Category Archives: RMNP & Estes Park Wildlife

2 Herds Of Big Horn Sheep Together In Estes Park

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There are 2 herds of Big Horn Sheep that come down from the mountains this time of year to eat the grasses and lick the salt off of the roads. One has 11 sheep and the other has 14 sheep. We can tell them apart from their markings. We were driving down Fall River Road the other day and there they were, both herds together on the side of the road.  It was pretty cool! We even saw one that was pretty small. A lot of cars had stopped to take pictures and they were getting a little itchy so we didn’t get too many pictures. But it was fun just to see them all together!

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There’s Snow Up On Trail Ridge Road In Rocky Mountain National Park

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With the forecast for rain and possible snow next week, Phil and I thought we’d take a drive up on Trail Ridge Road to see what it looked like from the snow last Monday. You never know, it might our last trip up there until spring!

There was a  good amount of snow along side the road as you go up higher. Longs Peak and those other peaks nearby had some snow but Mt. Ida and the peaks on the western side of the parks really got hammered. It was really pretty and looked very wintry.

We drove all the way over to Grand Lake to see the views and hoping to see a moose! A couple of cars stopped on the side of the road on the way back and we thought, “There’s our moose!” It turned out to be a 7-pointer and very beautiful but not a moose! I guess we’re spoiled because we see bull elk all of the time around our house.

It’ll be interesting to see what the weather brings in the next few days. Last year Trail Ridge Road never re-opened after Oct. 9th, which is very early. But then again we had a lot of snow very early last year! Trail Ridge Road usually closes somewhere around the third or fourth week of October or the first week of November…all depending on the weather up top…and doesn’t open up again until Memorial Day weekend!

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Wild Turkeys In Estes Park…

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When I walk home from town, I usually make a few detours on the way. I love the walk up Old Man Mountain Road and then on to Fall River Lane. It is so pretty and it feels like you are in the woods. Lately when I pass this certain house, there are about 15 wild turkeys milling about. They are eating and strutting all over the place. A couple of years ago, they would hang out near our house so we are familiar with them. They intriguing part is that there is one “blonde” turkey and all the rest are dark. I was able to get a picture of the blonde one and 2 others as they ran up the hill when they saw me coming. He’s very interesting, don’t you think?

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The Rut In Rocky Mountain National Park Is Still Going On…

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This time of year is when the Bull Elks “bugle” their rights to as many cows (female elks) that they can muster. Many win the battle and end up with a gathering of between 20-50 cows. Here is a picture of a Bull Elk quite satisfied with his harem and living on the posh Estes Park Golf Course. Once the rut is over, the Bull Elks will leave and spend their winter with other Bull Elks while  the cows will spend the winter together. The rut always brings thousands of visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park to see this incredible display of  courtship.

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The Bull Elk Are Magnificent Animals In Estes Park And RMNP

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The Bull Elk are magnificnet creatures this time of year as they strut their stuff, hoping to get a large harem of cows. I took this photograph as one was walking past my bedroom window in search of a lost cow. He stopped and looked around and then went charging on, bugling away!

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This Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel Was Posing For Photographs In Rocky Mountain National Park!

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On one of my recent hikes I saw this couple taking pictures of something on the side of the trail. They were taking their time and getting some good photographs. As I got closer I realized that it was a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel who was sitting on the rock.

The couple left so I got my camera out and starting taking some pictures. This little guy stood there, posing for me. He’d look one way and then the other and then straight at me. Then he’d sit down and look at me. He was such a funny little guy. I got a few good shots of him.

The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel is often mistaken for a Chipmunk. The Chipmunk is much smaller and has alternating dark and light stripes on his face, whereas the Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel does not have any stripes on its face.

This guy looks like he is getting ready for winter. He looked a bit chubby!

 

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Mama Moose And Baby Moose At Cub Lake In RMNP

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Phil and I were hiking one of our favorite trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, Cub Lake Trail, on Monday. It was a gorgeous day…sunny and highs in the lower 80s. Certainly not typical for the end of September in the mountains. We were loving it!

About a mile down the trail we saw a couple stopped along the way looking out across the pond. There was a Mama Moose and her little baby. They were just adorable! We stayed and watched for about 20 minutes while they ate the willows. We’ve been talking about getting a new camera  with a bigger zoom for quite a while, but just haven’t done it yet. This would’ve been a perfect opportunity to use it! The moose were just a little too far away to get  a great shot.

The moose went off into the woods and we continued up the trail to Cub Lake. When we got to the lake, I took the lower trail and Phil took the higher one. It was so beautiful I decided to step out into the dried out marsh to get a good picture of the lake. All of a sudden someone was yelling at me, “Turn around, Ma’am!” I quickly turned and there as Mama Moose and her baby about 100 feet away and they were moving.

I ran to the side of the lake and started clicking away on my camera. Mama Moose and her baby sauntered into the lake where they ate and drank for about a half an hour. There were quite a few of us spectators who were just loving it! I took over 100 pictures right there. It was just so cool to see them so close and at Cub Lake. After a while they swam to the far shore where we could see them eating.

What a great day! The weather was picture-perfect and then to see a Mama Moose and her baby twice on the trail, it was just unbelievable!

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The Marmots Are So Cute On Fall River Lane in Estes Park

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I was walking to town yesterday via Fall River Lane and was daydreaming and enjoying the day when all of a sudden I noticed something brown and furry to my left. I quickly looked over and there sat Mr. Marmot on the rock, just checking me out. I got out my camera while he just watched me snapping away. He never moved. They are just too cute!

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The Elk Rut And Bugling Has Begun In Estes Park!

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Phil  and I were treated to quite a show last night in our front yard! A Bull Elk and about 10 cows and 2-3 babies had been hanging around the “neighborhood” for a couple of hours, enjoying the grass and just relaxing. Our front yard abuts Rocky Mountain National Park, so the elk were up and down the mountain and within easy viewing.

All  of a sudden one of the cows and her baby decided to bolt away. The Bull Elk took off after them and right through our yard. He came within 3 feet of our front door. You could see the baby trying to keep up with mom but she was too fast. The Bull Elk was now between the mom and baby and the baby was crying away! Mom kept going down the mountain.

The Bull Elk was bugeling away and kept running after her until they were out of sight. We could still hear the baby crying a little ways away. About 20 minutes later, the Bull Elk came back  up our road and was walking along the wall outside our driveway. He didn’t look too happy. This is when I took this photograph.

The Bull Elk went back to his “harem” and they stayed up on the mountain till dark. I don’t know what happened to the cow or the baby…whether they joined them again or took off on their own. We didn;’t hear the baby after a while so we figured it had reunited with its mom.

What a sight! To see this 800 pound Bull Elk charging past our bedroom window. It was incredible! They are such magnificent creatures! And this time of year is so exciting!

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Lots Of Black Bears In Estes Park Recently!

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We have seen so many black bears recently in Estes Park. The first photograph is of a bear in a tree in downtown Estes Park. (I have a pretty good zoom on my camera.)

The second photograph is of a mama and baby bear walking across our road at dusk the other evening.

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Have you ever seen a bear?

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