03 May 2010

Elk & Sandhill Cranes: Welcome Back!

Even for Butte, America, "spring" has been cool & snowy. This has helped me stay focused on the work for our kitchen renovation, but as Mrs Rover & I sat at the supper table watching the snow pile up outside the window, we thought "Hooray, hooray, it's the first of May. Outdoor (ah, hiking?) starts today!"

So as the storm moved on the next day and the skies cleared a bit (view of front of our home):

We took a walk out back (once north of our home in Walkerville, the landscape is mostly "open range"). The green grass was not complaining as it found its way through the snow:

MollyTheDog (MTD) was not complaining as she found an old ribcage from a deer:

And allowed her "inner wolf" to go off on a romp:

Well, maybe Raven Clan complained a little (they always do) over dog/wolf making off with their bones:

By the next day, the wind & sun had  made off with the snow like MTD with a rack of ribs. We drove over to the Big Hole River side of the Divide for a hike. Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) was back from its winter range (in far away southern U.S. or Mexico) and strutting its stuff for a mate:

The Moose People (Alces alces) were also out and about. Most we saw a long ways off, but this poor, gangly, lonely yearling seemed downright lonesome (Mother Cow Moose chases her yearling off before she drops a new calf):

We visited old RolyTheDog's grave, our dear friend that we laid away about this time last year. It's a beautiful spot for a dog's soul to roam, whether across the high prairie:

Or out over the willow bottoms, creeks, and valleys to the mountain peaks of the Pintler Wilderness:

Elk Cow People (Cervus canadensis) are just moving back to their calving grounds from their winter range 30 or so miles away. Wapiti, meaning "white butt," is from the Cree People, and is a very apt name (photo through my compact binoculars):

Unlike Moose, Elk is a herd animal. Oftentimes, once you spot the first Wapiti, you find more:

May you fatten and all bear healthy calves, Elk People. And come November, may one of you find your way to my freezer as meat for the next year.


secret agent woman said...

There's a big sandhill nesting area no ttoo far from her. It's something to see when they all arrive.

Terry Scoville said...

Great post. What a wonderful resting ground for your old friend Roly. Beautiful photos, thanks!

The Hunter's Wife said...

I'd love to have a good last snow storm before the start of summer. But don't think that will happen here in Indiana. And what a perfect spot for RolyTheDog.

Should Fish More said...

Hooray hooray, um, I knew a saying like that, if only I could remember....not sure it was hiking, tho.

I went out near Divide Sunday, river is in great shape.

actonbell said...

You have taken some absolutely beautiful pictures. And MTD is beautiful, too:)

Happy May to you!

tsduff said...

*This stress-relieving, calming, peaceful moment brought to you by Ecorover* Thanks so much for providing a time out for me. I like Roly's marker pictures.

Love the Raven Clan cavorting in the skies.

Linnea W said...

Looks cold! Thanks for sharing such wonderful shots of a completely different part of the country. It's fun to see such gorgeous wilderness and nature!

EG Wow said...

I enjoyed reading this post, although I gasped to see snow this late in the year. I'm glad it melted!

I didn't know Mother Moose kicked their yearlings out, but it DOES make good sense.