…on camera, that is! You won’t find me trying to get closer than the inside of our Jeep to this rattlesnake, which we came across on our way to a favorite hike this past spring in Nevada:
This was just our third rattlesnake, and this time it was in the wild and posing prettily, which made it perfect for leading off this post about seeing the wild things on our travels.
I won’t cover them all here, just those we’ve seen in the last few months (otherwise you’d get far too bored because the post would run way too long).
That same day, we happened to find a garter snake not far up the same two-track trail we were on:
And to make that particular day especially spectacular, we spotted a couple of chukars running across the trail faster than just about any bird (except the roadrunner, of course), which explains the blur in the photo (plus I was inside the Jeep, shooting out the front window… but hey, it’s the effort that counts, right?):
Moving along the highway at 55-60 mph, it’s harder to spot the wild critters. And in the wide-open spaces where we often spot antelope or deer, we can sometimes spy the occasional bird nest. What? No trees?
Ah! But there are electrical poles! And if you look carefully as you drive along, you’ll not only see nests balanced oh-so-carefully on the crossbars, but sometimes you’ll catch a glimpse of a head (okay, this photo is even worse than the chukar; trust me, this is about the best of the lot… and I did take a lot of them!), in this case a raven:
Some days the best wildlife we spot is a common bird in the RV park where we’re staying, like this starling:
And sometimes special birds visit us, like the Bald Eagle circling over our RV site in Montana:
Where we stay in far Western Montana we’re situated between two Osprey nests (that we know of!). We loved stopping to see how the nest-sitting was going when we got there in mid-April:
And swooping over the water in a wide section of the Clark Fork River, the terns’ reflections were stunning:
Sadly, not long after seeing these Osprey nests a huge storm blew through and we didn’t see any activity on either nest after it. I’m hoping the youngsters had fledged, but the timing seemed off…
And though we saw a lot of deer running across the road in front of us and grazing off the side of the roads we traveled, I didn’t manage a good photo of any of them this year.
We saw probably a half-dozen or more fawn and more elk than usual for the spring (always so exciting I gawk instead of snap).
This Cedar Waxwing paused for a second on a branch along the side of a hike we make in Montana:
Impatient waiting for the pilot vehicle in a construction zone? Not me! I’m looking for critters. And on this particular day, got a photo of this Spotted Sandpiper (didn’t think you could see a sandpiper along a freshwater river in Montana? Me either!):
One of the most graceful but gangly-looking birds is the Great Blue Heron. I keep trying to get a decent close-up with my point-and-shoot camera:
Same goes for the Great Egret:
I’ll always have more luck when they’re frozen in place, watching the shore for the ideal fish:
I’ve read people are taking up birdwatching because of the pandemic. If you’re one of them — welcome to the club! But there’s so much to see right around us, so I urge you to become bugwatchers and flowerwatchers and critterwatchers, too!
Great captures. Although I have to say I’m not a fan of snake photos 😀 I agree, I enjoy watching all wild critters, big or small…except snakes!
Keeping distance is the key 🙂 I think because the West is still so new to me (having spent fifty years out East) that just the *idea* of a rattlesnake is so fascinating I had to get the photos… and then I didn’t want to insult the garter snake by ignoring it 🙂 Hope you’re well and safe, Beth!
Ellen, I am doing well and hope you are, too. Thanks!
I much prefer bird photography over reptile. I’ve had one too many rattlesnake encounters and they always rattle me. 😁
Your bird photos are magnificent, Ingrid! How in the world did you get so close to that spoonbill (just checked out your post today)?!? The snakes are much easier to photograph because if they’re sunning and you don’t startle them, they’ll just sit there… whereas birds… well… you know how quick to take flight they can be!
Thank you! That spoonbill photo was taken by my friend Mona Liza (Lowes RV travels). It was early in the morning when that pink beauty was hanging out on a railing on Mustang Island. I couldn’t believe how close she allowed me to get. That was a once in a lifetime experience.
Gotta love those special moments when nature lets us get close!