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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring is Coming!

With a big winter storm heading our way, I'd like to show you some signs of spring around home today.

All of a sudden, wild crocuses, called "Pasqueflowers", opened their blossoms in our meadows.
I worship these flowers each year. They are the very first dots of color in the spring, and they bring promises of a wonderful spring and summer ahead.
A slightly larger sign of spring is in the sight of our elk herd. The males are shedding their antlers. This bull has two antlers but one is pointing straight at the camera because it was barely hanging onto his head.
Antlers akimbo and fur coming out in big bunches...
The magpies hang out around the elk herd. They like to land on the backs of the elk and eat the parasitic bugs that live in the elk fur. A beautiful magpie is in the background of this photo.
The elk with the funny antlers took off at a gallop. I hope that he finds a tree to help him get rid of the antler that is sticking out like a unicorn horn.
Suddenly, as I watched the elk, we lost our sunshine, and it started to snow, a harbinger of the storm that should start tomorrow and last until Wednesday. A small bull elk grazed in the flying snow, with his coat intensely showing the ravages of shedding.
Finally, I found the biggest sign of spring of the year, and it's my FAVE! A huge male bear showed up in front of my trail camera on April Fools Day. Perhaps this was his idea of a joke!
He didn't stay for long.
I tracked him for a long distance through thigh-deep slushy snow. He marked every conceivable tree, sometimes by standing on his hind legs and rubbing his back on it and sometimes "straddle marking" (walking over a small tree and urinating on it). When the snow got super deep (picture me up to my waist in snow), he took huge bounding strides, at least 2 meters per jump. I am thrilled to see this fat and healthy bear at the end of months of sleeping.

For a size comparison, look at this photo of a dog who rolled in exactly the same spot as the bear. This is about a Lab-sized dog.
So, even though we are about to be slammed with a big snow storm, I *know* that spring is coming!!!! It's undeniable with Pasqueflowers blooming, elk shedding their fur and antlers, and a burly black bear walking through our forest!

Shyla is ready to feel the dirt between her toes rather than snow!


  1. Not the most attractive time of year for the elk..BOL!

    We are so impressed with the bear. Just magic.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  2. What beautiful signs of spring! We're already looking at signs of summer, like me putting on my swimsuit for the first time this year. I love the elk!
    Nola's Mom

  3. I can surely see the super
    'macro" is being put to extraordinary, wonderful ,use.Paws,a super shot, Antlers, yes here in NZ the stags rub against trees to shed them, I feel sorry for them with straggly fur and lopsided heads. Look at that bear, huge. Spring for you, we are truly in autumn, had fires already in the early morning, and darkness till much later.Greetings from Jean

  4. That Pasqueflower looks so fuzzy. Spring is indeed on it's way. And that Bear is huge! He must have eaten well before the big sleep. Hope we get to see some cubs soon. They say we might get some snow tonight also. I rather like spring snow storms.

  5. That sure looked like a huge bear. I can imagine your joy in being in the same place as he was (I am assuming that was hours later) I am so glad you have those trail cams and that you share the pictures with us.

    Bert adn My Vickie

  6. Hah, the bear picture are great!

    We have a single crocus out in our backyard (remnant from some long gone tenant of our house). There's been so much snow, but we had three whole sunny days in a row! It's enough to make one hope of spring ^^

  7. Big bear! Do you think you know this bear or is he a new one?

    I am always happy to see the Elk, but they sure are a ratty looking bunch(and I still like them.)


  8. Wow. Gorgeous photos (as always)! Spring is flirting with us in the Ozarks. Daffodils and forsythia blooming... but snow flying every other day or so.

  9. Love the bear photo! Just WOW!

  10. What a huge bear. Exciting and maybe a little scary that he is so close! May spring really be there soon!

  11. Wow! That is some bear! He is the size of a football field :)

    Those Elk look a little strange with all their furs coming off and stuff. But they are beautiful creatures just the same.

    Tickle, tickle.... Shyla, can you feel us tickling your paw?

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  12. Absolutely amazing photos of those pasqueflowers. Such detail.

    And those shedding elk resemble the pack here with all their tufts waiting for me to pluck. How they would love to gnaw on one of those antlers:)

    Hope your storm isn't too bad - we hear it is bringing us the threat of very severe weather tomorrow night. But not with snow.

  13. The flowers are not going to know what hit them by being blanketed in snow. So cool to see all those ginormous elk and smokey the bear. Have a fun day
    Benny & Lily

  14. Those elk look funny with both the antlers askew and their fur falling out. That first picture of the bear looked like he fell on his face and was thinking, "Why did I leave my nice warm cave with all this snow on the ground?" Thanks for sharing your world.


  15. OMD...That bear was BIG. Hate to run into him when he's hungry!

  16. Everywhere seems to be springless this year. Seems it's something to do with a shift in the jetstream. Here we are in the South of France in April and it's decidedly chilly. Love the snowy paw picture.

  17. Our mom buys antlers and you guys can have them for the taking! Lucky you!
    We just love that last photo, Shyla!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  18. What a process the elk go through each year...losing antlers and fur all at the same time. I loved the photos of the wild crocuses. They're quite different from the common crocuses we have come up every spring in our yards.

  19. Wow - those elk look a little rough around the edges! lol - but I know they'll be beautiful again once they get through their awkward stage of shedding those coats!

  20. Great Pictures!
    Wow thats a big careful.
    We have to wait for spring some more weeks, should be here now

  21. Hi KB, I was away last week but you were in my thoughts-hope all is well with you and the pack. Praying your neck and back are doing fine and that Shyla is continuing to mature and socialize. Yes, I see signs of spring here in the lowlands and I'm not looking forward to tonight/tomorrows snow storm. I'm so ready for the sun, flowers and grass to green up. Hope you have been enjoying every day in the high places.
    Hugs, Noreen

  22. Those wild crocuses are lovely! We have no elk around here but we do have magpies!

  23. Oh - the Pasque are already blooming by you! I'm a little jealous. We're preparing for the storm - by putting our skis on the back deck so they're easily assessable in the AM! I hear the Front Range and Denver are to get the brunt of it. Springtime in the Rockies! That's one massive bear!

  24. You have captured the most amazing photos! The flower is beyond belief!
    And the amazing herd of elk, you are really capturing the moments!

  25. That must be the granddaddy of all bears! He's incredible! It's interesting that some areas have deep snow and others (the meadow where the elk were) have none. Is that due to differences in sun exposure or elevation? Love all the photos!

    Susan and Wrigs

  26. One of the nice things about these spring forays back into winter is they take the sting out of some of the deer ticks. So even though many blossoms will be lost this week, hiking will be much more fun!

    That plump bear really does look like he had plenty to eat last fall, doesn't he? And spectacular photo of The Paw!

  27. The flowers are beautiful, and wonderfully captured! The bear made me laugh. He looks like he was thinking about making snow angels but was just too tired to do it!

  28. The pasque flowers are a sure sign of spring. I haven't seen one yet!
    We saw a herd of elk last week at about 8000 feet. They were looking quite shaggy, too.

  29. The pasqueflowers are beautiful. The elk sure look cute to us with their shaggy fur and antlers akimbo. And haha, yay for the big bear.


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