Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Horn Sheep of Mount Evans

Ewe in a field of wild flowers. She is not as scruffy as some of the others

Big Horn Sheep have star appeal. Between a grid iron physic and showy head gear (only on the males), they fascinate us with their dramatic mating rituals and high country antics.

Young Males Sparring

I have lived Colorado for over 10 years, however, and this is only the fourth time I have seen them, and I have never seen an adult male, only ewes and young'ens. One of these days though my luck will improve and I will be able to provide you with a more iconic shot.

These photos come from Mt. Evans. Last summer I took some folks hiking on the Pessman Trail. After the hike we drove to the summit of the 14,000 ft mountain and saw many Mountain Goats but also this herd Big Horn Sheep. The herd members were all shedding their winter coats making them look scraggy and unphotogenic. The herd contained adult Ewes and juveniles both male and female. This is the norm.

And they're off!

I did not have much time to observe the sheep, but I did get this running sequence. Was it just juveniles at play, or was the group sick of the nosy, camera laden tourists?


Jann said...

I've taken photos a couple times already this week of the bighorn sheep in their 'hot spot' in the Black Hills. They're always awesome to see, even if the surroundings in this particular spot are less rugged and wild than what you've captured so well. Great photos!

Nina said...

Cool shots! Mountain Goats and Big Horn Sheep are so fascinating to me. Personally, I can barely walk upright on pavement using two legs, comfortable shoes, and a supposed big brain. I am always so amazed to see them jump around on steep slopes and treacherous ledges. On the Discovery channel, of course.

Nickname unavailable said...

This great Sylvia! One of the largest herds of Big Horn in North America resides in the Springs and is often seen at Glen Eyrie Castle grounds. They are much tamer than these you photoed as they are used to the mining traffic that used to be present on the 'scar' above the city. This herd will stand and study YOU, no camera though! ;-) There is often a herd of 50+ in the meadow by the rose garden. We have photographed them several times. Occasionally they will graze by the trail just inside the Garden of the Gods main entrance. They are easy to miss as they blend in and you tend to look at the rock formations and not back to your right at the trail. Hope you can get to see them! RHonda