Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Eagles and mooses and elks and deer, oh my!

Eagles and mooses and elks and deer, oh my!  Debbie and I took a sunrise jaunt up Blacksmith Fork Canyon this morning, hoping that it wouldn't be crowded, and that we'd see some wildlife.  We won on both counts! :)  We were nearly all the way to Hardware Ranch before we saw the first car, and we had some terrific wildlife viewing.

First up was the moose: a young bull, sans antlers (they shed them each winter) but we could see the scars.  He was on a little ridge about 75 yards from our car, browsing on some tasty willow, and he paid us no mind at all.  That's the first moose of the season for us, and started our trip off right.  Debbie spotted this guy through a large juniper.  Sometimes I think she has some form of ESP – I couldn't pick it out even with her help until we moved the car so we could see it from another angle.  Debbie spotted it while the car was moving, looking backwards.  I have no idea how she does this!  She probably thinks the same thing about me with birds and flowers – I usually spot those long before she does.  We make a good team! :)

Then on the way to Hardware Ranch we saw several deer, mostly high above us on the sunlit southern slopes where the snow had melted and the sun was warming them up.  When we got to Hardware Ranch itself, there were (as expected) a bazillion elk in the enclosure – but not a single other person.  We had the place completely to ourselves, as opposed to the scene this weekend where there were a hundred or so carloads of people waiting to get horse-drawn wagon rides out to see the elk.

The capper, though, was a great sighting of an almost two-year-old bald eagle.  We had five minutes or so of seeing him, both perched and in flight.  We know its age because of its coloring; the young ones have distinctive brown flecking in their not-quite-white head...

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