Sunday, December 7, 2014

Experiences of a lifetime

Friday I had one of those days even a wild man of Idaho would believe it was not possible to have.  It was very foggy at 5:30 when I got up, so I tied two dozen fishing flies and checked the weather.  "Heavy patchy fog with clear areas west of Rexburg."  So I headed for the desert and Camas National Wildlife Refuge.

At Sage Junction, I headed out on a primitive road with Black-tailed jackrabbits using the fog as cover as the rainbow-circled sun peeked through the heavy ground fog. All of a sudden a rabbit headed for my truck, running under it and not coming out.
In the fog I finally saw the reason; a Golden eagle was out hunting and had flushed the rabbit and it was hiding under a very large blue "rock."  Eventually both the eagle and rabbit moved on.  But a dream experience for one wild man in the wilds of Idaho was enjoyed ...... it would not be the last of the day.

After entering Camas National Wildlife Refuge and visiting with several naturalists and photographers with reports of "nothing worthwhile to see" I decided to hike the back roads of the fog-plagued refuge.  After seeing a few White-tailed deer through the mist, I saw a Northern harrier harassing a patch of tall sage with strange sounds coming from the brush.   

Inching closer I saw a porcupine grazing in the grass.  While taking pictures of the spiky animal and with my back turned to the pocket of sage, I heard the strange sound behind me and turned just as a Short-eared owl flushed from the sage and disappeared into the tall bull rushes.  Dang it all to heck - I was not quick enough - or the camera was not quick enough to record that exit - probably both.

After the two mile hike, I was almost back to my truck when I saw a movement like a flock of birds flushing in the sage - not birds, but a herd of about 200 migrating elk quartering past me.  The herd was being led by an old respected cow followed by mostly cows and calves with a few small bulls mixed in.

But the last two of the herd was a young cow and a very tired huge bull.  With breeding over, most bulls have left their herds, joined in groups and migrated before the cows.  This one was lost or was left behind by the other bulls, or had found a late girlfriend.  Reminded me of some old men that ought to know better.

With a responsibility waiting for me in town, I headed for the truck in a hurry.  Near the truck in a thicket of willows, I was greeted by a chorus of Song sparrows. 

I felt they were begging me to come back on another gloomy day when there appears to be "nothing worthwhile to see."  Sometimes you have to leave home and the comfortable vehicles to appreciate and experience the beauties that are to be had in the Wilds of Idaho.  If you stay home in the rain, snow and fog; you may miss four memorable lifetime experiences.


eileeninmd said...

Wow, sounds like a wonderful outing.. So many cool wildlife sightings and awesome photos..

TexWisGirl said...

my gosh. just beauty all around you!

Lois Evensen said...

What wonderful shots!

Betsy Adams said...

Hi There, It's GREAT to hear from you. I have wondered and wondered how you were and what you were doing... Glad to hear that you are now retired.. You'll find that life will just get busier and busier --but at least, you'll be doing exactly what you want to be doing!!!!!!!So glad that you are still birding and enjoying that gorgeous state of Idaho.

Thanks so much for your comments on my blog... Please continue to visit. I need the encouragement!!!!