Now is truly the time of transition in the Colorado Rockies. After months of looking at smoke and barren rocks for mountains there is a beautiful mantle of snow on the high peaks, the mountain air clear and crisp. The transitioning seasons is most obvious in the animal kingdom, they know the change is coming and they are doing their best to prepare for the onslaught of the bitter Rocky Mountain winter and have mostly disappeared from the landscape. Perhaps during the daylight hours they are preparing their dens for the long cold nights, for whatever reason I have had little luck capturing any images the last few weeks.
The bears are out stuffing themselves with as many calories as they can find, the bucks are almost at full rack for the coming rut and the coyotes and wolves are putting on their winter coats. The elk have completed their rut and have moved on, far from the high meadow where I like to hike. I looked for the osprey over the weekend but they too seem to have moved on, beginning their months long 4,000 mile journey to South America. The eagles are still in their summer pattern and will probably remain that way until the still water all freezes over. There are still some red-tail hawks hanging around, Colorado may be temperate enough to make it unnecessary for them to fly south. I suppose they would fly further south if the snow became too deep for them to hunt, however the intense Colorado sun usually dispatches the snow in short order, even in the dead of winter.
They wolves and coyotes are putting on their thick winter coats which seem impervious to the cold. However these animals are rarely seen, mere phantoms in the snow, seen only early in the morning or at dusk… if you are lucky. Luckily for me, this was one of those times. There is a particularly well populated marsh on one of my favorite trails and when I came to it there was a big beautiful coyote rodent hunting there. He eyed me warily as I moved into position for a shot and began to move away toward the far side of the valley. My first shot of him as he stared at me was the best, but I was able to capture a few images as he continued to hunt as he retreated toward the back side of the meadow.
I departed before he reached the other side of his hunting grounds so that he wouldn’t have to miss the morning meal. He watched curiously as I slipped away before going back to his coyote business.
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