Woodpecker with a radical hairdo

Woodpecker with a radical hairdo – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This was a treat to finally get to photograph on of the largest woodpeckers in America. Growing up in Australia I didn’t know there were different types of woodpeckers, I thought there was only one. This particular bird is a Pileated Woodpecker that lives in Yosemite National Park. My ignorance about the woodpecker is valid considering they exist worldwide except for Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Madagascar and extreme polar regions. In America, well before I had even seen a woodpecker, I had learned to recognize the signs of woodpecker activity on trees who have had numerous holes poked into them and display naked areas where the bark has been hammered off. I’ve also often heard the bird in the distance hammering on the tree, but not actually seen the individual making all the noise. They hit the tree surprisingly hard with their beaks over and over again at incredible speed, it is a wonder how they don’t have a permanent migraine.

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Yosemite rattlesnake

Yosemite rattlesnake – Photograph by Laura Lecce

It is said that Yosemite National Park is home to only one type of rattlesnake, and I was honored to meet him. This is the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake which is patterned with grey and white markings. I might be the only person that would call this the highlight of their trip to this spectacular national park. My friends were understandably horrified when I told them that this was the perfect snake to photograph – not frightened and running away nor aggressive, just happily working it’s way through the tree roots and occasionally stopping for a photo. What a treat!

The colorful landscape of Zion

The colorful landscape of Zion – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Another epic landscape photo showing the colorful landscape of Zion National Park in Utah. Down below you can see the road that travels in the valley between these giant rocky mountains, which are perfect for hikers to get a scenic view of the area. It was very strange to me to be seeing a landscape that looks like a dessert, but at the same time, also a place where snow was falling. The wonders of mother nature at their best.

Spring brings baby bears

Spring brings baby bears – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This fuzzy little bear cub is the very essence of what makes Spring the best season of the year. Animal babies! This bouncy ball of fluff is one of two baby cubs to a mamma black bear (click here for her post) in Yellowstone National Park. She is much darker than her chocolate brown babies, but actually the name ‘black bear’ is actually quite misleading as they can come in many different colors such as brown, cinnamon, blond, grey and even white! Don’t you just want to give this cutie a cuddle? Most definitely not because mum is not too far away with an ever watchful eye on her two little bubs.

Click here for more Yellowstone posts.

An elk is not a reindeer

An elk is not a reindeer – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This is a sleek and athletic looking young male elk. He calls Yellowstone National Park his home, and was munching on dinner in this lush grassy area. This is probably the closest chance I will have to see a reindeer-like animal. Elk and reindeer are very similar in size, however elk fur is very sleek and shiny, mostly dark with a white bum, and with shaggy fur around their necks. This is clearly a male with his small antlers, that will grow much, much larger once he’s older. They are newly grown and still covered in a velvet-like skin which will dry and fall off in Autumn. Each year after mating season, the antlers will also fall off and grow again for the next mating season. With reindeer, the presence of antlers cannot be used to distinguish between them, as both males and females have antlers.

For other posts from Yellowstone National Park click here.

Beauty in death

Beauty in Death – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Yellowstone National Park is full of breathtaking scenery. You can drive from wildflower covered hills and grass covered valleys, to snow-scattered mountains such as the ones in this photo. I had to be prepared for significant changes in temperature along this trip, ready for just about anything. I often find myself pointing my camera at a dead tree as the focal point of my photo. There is something hauntingly beautiful about a naked tree, the branches reaching out and forming interesting shapes. No longer a living part of this world but a significant aspect of the current landscape in which it once lived.