We encountered wildlife throughout Colorado, but the biggest
concentration of large mammels was in the Kawuneeche Valley
on the western side of Rocky Mountain NP.

Elk were everywhere.*

We quickly became blasé about
distant herds, perferring to wait
for closer encounters.

Like all of the large
mammals we sighted, these elk
were used to human presence.
By remaining quietly in one spot,
we found that the animals often
would approach us. They were
more interested in feeding than
they were in avoiding us.

* The Colorado Division of Wildlife claims a state population of over 300,000 elk (2003).

This guy was huge!

We sat quietly in the car,
shooting through the open
window. Unfortunately,
a number of people behind
us weren't so patient,
approaching on foot
and making noises
to attract his attention.

Although not so handsome
a specimen as the one
above, this fellow sported
a 12-point rack that
got our attention.

He was so busy grazing
that he seldom raised
his head to look around,
showing no interest
in the group of onlookers
that quickly gathered.

Our first encounter with this
female moose was too close
for comfort. After backing off
for a while, we cautiously
reapproached. By then she
had lost interest in us, and was concentrating on her breakfast.

She was browsing in
beaver ponds along the
Colorado River in the
Kawuneeche Valley,
early in the morning.

While watching her feed
for nearly an hour, we happily
recorded the "moose circles"
rippling across the early
morning reflections
from the Never Summer
mountains to the west

Backlighting accents the large ears
that give the mule deer her name.

This undernourished female was
leading her fawn along Lake Monarch,
east of Lake Granby.

We saw numerous smaller animals, also quite comfortable in our presence.
Some merely ignored us while others, like the chipmunks and ground
squirrels, were persistant and fearless beggars.

This coyote passed within 20 feet
of us, intent on hunting small
rodents in the mountain meadow.


Golden-mantled ground squirrels
were everywhere, often approaching
within 3 feet to see if we were good
for a handout.

These guys are NOT an
endangered species in Colorado!

Like the ground squirrel above, this
yellow-pine chipmunk was looking
for a snack. He got one from some
obliging tourists.


After watching carefully for a while,
this prairie dog dove into the
hole right before his (her?) nose.

This one must have been a hermit.
We saw no signs of the expected
colony in this Beaver Meadows
section of Rocky Mountain NP.

We were not equipped for serious bird photography,
but some came close enough to shoot comfortably.
  The Steller's Jay (left) and Clark's Nutcracker (above)
are common species in this area.

The one that did not get away.

The remains of this red fox
remind us of the unfortunate
fate of many animals
along our roadways.

©2003 Tom and Ellen Judd
All rights reserved.