A recent winter-time jeep trip through the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains was filled with eagles and other surprises. This cock pheasant was sunning himself along the edge of the road and was fairly patient to allow me time to grab a fast photograph.
Our trip took us on a circular drive 10 miles west of where we live and ending up north about 30 miles. The early hours were foggy and somewhat cloudy but the sky cleared to give us good visibility. Recent snow left a mantle of white on the mountains and prairie, and frost sparkled on the grass and sagebrush.
Wily Coyote is out searching for his breakfast and watched us from a safe distance. His curiosity at the sight of the jeep on the landscape didn’t seem to faze him.
The startling sight of a dark mass along the ridgeline came to life in my camera lens. A herd of elk, probably numbering in the hundreds, split and traveled east and west of the road in front of us.
Shortly after arriving home, we noticed deer gathering in the creek bottom below the house. Piles of leaves that we had intended to burn have become winter forage for them and they come each day to nibble and browse. Next year we will rake up piles of the leaves again and leave them for the deer.
This young doe makes her way to the old skillets that catch a few seeds from the bird feeders. If she is lucky, she might have a nice snack, which beats eating cold, stale leaves any day!