Friday, December 17, 2010

HOOFED MAMMALS: Mountain Goat Stories-II

The search for Mountain Goats requires some research and prior planning. First, they are only found in North America and were historically only in the Cascade and Rocky Mountain Ranges in the lower 48. Populations have been introduced into the Olympic Mountains in Washington, and in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado with moderate success. But those populations are fairly small. As a general rule Mountain Goats stay above the tree line but will migrate to lower elevations at times during the year. When above the tree line it becomes problematic to get close enough for a good photo. I thought I would show you some of those challenges today. All of these photos were taken with a 400 mm super telephoto lens. First, is at Grays Peak in Colorado. You can barely see an adult Mountain Goat with a kid right on the skyline. In the lower part of the photo you can see three other Mountain Goats:

In the next photo, taken at Torrey Mountain, Colorado you can see six Mountain Goats foraging on vegetation in the middle of the photo. 

In the next photo taken in Yellowstone, you almost have to trust me. There is a single Mountain Goat in the very center of the photo. The larger "white" spots are snow. 

Okay, maybe you can't see it. I'll zoom in closer. I left the patch of snow in so you could get the Mountain Goat's position better:

The next photo is a herd of maybe 10-15 foraging on a grassy shelf. The photo is from Mount Coleman in Alberta.

My intent in showing these photos is not just to tell the story of how difficult it can be finding certain animals, but also getting close enough once you do find them to get a good photo. 

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