflowers. I didn't stay long because there were other places I wanted to go before the crowds arrived. But I was there long enough to get this photo. What a lovely sight:

Black Bear among the Wildflowers

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park

Finding Bears at Yellowstone:

There are two ways of finding bears at Yellowstone National Park. Get up just before dawn and go looking for a bear ............  or get up later and go looking for a large crowd of people standing alongside a road.

After spending four nights in Yellowstone last week, I can attest that either way works. One morning I decided to get to the same spot I saw a sow with her two cubs the afternoon before. (I figured that a mother bear with cubs this age would stay within a couple square miles of their den).  As I approached this spot (there were two cars in front of me) I saw the sow and two cubs cross the road. 

I immediately pulled off the road, grabbed my camera, got out of my Jeep, and started taking photos. It was a wonderful experience as the bear cubs played happily in and among the trees. After about 30 minutes there were about 8 other people, all enjoying the "show." Eventually, the cubs went high up into a nearby tree, the mother followed and then they all settled in for a nap. It appeared that they would be there for awhile and by this time it was getting to be quite crowded with people, so I gave up my spot and moved on. Here are a few of those photos: