The Wind River Canyon is a beautiful shade of green right now, the result of lots of snow and some recent rains; snow on the mountain peaks can be seen from where I'm sitting. Under my shed a marmot family was having six little baby ground squirrels. The big male had been there long enough we'd named him Elroy. The little marmots are the size of a softball and are cute as can be described.
Last Saturday the mother carried each one of her babies by their butt-fur across my yard to a collection of boulders; they prefer to live deep under the ground below the safety of huge rocks----hence their western nickname, Rock Chuck. They live in family groups and are very clean and quite amiable. Yet, every day Elroy and a baby or three, and or the mother, come into my yard to eat my green grasses and hang-out for the day! After a long and sickly winter it's been nice to spend quality time photographing these wild animals. As always I recommend a sturdy tripod and a long zoom lens.
This first image was exposed for the marmot baby in the shade, the direct sun blowing-out the rest of the image; monochrome (black and white) worked excellently to bring out the wild animal and the rest is just icing on the cake. Elroy likes to sit on top of the doghouse to get a better view; as they all do. One of the baby marmots tried to follow dad up to the roof, but could only get as far as the century-old wagon wheel; too small. A quick finger on the shutter-button gave me an image that is quite unique; a wild animal in an old wagon wheel. It's a big digital file with lots of detail. Even here in Wyoming, most people have never seen a deer fawn in person. It's like the kids in South Africa that have never seen a Rhino. But I have to admit that a fawn is at times invisible. You can walk several feet from a fawn and never see him; they blend into the mountain landscape that well. The doe teaches her young to "hide" and not move a muscle till she returns----so if you're looking, you will not see the little deer. If you do see a fawn----Please do not touch!!! The mother doe will return, I can promise you that much. One day just such an epic moment happened to me; the moral is to never go anywhere without a camera. Last summer a fawn was orphaned just south of our cabin; the result of senseless speed at night. The little guy showed up behind us and hung with some stags that didn't seem to care much, but taught him plenty I am sure. During the rut he followed them across the Wind River where the doe hang out. Early one morning I photographed the fawn with the bucks; a very unusual picture. Bighorn Sheep can be seen in the Wind River Canyon once more; hunted to extinction in the canyon's ecosystem till they were reintroduced in 1995. They are one of my favorite photographic subjects....when I can find them. The little ones are a real treat to image; they are a joy that I cannot describe. I feel so lucky....at times. Here are several of my favorite baby Bighorn Sheep photos. American Bison are commonly known as buffalo, and are huge creatures that can be very dangerous to your health; especially the mothers with their young. They are so cute, but the mothers will crush your body till you are a red spot under the sage! Early american settlers found them to be great with melted cheese, but the British wrote that they were "impossible to keep fenced in." We have none in the canyon, but fifteen minutes away I can photograph baby buffalo. Photographing baby birds is a sensitive subject for the Audubon Society. They and I agree that taking pictures of baby birds in the nest can cause problems for many of them. A disruption that they don't need, or want. Some bird mothers will dive-bomb you or even attack and draw blood; you can look up the videos.
When baby hummingbirds leave their nest for the first time they arrive at one of my nectar feeders here in the Wind River Canyon. Usually they don't even know or care if I'm there or not. The shutter speeds need to be at nosebleed levels that my grandfather would have found astounding! I have always had an attachment for hummingbirds ever since my first observation in Ohio many decades ago at my grandmother's home when I was but a child. They are in my opinion the most interesting of all the birds. Technology is only now beginning to unlock their secrets. Here are a few of "my" favorite baby hummingbirds, born and imaged right here in the Wind River Canyon. Picasso once said, "I show people things they cannot see." I like to fancy that I provide the same kind of excitement about nature in Wyoming. These beautiful wild animals need our help and protection in a world where nothing matters anymore; not even life itself.
Until next time, keep your camera ready.
All content of my Wind River Canyon Blog is of my own creation and all rights are reserved.
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Thank you for your valuable time; I really mean it this time.
I am Michael John Balog and I live in the Wind River Canyon.