Jan 232012
 

I stopped by and took a few photographs. The location is 39° 44′ 24.72″ N 105° 13′ 9.60″ W. (aka 39.7402, -105.219333)

This is the technology-enabled wildlife crossing; notice the overhead lights that increase the visibility in this area. Notice the big yellow warning signs, and the flashing lights (currently off) above and below them.

Technology-enabled Wildlife Crossing - lights, sensors, fencing 

Elk’s Perspective

This is the only break in the high elk fence along this section of the road. Elk/deer soon learned to cross here.

Sensor

The sensors detects a large body entering the crossing; at which point the system engages the flashing warning lights.

Elk

My daughter felt this posting was not complete without sharing a photograph of Elk. Here is an awesome one by Ranger Shaina (Shaina Niehans.)

Elk on a Beach by Shaina Niehans

Elk on a Beach

Update: This wildlife crossing has been recorded.

Dec 232011
 

Pack Creek by ShowMeNature
Pack Creek

Beaver Crossing by screek
Beaver Crossing

Elk on the Beach! by sniehans
Elk on the Beach!

O Deer by robinclifton
O Deer

Doe With Breakfast by screek
Doe With Breakfast

Buck Mule Deer by NatureWurks
Buck Mule Deer

Close To The Wrong End Of The Skunk by screek
Close To The Wrong End Of The Skunk

Winter is a Time for Discovery at Sky Meadows State Park by VAStateParks
Winter is a Time for Discovery at Sky Meadows State Park

Bull Elk With His Harem by screek
Bull Elk With His Harem

Black bear in the yard. by mountain_trails
Black bear in the yard.

Full Beaver Moon by screek
Full Beaver Moon

Foxy times 2
Foxy times 2

Large Oklahoma 8 Point Buck by screek
Large Oklahoma 8 Point Buck

Modeling Raccoon by screek
Modeling Raccoon

Ghostly Coyote by screek
Ghostly Coyote

Bull Moose at Autumn Oxbow Bend by cavaroc
Bull Moose at Autumn Oxbow Bend

Sow Grizzly Bear with Cubs by NatureWurks
Sow Grizzly Bear with Cubs

Red Squirrel by NatureWurks
Red Squirrel

Not a Mole… by adam_jack
Not a Mole...

Stalking Red Deer, but spotted! by HadleyWildlife
Stalking Red Deer, but spotted!

Puddy Goes Home
Puddy Goes Home

Young Coyote by BeverlyEverson
Young Coyote

Moose in the Yard by Unattributed
Moose in the Yard

Amazing How A Large Elk Can Jump A Fence by screek
Amazing How A Large Elk Can Jump A Fence

Elk Bull by NatureWurks
Elk Bull

Posing Marmot
Posing Marmot

Anan Creek, Alaska by ShowMeNature
Anan Creek, Alaska

Muskrat by adam_jack

Bullwinkle in the Rockies by betiam
Bullwinkle in the Rockies

A Large Oklahoma Whitetail Buck by screek
A Large Oklahoma Whitetail Buck

Apr 182011
 

I do a lot of walking in the Colorado foothills, and I’ve seen a lot of chewed aspen. It still impresses me how the Elk chew this bark (the typical two teeth marks makes me think there must be a lot of buck teeth Elk out there.) How on earth do they digest that stuff? Crazily they even seem to enjoy it. In a snowy winter, I guess it is some of the better fare!

Today I came upon something new…

I entered this small aspen grove, and a number of the reasonably sized trees were downed. I didn’t figure out why, but with the winds and snows can be tough, so seemingly healthy trees were laying close to the ground. I found fresh tracks, a fresh bed, and significant signs of activity. These trees had been chewed, and chewed and chewed… from top to tail.

The Aspen Grove : downed trees

The Aspen Grove : downed trees

I’d never seen this much chew in one place. The trees must’ve been at the perfect height for a munch, and in a nice quiet, undisturbed location. The fresh tracks painted a picture of a single animal, and I imagined a solitary bull Elk spending the winter deep in these woods, finding this (perhaps literal) windfall.

Downed Aspen : chewed (a lot)

Downed Aspen : chewed (a lot)

It was a privilege to be in this place where a large animal had recently been spending it’s time. Eating, sleeping, chewing.

Nice virtual encounter…

Apr 162009
 

As I was driving back into Coal Creek Canyon this morning I spied the 70-80 strong herd of Elk over in the open space by Plainview. That was enough for me to detour & go for a walk. If you didn’t get to be/play outside today, let me take you where I went…

Plainview (albeit later in the year)

Plainview (albeit later in the year)

Sunny but not hot and with little wind it was perfect for a stroll. Mountain bluebirds (not as many as earlier in the year, and no Western) and Meadowlark were about, and some other small lark of sorts was making music up in the sky. Basically a just another great day to be alive and outdoors.

The ground was moist, the recently melted snows had granted that. The moles had made the most and pushed up a lot of soil & Elk had planted their hooves firmly in those piles. Small purple flowers were blooming, as were fat/round cactus. One could get a decent dose of wildlife just by stopping & looking down.

Up the other side of the draw the few remaining resting Elk were preparing to join the herd out on the plains. I watched them get up and casually move on. The couple of bull Elk were little more than spikes, and one lopsided with a single antler. A young Elk (and there were many) seemed to be having fun with a group of mule deer, perhaps lauding his ‘large’ size over them. For once he wasn’t the smallest around, and he seemed to enjoy herding them to his whim.

The creek draw was largely devoid of birds for a change. That’ll change soon enough, but right now the chatterers were scads of crickets (clicking their red wings), rushing water, and frogs. One small indent in the ground forms a pond this time of year (weeks ago it was just dry dirt) and the frogs were croaking their mating calls.

A year ago I’d found these frogs hard to creep up on, but had managed, so decided to take on the challenge of stalking them. My goal … to see them mid croak. Daft as it might seems, my tool of choice was my binos … ‘cos these critter are small, hide well, and shut up when disturbed. I spent over half an hour creeping steadily closer and closer to those noise makers, and (sad to say) I failed. They hid in an inches deep pond, invisible despite my focused scrutiny. Amazing; today I’d fail as a heron looking for lunch. I’d hoped to identify these frogs, but today I had to settle for … they are the “loud croaking, good hiding” type of frog.

As I watched the pond I remembered to take occasional looks behind me; one never knows when wildlife will sneak op on a sneaker. I half hoped the deer would tire of being herded and seek shelter down here, but if they did they passed unnoticed.

Still, as I left the puddle, I stumbled upon a small group of travelling Elk coming to re-join the herd. I’d caught their eye just as they caught mine, and although they hadn’t fully made me I only watched them for a while before I moved on. I’d replenished my wildlife batteries for the day. A good trip.