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.

 

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Two Glorious Geese

Two glorious geese – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I did not see these Canadian geese in Canada but in Yellowstone National Park. It seems the name is misleading as I have seen a lot of these geese in the US! They even nest in Central Park in Manhattan, and in the Spring you will see chicken-sized, fluffy babies following their parents around. These two posed so perfectly that they deserved to have their photo taken.

For other posts from Yellowstone National Park, please click here. This post is dedicated to my Canadian friends.

A grizzly and her cubs in a field of flowers

A grizzly and her cubs in a field of flowers – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Life doesn’t get much better than this. Watching a mamma grizzly make her way slowly through a field of yellow wildflowers while her two cubs run around her. This picture was taken in Spring in Teton National Park. There were quite a few female grizzlies each with two beautiful and bouncy cubs. Predictably they took the same route every day, so on each day you could catch a glimpse of them making their way through this field. I learned that a grizzly can be distinguished from other bears because of the hump on it’s back above the shoulders. They are so much bigger than I imagined, and every time I saw a bear on this trip I would forget to breathe. You really feel like you are in the presence of a magnificent and truly special animal. What a truly wonderful experience.

Friday Flower – Balsamroot with a backdrop of Tetons

Wildflowers with the Tetons – Photograph By Laura Lecce

These beautiful, bright and sunny wildflowers are known commonly as balsamroot, or scientifically called Balsamorhiza. They are a member of the sunflower family and make a stunning foreground for a photo of the Teton mountain range. They are a golden flag for the Spring season and provide food for many grass and plant eating animals such as deer, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. There were many grassy valleys and hillsides inundated with large tufts of golden flowers, and they appear in so many of my wildlife photos. They wildflowers really brightened up my trip and I hope they brighten up your weekend, have a great one everyone!

The eagle and the bird who hates him

The eagle and the bird who hates him – Photograph by Laura Lecce

It’s tough to be so loved and admired, to be an American icon and a symbol of great strength. Lucky for this eagle, his ego will be a little smaller because of a little bird (well little sitting next to this eagle) who absolutely despises him! As I was in absolute awe that I got lucky enough to get up close and photograph this stunning bird, the bird next to him was determined to shoo him away. At one point the little bird was hanging off his tail feathers trying to yank them out with his beak and flapping around the poor eagle’s head and making a hell of a racket. I guess having a large and cunning predator so close to home must be a bit distressing. It was also spring time in Yellowstone National Park, which probably meant chicks in a nest that need protecting. Lucky for the little bird that the eagle didn’t seem on the hunt for lunch. Also lucky for me and my camera that the eagle didn’t seem at all surprised or phased to have this annoying bird bothering him, and just sat his ground looking as regal as ever. What a fantastic experience!

For other pics and posts from Yellowstone National Park – please click here.

I met a marmot

The marmot I met – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I met a marmot for the first time in Yellowstone National Park, and these little critters are now quite possibly at the top of my favorites list (well second,  lizards still win). They are such a cute, cuddly-looking, round ball of orange-brown fur. In the case of the photo above, the fur color was a perfect blend with the rock that this marmot calls his home. Never straying far from the safety of his fortress, he went on happily munching the grass shoots in his front yard while I sat and took his photo. It took a while for me to get a good portrait as he mostly had his head down pulling up grass, then would periodically put his head up for a just a second to check that I was still watching him. Capturing a photo of a marmot is a very seasonal activity, as you wont find them around from about September to May as they happily hibernate through the colder months of the year. I wish I could do the same!

The yellow eyebrows of a blue grouse

Blue Grouse – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This is a gloriously proud male grouse who had decided I was infringing upon his territory. To let me know this he performed his intimidation dance – tail feathers sprawled, neck feathers on end to uncover that red wrinkly skin, and an angry frown with his bright yellow eyebrows. Little did he know, that instead of scaring me away, his dance was what got him noticed in the first place. After taking his photo, I let him think he won and scared me off with his territorial display. Such a gorgeous and unusual bird!