Thursday, April 8, 2010

Roosevelt Elk in Redwood NP

Roosevelt Elk

One of the highlights of our trip to the Redwood National & State Parks area was encountering a large group of Roosevelt Elk, the largest subspecies of elk in North America. We spent a lot of our time on the first day checking all of the places listed in the park guides, but didn't find any elk there. On the rainy morning of our second day though, we were treated to a herd of ~30 females and a few young males grazing in a few random fields along US-101.

Herd of Elk

Just due to happenstance, they were right near the side of the road when we stopped, and that made it easy to get close without having to leave the car.

Roosevelt Elk

In fact, there were times that they came so close, that we could hear them literally ripping the grass as they ate.

Feeding elk

With those long shaggy manes, they reminded me very much of horses or camels -- not quite what I usually associate with elk! But they sure were beautiful, and it was awesome to spend so much time in their presence.

Grazing elk

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reason to celebrate -- Thanks for the votes!

Reason to celebrate -- Thanks for the votes!

The voting results for the 2010 Defenders of Wildlife photo contest have been released, and thanks to your votes, my image of Tomales Bay State Park won 2nd place in the Wild Lands category! (Full results can be viewed here, if you're curious.) It was such a cool honor to be named as a finalist among all of those other awesome images, and even cooler to be voted into second place!

If you're a member of the organization, keep your eye out for all of the winning images in the Summer issue of Defenders Magazine. And thanks again if you took the time to vote!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mule deer at Elk Praire

Mother mule deer

On our trip up to Redwood National and State Parks along the northern California coast, we saw quite a few Roosevelt elk (pictures to come, once they're sorted) but none in the places advertised as often having the elk. However, in the Elk Prairie of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park we did see a trio of mule deer during our second day of looking for elk there.

Young mule deer

The prairie itself was beautiful, a large expanse of tall dry grass with redwoods lining the edges. While I only have a few shots of these deer there, a return trip during the fall elk rut is definitely high on my list -- since I think it would be awesome to witness in this area.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Photograph of a wild Douglas iris in Point Reyes National Seashore

A wish for a Happy Easter for all of you who celebrate this joyous holiday! May you enjoy the time spent with family and friends!

This is a beautiful Douglas iris growing wild near Limantour Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. During our trip there a few weekends ago, the fields were just covered in these awesome blooms.

I also want to send a heartfelt thanks to all of you who voted for my image in the 2010 Defenders of Wildlife contest! Thanks so much!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Singing loud and clear

I've always hoped to get some shots of songbirds singing, and this sparrow at Limantour Beach in Point Reyes was most happy to oblige.

Singing its heart out to spread the word

It sang and sang while I slowly rotated around its branch to try a few different angles, getting some of the sandstone cliffs and some of the sky as the backdrop.

Singing sparrow

Finishing up its last note:

One last note

I also wanted to remind everyone the 2010 Defenders of Wildlife Photo Contest voting period runs until Sunday, April 4 at 5pm Eastern. If you haven't already, I would like to encourage you to go to their site to vote for my image of Tomales Bay State Park, which was selected as a finalist. You can learn more about the contest and see my image in my previous post. Thanks!

Vote for my photo!