Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some of the beauty of Yellowstone Park

Geothermal features such as this hot spring on the bank of the Gibbon River are called chocolate pots.

White Dome Geyser erupts pretty frequently allowing for lots of chances to get photos like this one.

Roaring Mountain no longer makes the loud noises for which it was named, but it's still a cool feature in Yellowstone Park.

If you hike up Electric Peak in the northern part of the park this is the view you will get looking east.  The little lake is Cache Lake, Sepulcher Mountain is behind it, and Bunsen Peak is in the distance.

This is Canary Spring at Mammoth Hot Springs.  This photo was taken several years ago and the spring looks different now due to changing water flows, temperatures, and other variables.  One of the very cool things about Yellowstone is that it is always changing, it's never the same.

Fall is a beautiful time to see the park.  Here huge columns of steam rise from Excelsior Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring with the Firehole River in the foreground.

Winter in Yellowstone can be very cold and very beautiful too.  Clouds drift above snow covered hills in the Lamar Valley.


An adult common loon with its fluffy chick at its side on a northern Wisconsin lake.

The adult loon has caught an appropriately small fish and is offering it to the young loon.

Another loon had just flown over the lake and this loon was taking its chicks to a sheltered spot among some reeds to hide.

I never get enough of the striking patterns in the loons feathers.

This loon is on its side to better reach some feathers for preening.

I feel lucky whenever I hear loons calling and have been very lucky to get to spend time up close photographing these fantastic birds.

Please look at more of my photos at

See more of my photos at

I've started to put a bunch more photos up at  So if you like what you've seen on this blog and would like to see more please check it out.  I photographed this bull moose in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

This is Tower Falls in Yellowstone National Park.

This bull bison is bellowing with his tongue out while standing in a black-tailed prairie dog town in western North Dakota.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More ducks and geese

Mallard drake coming in for a landing.

Beautiful mallard drake in the last light before sunset.

Canada geese set to land on a pond.

Ducks and geese

A mallard drake on still waters.

A hen mallard in great afternoon light.

Reflections make it fun taking pictures like these.

Another hen mallard on the way over.

I love the irredescent green color of the feathers on this drake mallard's head.

Can't get enough of the still water and blue sky reflections.

A coot stretching in morning light.

The last light of the day finds this canada goose sitting on a small pond.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Great blue heron with a fish

A great blue heron with a pan fish it caught this morning. I watched the heron stand motionlessly for more than an hour at the edge of a small pond before it thrust its beak into the water and came out with this fish. Watching this great blue heron fish was a great lesson in how infinite patience pays off.

The same heron biding its time before catching the fish.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall adventure

I found these snow covered tamarack trees while I was out looking for elk in October.  All of these photos are of cool things I saw near Clam Lake Wisconsin this fall.  

Good news, I found several elk including these two cows and a calf. Both cows are wearing radio collars as part of the DNR's effort to keep track of the Clam lake elk herd.

A beautiful afternoon at Day Lake.

These leaves have fallen into the water close to shore.

The wind and rain knocked the leaves off the trees pretty quickly this year.  Here's a little fall color before it disappeared.

I was pleased to get a few photos before this ruffed grouse flew off.

Fall in Wisconsin it is all about the great colors, isn't it.

Another view of the tamarack trees and bog.  I really like the snow on this scene and it was only there a short while. The sun melted it all within an hour.

This hungry bull elk is soaking wet from the snow melting off of the trees in the forest.

Big clouds over Day Lake.

Fallen leaves on a large boulder in the woods.

This bull is standing in a logging clear cut and staying close to an adult cow elk not pictured.

A gorgeous red pine tree in the last afternoon light.  

In my experience the time I spend outside in nature is time well spent.  Even when I don't find what I'm looking for there are always other beautiful and interesting things.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ruffed grouse

I got lucky when I was out looking for elk near Clam Lake Wisconsin and photographed three different ruffed grouse. 

I found this grouse sitting on the fresh snow in beautiful morning light.

I would have never noticed this grouse perched in the tree if it hadn't flown across the road in front of my car.  I love ruffed grouse and the great colors and patterns of their feathers.  With or without elk, my day was a huge success having found these birds.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall elk

A beautiful bull elk a few miles from Clam Lake Wisconsin.

This small bull elk is checking behind it as another bull bugles in the distance.

I located this elk calf and cow wearing a radio collar near the edge of a logging clear cut.  I found them here twice over the course of three days.

This bull elk was staying near the cow and calf.

This is another photo of the best bull I was able to photograph this fall. The bull came out near the road to gather one of the cows from his harem. The cow had walked across the highway to the other side. The bull came up to the edge of the road and waited until the cow came back to his side and rejoined four other cows in his harem.

Here's a glimpse of a little fall color seen from one of the forest roads near Clam Lake.  I made several trips to the area to see, hear, and photograph elk during the rut with some success. 

I learned that Wisconsin elk have very different habits than the elk in Wyoming and Alberta.  Out west the elk seem to gravitate towards open meadows during the fall rut.  The Wisconsin elk seem quite content to stay in the woods and it wasn't easy to find them out in the open during daylight hours.  

It may be that there are so few elk in the area (only 140 or so) that the entire rut dynamic is differerent.  The bull I found with the collared cow and calf seemed quite content to quietly wait nearby for the cow to come into estrus.  He never bugled and didn't seem to want to draw any attention to himself.  I'm not sure if that is normal operating procedure for these Wisconsin bulls or if this bull was mute due to his relatively small size.  Either way, it was lots of fun spending time with wild elk in Wisconsin during the rut.