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Mountain Bluebird
It's mid June, so it's time to take bluebird photos. I already have boatloads of bluebird photos but it just seems like the thing to do. I returned to that one particularly photogenic nest hole I found last year and sure enough it was active. I did manage to get a few shots of the birds. Usually they were too busy to stop and pose at the doorway.

Badger Family

After doing bluebirds at dawn, it was mid-morning by now so I was just out wandering around in the woods, prospecting for bird holes. Suddenly there was some motion on the ground. It turned out to be some badgers in a den hole. I came back that afternoon with my camera. At first nothing was happening. Pretty soon, two cubs came waddling up the hill to the den hole. There were three cubs and one adult there. Periodically they would come out and walk around among the grass a bit, which is darn hard to photograph. One time all three lined up, peering out over the dirt mound. I thought they were kinda cute. I probably would have a different opinion if I were a ground squirrel. After an hour or so, all three cubs came out of the hole and walked across the meadow, single file, and never came back. I have read that badgers don't bother returning to a den hole each night--they just dig a new one wherever they are. That was true here--I checked the next morning and it was abandoned.

Bull Elk
The elk rut happened in mid September as always. I found this big bull in Horseshoe Park, late on a gloomy afternoon. He was busy with his harem, hiding in and out of the aspen grove. He was pretty far away so I was using my big honking 800mm lens. The funny part is that while I was intently watching this distant bull through my viewfinder, a smaller bull had silently tip-toed up quite close to me. I was quite surprised to look up and see an elk that close. Even a small bull is a big critter.
On another day, this bull was quite intent on showing off for his ladies, who couldn't care less.

I have often looked at this little hill directly south of the Moraine Park campground and wished the elk would be up on that hill. They would be front-lit and have a dramatic background, which would be a tremendous improvement over the typical back-lighting and boring brown grass background. Well a miracle occured, actually two miracles occured. One miracle is the elk went up on the hill, and the other miracle was that I was there at that time. One group of elk was up on the hill, crossed the road and came down to the dull brown meadow. Then this second bull came over the hill, took a few more steps, and let out a huge bugle on the crest of the hill. I could barely hear him over the clatter of shutters.

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