Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My return

Life got in the way of blogging the last few months, but it’s with a sigh of relief I return to Q. I’ve been busy with hungry sheep in a drought, learning the routine of publishing a magazine every month (The Shepherd), public speaking engagements (mostly touting the use of livestock guardian dogs in large carnivore country) and working on book projects.
But my sanity is in the outdoors, so here’s an update on our neighborhood. The image above is of a Great Blue Heron on a cool summer morning near the New Fork River.

Our state transportation department is installing two wildlife overpasses in Sublette County, which should allow pronghorn antelope to safely migrate without so many vehicle collisions. The agency has already completed variety of underpasses, but pronghorn don't like to have their vision restricted, so the overpasses were needed. Each overpass costs about $2.5 million, and the total project cost (including high game fences to direct the migration of elk, deer and pronghorn) is about $9.6 million.

Not long after taking the picture of the overpass construction project, I met a red fox having breakfast on a road-killed mule deer.

I've had a wonderful spring with our sandhill cranes. A few years ago I was able to capture a few images of a crane playing with a clump of manure, bouncing it off the top of its head. I was lucky enough to watch similar behavior this year. The images aren't great, but they tell the story (click to enlarge). Animals at play:

I had a crane spend some time behind our house this spring, and I was very sorry to see it leave. There is no other sound that speaks to my soul like the call of a crane.
With the crane gone, my everyday bird is the osprey. I drive by this bird's favored perch about four times a day, as I go back and forth checking the sheep.


BorderWars said...

I've driven under that bridge several times, most recently last month during the Taylor branding. One of these days I think we'll run into each other. I think last year I even met a dog you had bred.

Cowgirl Red said...

I hope the antelope use the overpass. terah

Anonymous said...

I was hoping it was just because you were busy that you've been absent on here--welcome back! And with some super wildlife shots! And I bet those overpasses would work fine for sheep, too, if you ever needed them. ;) Which makes me wonder if there are any rules/regulations involving the public use of over/under passes?....L.B.

Cat Urbigkit said...

Thanks all, glad to be back. BorderWars, I bet you're talking about one of the bearded collies. We don't breed those, but have friends that do.
CowgirlRed, the overpasses are successful where they are used in Europe and Canada, so I've got high hopes. I'll post more photos when the overpass is complete.
Lane, we use underpasses for livestock no problem. The livestock and wildlife all follow the same migration paths.