Snow Feeder

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The last few weeks have had me stepping away from all things online here, but it was definitely for good cause. A few things popped up that filled up my calendar a bit – getting married, moving from Colorado to Wyoming – you know, small things.

I’ve settled in now in Cheyenne, WY with my handsome other half and wouldn’t you know, we’ve had some snow lately. Of course one of the things we immediately did was to hang out a bird feeder or two, as it’s not home without a feeder. This week we found that we had been claimed by the local Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco population, among others. This variety has a different coloration than the Juncos I found in Virginia.

We are still within a hop, skip and a jump from Fort Collins and I’m fast appreciating the city of Cheyenne. One of the exciting aspects of living in Wyoming, for sure, is the ability to have some real estate that is all but astronomical in Fort Collins. Fewer people, less traffic, more space and still access to all that is the great outdoors here in southern Wyoming.

I look forward to getting out a bit more often with my camera here and seeing what all goes on in the now much larger back yard we have and the many hiking trails that surround the area.

Critters on the Plains

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I’m actively trying to improve my skills at selecting the right aperture for bright, beaming sunshine. Lately I’ve been horrible at washing out my photos by forgetting to change that basic setting on my camera. This cute furball was my first subject of the day while out for a day of shooting (first rifle, then pictures). I know, ground squirrels are pests and the cause of many, many problems. But darn if they’re not cute as a button.

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I’m not sure if this is the same earless lizard I saw a few weeks ago; this one is smaller I think. No doubt, even in our shooting spot, there are many.

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I’m also trying to up-skill a bit on focusing on smaller subjects on the fly. However in this photo I was really focusing on the flowers and had no idea a grasshopper was in my view until I loaded the image to my laptop. Observant of me, no?

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This fellow was hanging on to this blade of grass for all he was worth. It’s not noticeable in the pictures but the wind was whipping and this guy had clamped onto the grass and was riding the gusts like a championship bull rider. It was a day for critters of all sizes!

The Slightest Change

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An entire landscape can change with the slightest movement of the sun. Such was the case this evening here in southern Wyoming during that interesting moment between afternoon and evening. It seemed every time I blinked, the gradient of colors between the grasses and the sky would shift. And indeed, no evening is ever the same.

Brilliant in Blue

2017-07-08 Blue-Eyed DarnerWhile in Wyoming two weeks ago I happened upon this stunning flier; a Blue-Eyed Darner I believe, perched on a sprout of wildflower.

The weekend was baking hot on the plains.┬áIt was so bright, I couldn’t make out if the dragonfly was in focus, even cupping my hands over my LCD screen on my camera. I took a chance and triggered several shots in sport mode, hoping one was clear and frankly, I got lucky. Even in the bright heat, the blue stood out amongst the sand and the rocks and the scrub and is the first such dragon fly I’ve seen. A beautiful little gem.

White Prickly Poppy

IMG_2298These reminded me of something like a moon flower or an open hollyhock (and yes, a poppy) from back east, except of course it’s a thistle plant here in Wyoming and other neighboring states too. It’s really quite an impressive bloom (given it’s growing somewhere you don’t need to pull or move it).

IMG_2300The blueish hue of the stems is a nice contrast with the green buds and white frilly blooms. A very fragile-looking bloom but in actuality, it’s one tough plant.

A Rocky Runner

2017-07-08 Earless LizardThis was my skittish visitor who regularly frequented our target shooting location two weeks ago on a hot afternoon in Wyoming. On checking a few websites, it seems this fast sprinter is a Great Plains Earless Lizard. It was quite humorous to see it race up to us and back away again over and over. I’m not sure if it was simply curious or posturing but it certainly was a brave thing.

2017-07-08 Earless Lizard 2This second photo admittedly I had to edit extensively. Yours Truly ignored all intelligent thought and left her aperture on the wrong setting for a squint-worthy bright group of pictures. But this one I was able to edit back to a more realistic brightness and contrast to be able to post. I was hoping to keep this one as it made us chuckle to see it scurry over and then stand up to watch us a time or two before disappearing back into the scrub.