Ozark Bill Travels West – Part One – The Badlands

The Badlands
The Badlands

Greetings.  Way back in September, well before this early winter weather came about, Sarah and OZB took a much needed vacation and traveled west.  The primary destination being Yellowstone National Park, but we stopped at a few locations along the way.  How I loved Badlands!  With nearly 250,00 acres, this place is worthy of investing two weeks of vacation on alone.  A couple of days was not enough.  Wildlife and landscape abound, so your chances of finding something of photographic interest are high.  The park is laid out to perfection as well.  A single paved road leads you through the heart of the park, with a couple of minor roads leading to loops in separate sections.

Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park

To get the image above, I took a “trail” down one of the earthen crests of the area.  Towards the end of the trail, the amount of scat I observed made me realize that I was on a trail made by Bighorn Sheep!  Sarah took a shot of my better side while I was on one of these trails.  Yeah, you wish you could rock the boots, socks and shorts as well as I did here.

P1070401
Hey Hey, My My

The beautiful patterns of erosion!

Badlands
Badlands National Park

The prairie dogs at places like Roberts Prairie Dog Town and other colonies throughout the park provide endless entertainment.  Such fascinating creatures.

Badlands Dogs
Badlands Dogs
America's Ongoing Obesity Crisis
America’s Ongoing Obesity Crisis
The Veggie Burger
The Veggie Burger
Watching...
Watching…

Other wildlife were to be found as well.  We spotted our first Pronghorn in Badlands NP, but this image was taken in at Custer State Park in the nearby Black Hills.

The Pronghorn
The Pronghorn

Bighorn Sheep were somewhat abundant, and this female gave me a good looking over.

Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep

That is all for now.  I will have a couple more posts coming soon from other locations along our trip.  Until then, you can view more images from the Badlands and surrounding sites in South Dakota on my Flickr.

See you Later!
See You Later!

 

 

 

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The Birds From Brazil – Campo Flicker

English: Campo Flicker

Portuguese: Pica-pau-do-campo

LB: Colaptes campestris

Song

I missed out on getting a usable image of the Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, which I considered to be the most striking bird I was able to observe in Brazil, but on my last day out shooting before heading for home, I was able to spot and shoot these guys.  Huge, active and vocal, these were very much reminiscent to the Flickers in North America.

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Bald Eagle Nest – The Fledging

Greetings on a gorgeous wintery day.  I hope everyone is safe.  I was driving yesterday evening when the snow was really coming down, and was reminded that the first day of winter precipitation in the StL metro area is very much like one of those figure eight races.

I want to give a very late thank you to all of the folks who visited the Art at the Shaw Nature Reserve 9th Annual Show & Sale last weekend.  I enjoyed and appreciated seeing all my old friends and meeting new ones.  I apologize for being tardy with this message.

I also want to apologize for being so tardy in posting these images from my last visit to the Bald Eagle nest.

Bill Duncan – 11/16/2014

The Nearly Empty Nest...
The Nearly Empty Nest…

Arriving near first light on a very foggy morning, I could not find any presence in the nest.  I feared that the chicks had fledged and the family had moved on.  After waiting about 30 minutes, I decided to walk under the nest tree to see if I might find evidence of what they ate, or some other artifacts that may have landed during their nearly three month stay.  Not finding much on the ground, I peered up the trunk of the giant sycamore to see what the nest looked like from my vantage.  As I did, I saw both chicks 10-15 feet above the nest looking down at me!  They were hidden from my view earlier due to the low light, fog and foliage.  Not wanting to disturb them, I slowly hiked back up the hill to my usual observation spot.

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WEEK ELEVEN

I watched for a few hours as they climbed up and down the stout branches that rose over their nest, exercising their wings as they went.  I was sure they were close to taking that first plunge.  Little did I know what was in store.  I watched as the older and bolder of the two took what was likely its first flight attempt.  It fell like a rock.  After the initial “flight”, I listened for sounds of life behind the dense foliage below the nest.  I heard not a single sound for nearly half an hour.  I had to see if the bird might have broken its neck or perhaps landed in the river below.  I slowly walked down the slope, under the nest tree and onto the flat of the river’s bank.  I looked up and finally, to my relief saw this one looking back at me from about 50 feet above me and ten feet or so from the nest.  Not much of a first flight, but this one was out of the nest.

WEEK ELEVEN
WEEK ELEVEN

With its older sibling out of the way, the remaining chick put even more efforts into practicing…

WEEK ELEVEN
WEEK ELEVEN

The chick spent a lot of time in limbs well above the nest.  When one of the parents brought a meal, it must have been confused that nobody was there to take it…

WEEK ELEVEN
WEEK ELEVEN

The chicks have been out of the nest for about five months now.  I hope they are doing well and learning a lot during their first winter.  Maybe we’ll run into each other one day.

WEEK ELEVEN
WEEK ELEVEN