Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wildlife in Zion

As we neared Zion National Park last week, at night, I mentioned to my husband that we should probably watch for deer. He was thinking the same thing. A couple of curves in the road later, there was a deer with huge antlers standing on the side of the road. We carefully, and slowly tried to drive past him. But, he decided to run alongside us instead. As he did, we kept wondering what he was going to do next...dart in front of us, or ? Luckily, he eventually decided to head back into the woods. That was just the beginning of a "wild" week.

We saw more deer last week than we've ever seen anywhere. It was amazing! They were crossing the roads...


Walking alongside roads...




They were walking along trails, and they were getting lots of lots of photos taken of them. Click on this picture to get a better view of this deer's antlers!...


We even saw some of them snorting and fighting in the woods. This one ran right toward me and then quickly made a left turn back into the woods. Whew!


They looked very healthy. Their fur looked great and they looked like they've been eating very well...


And, some were very fluffy. Click on this photo to enlarge it and see how fluffy their ears are...So cute!


We even saw deer tracks on our hikes...


There were two days that we went through the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel to hike in some of the higher elevations of Zion. Up there, we were lucky enough to see Bighorn Sheep. They were hanging out near the first two parking areas on both days. Another Zion visitor told us that he had talked with a ranger that week who told him the Bighorn Sheep were recently re-introduced to the area and that there are very few in the park. So, the ones we were watching were very rare and could have been the only ones in the park.

On the first day, there was a small herd that wanted to cross the road. Unfortunately, for them, there were people standing around watching and taking their pictures. That made it a little scary for them. But, it sure was great for all of us to be able to see them.






Eventually, they all decided to make a run for it but only one was brave enough to cross all the way...


The others ran back up on the rocks and kept looking at us, the road, and the other side.




And, they stared across the road at the brave one who made it...


Here he is, staring back at them and probably wondering why he's on that side and they aren't...


They wandered around for a while and eventually seemed to relax a little.


They grabbed some snacks along the way...


They're looking pretty healthy too!






This one settled down on a rock above the parking area and chewed. If you click to enlarge the picture, you can see the lump of food in it's cheek...


At the end of both afternoons that we saw them, they stood at the top of a rock hill with the light behind them. That made for some great silhouettes...


Late afternoon and evening brought out another kind of wildlife in the park...Turkeys! They were eating alongside the road. There were about 14 in this group. They all looked like hens until we got a little closer and one puffed up his feathers. It's Tom! I guess he did that to look big and scary to protect his girls. It worked...I wasn't about to go near him. He was huge!




The hens were kind of pretty.


Tom, on the other hand, has beautiful feathers but he sure lacks good looks on his head! Eeeek!


It sure was cool to see them. I had just seen a wild Tom Turkey on another blog the week before our trip and was amazed. Now, I've seen some in real life.

The only other wildlife we saw was a few birds, a couple of bees, and some tiny fish. We think most of the birds must have left for the Winter. The lizards, snakes, squirrels and all the rest must have started hibernating.

Come back tomorrow for more pictures and stories from our Thanksgiving week in Zion.

3 comments:

Sandra said...

very cool pictures! We get deer and wild turkeys along our cottage road in semi-nrthern Ontario, so to see the same wildlife in California is kinda neat. No bighorn sheep here, though. What a great way to spend Thanksgiving.

Sandra said...

sorry - Utah, not California. my bad. I'm actually pretty good at georgraphy...

jomamma said...

Awesome! I love looking at your pictures. Thanks for posting them.