Saturday, September 25, 2021

Mount Evans, July 2021: Everything That Wasn't Mountain Goats

After a one-year, COVID-inspired hiatus, this summer saw a long overdue return to Colorado.  In fact, the entire family came this time for a week in the cooler Rocky Mountain air.

A reunion with the mountain goats on Mount Evans was definitely on the schedule.  And as usual, there were plenty of other beautiful things to see that morning.

Mountain Bluebird, Mount Evans
Bird on a fencepost is a no-brainer for me.  Any time I see one, I will take its picture.  This Mountain Bluebird was no exception.

Sunrise, Mount Evans
As devastating as summer wildfires are, the smoke they produce does add something beautiful to a sunrise.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot, Mount Evans
I have unpredictable interactions with Yellow-Bellied Marmots.  Sometimes they scurry off at my approach.  Other times they sit contentedly as if they couldn't care less about me.  On those occasions, I get the luxury of waiting for them to do something silly, like bite their own tongue.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot, Mount Evans
Or give a meerkat pose.

Bighorn Sheep, Mount Evans
This young Bighorn Sheep seemed to quite enjoy my attention, seemingly asking if I was getting his good side.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot, Mount Evans
On this day, I was pleasantly surprised to get more of the "sit still" variety of marmot than the "scurry away" sort.

Bighorn Sheep, Mount Evans
Portrait of the Bighorn as a Young Ram.

White-tailed Ptarmigan, Mount Evans
I tipped another photographer to a group of mountain goats who were just out of sight from the road.  To return the favor, she pointed me to a small group of White-tailed Ptarmigan.  Despite her clear direction I still had a devil of a time finding them.  Their camouflage is no joke.

White-tailed Ptarmigan, Mount Evans
Once I did find my first, I eventually picked out a total of nine.  The males would sometimes make calls.

White-tailed Ptarmigan, Mount Evans
The females were quieter, but tended to move around a bit more.

White-tailed Ptarmigan, Mount Evans
The fowl seemed quite content, and I didn't want to do anything to change that.  So I only spent a short time shooting them, and kept a respectful distance away.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot, Mount Evans
As the morning warmed, the marmots seemed intent in absorbing some of that warmth directly off the asphalt of the road.  And looking a bit languid in the process.

If I hadn't seen a single mountain goat, these shots would have made the morning rewarding enough.  But I did, in fact, see mountain goats.  And you will, too, in my next post!