Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake
Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Looking Back Over 2014: Memorable Animals

Since I work at National Wildlife Refuges, knowing at least some of the names and life histories of the animals on the refuge is mandatory.  But I probably work on the refuges because of the animals, so I spend a lot of time looking at them and being awed, amused and amazed by them, when working or not.

Okefenokee was all about the birds and alligators. There were a lot of waders on the refuge as well as lots of other birds, but there were few ducks.


Bathing hooded merganser


I never realized how beautiful anoles are until I took this closeup on the observation tower

Red-shouldered hawks were very common

Sometimes we had over 500 robins near the Visitor Center area

This blond racoon was often seen along the boardwalk

I don't often give yellow-rumped warblers much respect but they are pretty. 

American Tree Sparrow - love that sweet face


Baby alligators are really cute

Palm warblers were everywhere - I saw my first one here

I was at Okefenokee for the beginning of breeding season - here
a Carolina wren is singing his heart out

Bachman's sparrows are very hard to find until they start singing


I got my second snowy owl - this one in Florida


This was the rare Sherman's fox squirrel - I spent months trying to bag one


The pig frog - often heard but seldom seen

At Red Rock Lakes, one of the projects is to learn more about the Arctic grayling.  One of only two populations in the lower forty live here.  The refuge is working to restore more traditional habitat for them.


A beautiful fish I got to see when I  photographed the Fish Guys tagging these grayling fish. 


I got to see the breeding pelican's horn


Got a rare pose of a common bird at Elk Lake


A lot more antelope calves survived at Red Rock Lakes


Moma, last year's son and this years infant - taken past sunset and camera could not shoot fast enough

Carole showed me a lot of wonderful animals when I visited her in the Rocky Mountains.  A few of them I only saw here.


Pine Grosbeak



A pica, one of the species severely impacted by global warming

The National Bison Range was established to save the Bison.  Last year I got to see them in the rut but this year I got my first picture of them in Mission Creek looking like water buffalo.  And I was able to enjoy weeks of the elk rut.  In fact, the morning I left, I photographed a really tired elk walking towards  a little grove of trees next to the bunkhouse. 


Bison in Mission Creek


Some of the cows - and calves - of the most dominant bull elk

Top bull running off a challenger

A little lagniappe found on my search for fall color


An engaging beggar/robber responsible for dragging my jacket out of my car in Canyonlands NP

I'm thankful I get to spend so much time observing animals.

Merry Christmas.  Hope you get to help with one or more Christmas counts.