Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rattle it

I am without the internets these days, so to keep you company, here's a big 'ol Western Rattlesnake. I've been seeing them EVERYWHERE! Four in a matter of a few hours the other day. Gotta watch your step out here in the sagebrush!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Daily Dose of Cute!

I've never seen a pika with brows like these. Good lord, I love these guys. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Red in Tooth and Claw

They're pretty cute right? American badgers? Lookit those cute little dirty faces. So innocent, so sweet. Or not.  The first time I saw the male, he was running along with a rabbit he had just killed. Well yeah, nature. Gotta eat, gotta feed those baby badgers. Watched him head to his burrow and then got lucky enough to see both male and female pop their heads out of the burrow. (excuse me, cute!)
A few days later, I saw the male throwing something around (violently, really violently. so violent.) in his mouth. I jumped out of the truck to see what was happening and noticed it was ANOTHER BADGER in his mouth. Brutal. It was about half the size of the adult male (who was pretty hefty himself). After he dropped it, we went to check it out.  It was a female who was very dead with badger bite marks all over her. She was a young female, and I am wondering if this was a case of infanticide. I found a link to an article about infanticide and cannibalism in american badgers, but don't have access to my Web of Science account right now, so I'll have to read it later.
This was probably a once in a lifetime thing to see, and as a biologist, I can very much appreciate witnessing this gruesome act of nature, and it was pretty cool (yet disturbing),  but as the overly emotional nutcase that I am, it was a little rough and obviously, there were some tears on my end.   The dead badger wasn't there in the morning and I'm guessing the male came back for her (ate her?? Oye.) (Top to bottom: male and female; female after digging; sneaky male; male with rabbit he had killed; the culprit before the storm)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

So plague-y, but so cute.

Lookit this little yellow-bellied marmot friend. Lookit! So what if he might carry the plague, he's freaking adorable. I've seen a few around here, but this is the smallest one I've ever seen (also, the least mangy).
Update kinda: I'm down in SE ID at the moment following sage-grouse and trying to learn all the vegetation out here for a couple months. YES! Getting out of the office has restored my sanity greatly, even though I am living with mice. So I'm either going to get the plague from this marmot, or hantavirus from the mice. Let's go with neither, yeah?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sage-grouse Strut

Finally had a chance to see a greater-sage grouse lek (and a sharp-tailed lek, too!) last week. It's nearing the end of lekking season, but there were still about 45 males (and a few females showed up) strutting their stuff. The first day I went out there were 40 mph winds and I couldn't even hear them (which is part of the experience!) so I decided to try again the next morning. I got there super early before most of the males arrived, and was lucky enough to have one guy close enough for some decent photos.  Pretty cool stuff! Here's a long series of his love dance :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daily Dose of Moooose

Hey lookit this guy! This is from a couple months ago when we attempted to go birding at Turnbull NWR in Eastern Washington. I think we saw a painfully disappointing 8 species, which was pretty ridiculous. However, this moose friend was a huge bonus, especially since I haven't seen these guys since 2007 or 2008. Moooose! This guy looked like he had recently shed his antlers. In other notes, I've been in civilization way too long and it's breaking me. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Winds

It's a good thing I'm still so behind on blog stuff since I don't have much exciting to report these days, mmhmm. So let's go back to the Wind Rivers (from August). Okay! Yes, let's, please!  We didn't have a ton of time, so we just did a quick 3 day trip. Would have been cool to do a longer loop (next time), but we still got in some good miles and got away from all the people. Love the Winds. 
We were lucky to have beautiful weather and our weird water/bacteria borne mystery illness wasn't kicking us as hard as it had been. Great trip with some gnarly climbs and views. Gimme more.