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21 April, 2010

The rest of the story

There must of have been a number of you who decided that the contest to determine where the picture of ducks was taken was a sham or figured it was on the Circle B Bar T Ranch and didn't participate. There were a number of you who did and the winner was Scot Billings. Scot and his wife Peg were the people who we purchased Barlo from and they traveled all the way from Michigan to deliver him to us just 8 years ago. Scot said, "it must have somewhere between the Circle B Bar T Ranch and Fishtail", and he was correct. The reason that I didn't tell you the complete story was I knew it would be a give away if knew what was happening the day I took those pictures.

I left the house with my camera by my side in the pick up truck. Shortly after I left, on the Grove Creek Road on the way to Fishtail, I spotted the mallards, stopped the truck and took the first pictures, not far from there were the Western Meadowlarks. Had I told you I was on my way to Fishtail or shown you the next picture, it would not have been a difficult decision determining where I took the duck pictures. Yes, it is spring in Montana, and almost every pasture has calves in it. These were not totally dependent upon their mothers and were assembled in the sun near the hay.

There are pigeons everywhere and I have not been fortunate enough to get close enough to get a good picture. That day as you know by now was a good day for Clint the photographer and guess what was waiting on a fence post along the road. I have to say, it was a great picture.
One of the signs of spring is the arrival of the cranes. It is usually late March or early April that they arrive. They come in pairs as the "sand hill cranes" mate for life and before fall they have hatched at least 1 if not 2 or 3 young ones. They leave when the young ones can fly and we wait for spring for their return. I had seen them and heard them for at least a couple of weeks, but it wasn't until I got closer on my trip to Fishtail that these 2 posed for me. I was also fortunate to have my 400mm zoom lens.

and what else do we see in the pastures in the spring? Baby lambs. Number 55 was only a few days old. You could tell that by it's size and shape. Another give away as to it's age is the fact that it still has it's tail. The tails are removed, the rancher calls is docking, to prevent the lamb making a mess in it's wool when it goes to the bathroom. This one is a cutey as they all are.

I had to get out of the truck to get the picture of the lamb. As I was walking by some trees along the road, a very small bird started jumping from limb to limb. It was not the least bit intimidated by my presence and allowed me to take a series of pictures, this one being my favorite. At this point in time all I knew about it was that it was small, black and white, and let me take it's picture.
When I got home, I had to get my Audubon Rocky Mountain field guide for birds to determine what it was. After several debates with Marty, we determined it was a Black-capped Chickadee.
Needless to say, it was one of the most fun and fulfilling 5 miles drives I've had in a long time. Hope you enjoyed it as well. I also saw deer and rock chuck and smelled a skunk. As you can tell I'm having fun with my new camera, more to come.

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