Near the elk, I saw magpies in the grass. Soon, one had flapped upward and landed on an elk's back. In the photo, one magpie is on the left elk's back, and another is flying up onto the right elk's back.
Most elk don't seem to mind the magpies at all. The magpies eat fleas and other parasites that live in the elk's fur so it is a symbiotic relationship. If you look closely in the next photo, the magpie had a chunk of fur in his beak, probably accidentally pulled out as he grabbed a bug.
Everywhere I looked in the herd, I saw magpies on the backs of the elk, putting their beaks into the elk fur.
This youngish cow elk also had her own magpie.
Then, the magpie took off, showing us his distinctive plumage and tail.
As I stood still watching the herd, these two cow elk looked back at me. I loved how each elk had a grass piece hanging out of her mouth.
And this young bull also stared at me with grass hanging out of his mouth. Although he's young, you can already see the great muscle bulk that he has compared to the cow elk.
I always try very hard not to spook them. This was my last view. I could feel the tension among the elk rising so it was time for me to leave.
Meanwhile, some transients began living in our forest during the warm spell. Today, I wanted to warn them about the storm as I rode by them, fearing that they didn't know (and they even have 3 small children with them). If we get that much snow, they will be stuck for a long time. Alas, no one was out and about in the encampment.
Shyla and I will have fun in the snow. I am so thrilled to have my girl's spirit back again!!!!