Tag 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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I Never Get Sick Of The Big Horn Sheep…

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When the Big Horn Sheep are on their way back up the mountain after a day’s grazing of our (and our neighbor’s) grasses and plants, they usually walk right by our bedroom window. Of course I grabbed my camera and starting shooting away. This ram just stood there like a sentinel, watching his flock with one eye and watching me with his other eye. They are just so beautiful and amazing to see them only a couple of  feet away.

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

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harem

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 Guy Was Just Adorable!

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I happened to look out the window yesterday and saw the Big Horn Sheep coming down the mountainside right by our house. There were about 10 of them. I got my camera, ran downstairs and happened to catch them outside our guestroom window, eating  the grass in the back of our house. This guy was about 2 feet away and so cute. He just kept looking up at me. I kept shooting away through the window, but I think I got a pretty good one. Isn’t he just adorable?

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The Big Horn Sheep Are Back!

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We’ve been waiting for the Big Horn Sheep to come down from the mountains for a few weeks. When the snow becomes too deep for them to find food, they come down to lower elevations. Each year about this time we await their arrival. With the deep snow last weekend, we thought it was about time for them. I walked out of the house yesterday to go in to town and there were about 10 Big Horn Sheep walking down our road, feasting on the grasses sticking up from the snow. They’ll stay around the houses for a while during the day and then go onto the hill for a rest  in the afternoon and then back up higher for the night. Yesterday was the first that we’ve seen them this year. They are so beautiful! What a treat that we look forward to every year.

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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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