I have a long streak of trying to photograph the setting full moon every month. That involves riding my mountain bike to a spot in our forest where I can see the mountains. Last month, the moon became full just as a local female mountain lion had killed a deer nearby. She was visiting it nightly to eat, and my cams showed that her route to and from the carcass paralleled the route that I needed to ride to see the full moon. I reluctantly decided to take a month off from photographing the setting full moon.
It turned out to be a really good decision. At almost exactly the time that I would have been riding to see the full moon, that mountain lion was walking within 30 yards of the route. This was that date and time... there she was.
This month, mountain lion activity in our neck of the woods has returned to normal. That means that there are occasional lions traveling through but, most nights, there are none. I am willing to take the risk on a normal night.
I set out in pitch darkness with a headlamp on my helmet. I was feeling a little nervous about the critters in the forest but I pedaled hard to make sure that I didn't miss the setting of the moon. Soon, I settled into a pedaling and breathing rhythm, and I forgot my worries. The Hermit Thrushes were singing their hearts out, with their flute-like voices rising from the treetops. They were spaced about every 100 yards along my route. I'd hear one singing, he'd gradually get louder, and then I'd pass him with his sound receding. Soon, I'd hear the next one. It was glorious!
When I popped out of the forest at a high lookout, I saw the moon still a bit above the mountains and arcing down toward them. I set up and waited patiently. This was my favorite moment.
I always hang around after the moon sets to watch the sunrise. I love watching the world slowly get light. On this morning, the birds awakened and started flitting around as I waited for sunrise. A lovely bluebird couple were busily finding breakfast. I am betting that their chicks were nearby being served by the grownups. The male had caught something just before this photo.
The birds capped off a gorgeous morning. I am so thankful for the beautiful world around us!