As the shadows were swallowing up the last rays of this evening’s sun, a muley buck trotted across our place with a mission in mind. The rut is in full swing here, and he only has a limited number of days to find receptive does. Avoiding the hunter’s aim is paramount to his success and survival.
So what is the “joyful sound?” I believe it refers to the gospel message of salvation, which is indeed a message of joy, peace and comfort to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Walking in the light of His countenance requires obedience to Biblical principles and the commands of Christ. This sets the stage for Him to allow us to yield fruit (see my previous post) through what we do, say and participate in…as a result of our faith and salvation, not as a condition thereof!
I ran across this frustrated young buck trying to answer the call of fall along the Musselshell River. The rut seems to be winding down, and he wasn’t finding any receptive does this evening.
Since my first visit to the Grand Canyon in April 2012 (Who Stole the Grand Canyon?), I’ve been looking forward to returning at a time when visibility would be better. Not that the snow and fog didn’t produce some very unique views, but I didn’t get the opportunity to really appreciate the vast expanse and extreme ruggedness of the canyon. Last month’s travels put me in close proximity to the North Rim, and fortunately the government shut-down had come to an end, so I made my way down the Kaibab Plateau. The cooler temperatures of fall had already taken residence, and remnants of a recent snowfall remained in the long shadows of the pines. Along the route, there were plentiful Mule Deer and a small band of Bison leisurely grazing the dormant grass.
So far, everything indicated that the viewing conditions at the Grand Canyon would be ideal. Perhaps I might have to wait for the sun to burn the morning moisture out of the air, but…. I didn’t imagine that smog would be a problem in this part of the country. Evidently the dirty air from Las Vegas and Los Angeles rides in on westerly winds and frequently ends up trapped between the canyon walls, and that is what I encountered when I arrived at the North Rim. I was able to see the San Francisco Mountains across the canyon to the south, so conditions could have been worse. There was an informational sign indicating that those mountains are often obscured by the smog. Between the smog and the low angle of the morning sun, a distinctive blue haze was prominent in the photos that day, making processing the images a little more challenging. Still, the rugged features of the canyon are evident, as well as the beauty of this natural sculpture. (You may need to click on the individual pictures to get a larger view to better show the San Francisco Mountains and other features.)
Along with the cooler weather, the shorter days of fall trigger a number seasonal breeding animals into estrus, which tends to cause the males to pretty much lose their minds. From what I’ve seen in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana over the past couple weeks, it is obvious that the whitetail and mule deer are in the thick of the rut right now. In fact, last Tuesday I came within about 15 feet of this Muley buck, and he never acknowledged my presence, despite my being out in the open and walking behind him.
There was quite a bit of rut activity at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, with Mule and Whitetail bucks on the move and seeking receptive does to mate with.
Closer to home, along the Musselshell River, a buck inspects a small band of deer on a hayfield.
As I drive home, yet another buck crosses in front of me as if I don’t even exist and is on a mission as he travels through our neighbor’s place.
I’ve been keeping the “natural” birdbath (aka, pothole in the driveway) filled with water for the past few weeks, and have found it to be a pretty good bird-magnet for evening photo-opportunities. Admittedly, the backdrop isn’t very scenic, but the late-day sun hits it perfectly. Here are a few of the visitors to drop by recently.
Okay, so the last one wasn’t a bird. Normally we have a lot of Mule Deer hanging around our place, but with all the spring grass and the does getting close to giving birth, they will be a less common sight for a couple months. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, during our early years here I thought that the only wildlife we had here were the deer, and sure didn’t think we had much of a variety of birds. Sorting through my image files last weekend, I tallied up 61 different birds that I’ve photographed in the Bull Mountains, 28 of which were taken in the immediate vicinity of the 20-Acre Wood.
I continue to be amazed at all the birds I never saw, until I started looking for them. There is no question that they were here; I never noticed them until I sought them. We tend to have that happen to us in many aspects of our lives. We may take certain things or people for granted, knowing they are there, but not really thinking about how important and impactful they are to our lives. Similarly, we may simply be oblivious to things around us due to ignorance or indifference. Oftentimes we are guilty of taking God, the Creator of this amazing planet, for granted or we don’t know or care about Him at all. This is really a shame, because God and salvation through His son, Jesus Christ, is easy to find, but we have to seek Him. He makes His presence known and He wants a relationship with each of us, but if we don’t seek Him out, we may never find Him. A couple Scriptures bear this out in very simple language; “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6) and “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7).
- Wednesday at the Watering Hole (wildbirdsunlimited.typepad.com)
I was able to stay close to home most of the last week, and the nice weather and longer days allowed me to get in a little evening photography just for fun and practice. I’ve been honing my bird deception tricks (see Hide ‘n Seek), using a small, portable set of speakers for my iPad to play bird calls. I took them out for a test drive on Wednesday, and was really tickled by how well it worked. If you’ve ever seen the Hitchcock movie, The Birds, you will have an idea of how well it worked with the Chickadees and Nuthatches! For awhile they were truly swarming around me, and landing within inches of my position. The Ravens and Flickers responded, but still kept a fair amount of distance from me. Until Thursday night, the temperature had been getting into the low-80’s during the days, and the ground was drying up. In order to keep the birds from scattering too far, I artificially maintained a mud puddle in our driveway-this also proved successful! Since Thursday, we’ve had steady rain with some intermittent snow, so I won’t be adding water to the potholes in the lane again for awhile! So, here are some of the visitors and residents at The 20-Acre Wood during the past week: [As usual, clicking on the images will display larger images, which you can then scroll through.]
Thus says the Lord of hosts…’I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me.’ Jeremiah 27:5
- White-Breasted Nuthatch by Bill Tiepelman (500px.com)
- Must-see birds: February (prairiebirder.wordpress.com)
- Nuthatches in the woods – where else!! (sherstonwildlife.wordpress.com)