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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hiding and Peeking with Shyla

My Shyla still hides sometimes. When we meet people or dogs who she doesn't trust, she literally vanishes. She's very good at doing it without anyone noticing. People who don't know me are not aware that I have a dog with me.

If I look around really hard, I sometimes catch a glimpse of her peeking out from behind a tree...

... or behind a boulder. I don't tell the scary people that she's there because I feel like I'd be giving away Shyla's secret strategy. It would scare her if everyone turned and looked at her.

Then, after the scary people and their dogs have left, I call her. She bursts out to sprint to me.
I am so happy that Shyla trusts me so much, and she's learned strategies to deal with the scary parts of life. I am, however, sometimes wistful, just wishing that the world wasn't at all scary to her.

No matter what, I've got her back.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fox in a Bear Den with Sow and Cubs

Almost exactly two years ago, a red fox went halfway into a bear den that contained a sow and two tiny cubs.

This was the arrival of the red fox at the den. The den entrance is triangular in the far right of the photo.

Then, the fox started to go in!

This was the furthest into the den that he ever was. You can see his tail and butt - and that's all. The cave is not huge so I'm guessing that he was face to face with the sow.

I was terrified that the fox would back out of the den with a cub in his mouth but he didn't. He backed away and then stood stock still, thinking. Soon thereafter, he departed.
Of course, I don't know what happened inside the den because there was no cam in there. However, based on the observations of others, I'm betting that the sow literally lay on top of her cubs so the fox would have to go through her to get to them.

Thank goodness that they both survived the fox's visit. Here's a photo of the family from later in the spring of 2016. Seeing the love of the sow for her cubs is breath-taking.

I have the fox's visit in a video. You can watch the video here or at Youtube.
I don't know where the cubs ended up. The black one was a male so he should have left our area by now looking for a home range of his own. The brown one was a female so she likely claimed a fringe area of her mother's range as her own. My trail cams haven't seen her but she could easily be living outside the area where I have cams.

Because sows have cubs every two years, this sow should be escorting cubs around our area this spring!

Happy Wildlife Monday!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog is the one dog who Shyla trusts so much. He's earned it with his loyalty and kind soul.
We all love our Black Dog!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Glowing in the Sunrise

When we find a patch of snow on the ground at sunrise, I love to see if I can get a good backlit photo of Shyla kicking up her heels.

Because she is such a dynamic dog, she surprises me with her leaps and enthusiasm!

Go, Shyla, go! 
Photography is really the only artistic thing that I've ever loved doing in my life. It is such a challenge and so rewarding, especially with a dog like Shyla as my model.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Funny - Sleepy Sunrise with Shyla

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, sunrise is creeping earlier and earlier. I still try to get out for it with Shyla on occasion. A recent outing started out well, with Shyla looking perky and happy.

But then she began to crash with sleepiness (I felt the same way). Eye lids and head drooping.

Drooping more...

Then she gave up and took a nap. I joined her.
When there's not snow, the forest floor can be soft enough for a wonderful nap!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thankful Thursday - A Hint of Color on a Gray Day

Some days in the Rockies are not bluebird days. Clouds descend and color the world in a drab light.

Every once in a while on a gray day, the sun will momentarily burn through the clouds. That happened while I rode with Shyla one day recently. She hopped up on a boulder, and it was fun to see her silhouette with the sun directly behind her.
It almost looked colorful. That was enough to elicit a smile from me on a gray day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Winter had better not be over yet!

Seeing the frost that Shyla jumped through inspired me

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Accidental Photo

That photo is the best one that I've ever taken entirely by accident. Shyla and I were just about to do a nosework search. When I saw it on my phone, it took a long few moments for me to have a clue when and where it was.

What have been your best accidental photos?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bold Lions out in Daylight

Mountain lions are cruising our forest frequently and boldly. Unlike usual, they've even been nearby during the day.

At a mountain lion marking site where big males have left deep scrapes in the ground, a young mountain lion stopped to sniff. First, she sniffed the ground.

Then, she sniffed the air. Soon, she was back to air scenting with her long lithe neck craned to get her nose as high as possible. The wind was wildly whooshing out of the west, and she clearly smelled something. In fact, it might have been Shyla and me. We were generally upwind of her at about that time.

Then, she bore a hole in the camera with a stare.
Two things make me think that she's young and a female. First, you can faintly see her kitten spots under her fur. They are more obvious in the video. As for being a female, I am basing that on the fact that she did not mark this spot. I think that a male would have.

It was so cool to watch her bound away in a kittenish way. I have *never* seen an adult mountain lion do anything but a lumbering walk.

Just two days later, a mature male mountain lion showed up at the old elk carcass from almost a month ago. Look at the size of his paws!

He meticulously sniffed every detail on the ground, and then he sniffed the carcass.
I'm betting that his cat has a kill nearby. He headed further downhill with a purposeful gait when he departed. Moreover, look at that full stomach hanging downward.

I think that he's a male because he left two marking scrapes out of view of the camera. Usually, males mark and females don't. Also, his bulk makes me think that he's a male.

I made a video of the visits of these two mountain lions to my camera sites which you can watch here or at Youtube. If for no other reason. watch it to see the young mountain lion bound away. It was amazing to see!

Happy Wildlife Monday!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunrise Sunday

I am so thankful for our beautiful world!
Sunrise in the Rockies often inspires me.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Labraduo on Saturday

When I had the Labraduo out with me together recently, I got them to wave in sync! They are each very good at waving by themselves but they have a tough time doing it side-by-side.

We now have proof that they can do it if they focus!

After they achieved that milestone, I let them run and run and run!

A rare photo with Shyla out in front as they ran...
Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Aerial View of a Spectacular Sunrise

You may have noticed that it's been a long time since I could get any views from the sky. The primary obstacle was the wind. I'd see the eastern sky light up at sunrise but then I'd hear the wind. There's no way that I can fly when the wind is strong enough to be heard.

This morning, the eastern sky was a brilliant orange but I almost didn't go outside to check the wind due to pessimism. The Runner encouraged me to check it, and he was right! The sky was beautiful and the wind was in a temporary lull.

As I got a view of the east, all that I could say was "wow!". What a spectacular sight.

I turned to look to the west, and the alpenglow made the mountains appear to radiate pink.

Then, the sun crested the the eastern hills.

One last photo - and I could hear the whoosh of the wind starting out of the west.

Before landing, I got one more peek of the mountains from very low.

I did have time to record a short clip of video near the middle of the sunrise. It is also at Youtube.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thankful for A Lovely Bluebird Day

Today was a bluebird day by any definition! We hurried out to soak up the sunshine.

After I rode and played with Shyla. I headed out to ride a little more on the roads, which are easier on my knee than the trails. I saw the mountains across a meadow.

As I gazed at the mountains, a Red-Tailed Hawk caught my eye as he soared and then perched up high.
When the Red-Tailed Hawk took off, another bird, much bigger than the hawk, flew straight at him. I was searching my mind for what kind of bird could make a Red-Tailed Hawk look small. It was a Bald Eagle! He chased the hawk away and then did a couple of circles over my head. I captured no photos of him but it was breath-taking.

After all that avian activity, I felt sure that the rest of my ride would be uneventful. Nope! The Mountain Bluebirds had returned to enjoy our warm day. It amazing how bright they are, especially after drab winter days.

At this time of year, they move up and down in elevation depending on the weather. It was warm up here today.
Now you see why it was unquestionably a Bluebird Day.

I am so thankful for Bluebird Days and the signs of springtime that make me smile!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Treat Snarfing

Incoming treat!

Bad throw but I've got it!