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While I feel like I spent all of June working, I did get out on a few short adventures. Going through my big photo dump, I was reminded about seeing mountain goats at the salt lick. These photos were made from my car window. Mountain goats, despite their appearance, are potentially quite dangerous. Last year, our friends’ leashed dog was gored by one on a popular hiking trail. I only see goats at the salt lick in the early summer and they are not very attractive and the light is always crummy but still, they are kind of cute with sweet eyes and the baby does look almost hugable.

We got out in the mountains this past week for a really pleasant hike. The air was cool and fresh. It wasn’t windy which was a mixed blessing. In some places, the mosquitoes were quite annoying but they thinned out after we got above the trees. Clark’s Nutcrackers were everywhere and Horned Larks were singing from lots of rocky perches. Ladybugs were emerging from the rocks and once again I wonder, what do they do all winter? Sky found a stick and she posed, on her own, in front of an old growth juniper, for a portrait. And the clouds were amazing! Fog filled the valleys to the north and east, eliminating half the views but it would pour up over the ridge line making outstanding aerial displays! We found big piles of black bear poop. I wonder what it was eating? The snow only recently melted so there were few flowers. We will have to return soon! With the warm weather, they will pop out in a hurry.

I photographed this pair last month when they were still on a nest. Presumably, at that time they had one or two eggs and since then someone did see them with one youngster. However when we were there recently, there were no babies. A Bald Eagle probably took them. It’s hard work to raise kids.

In the first photo, I thought the bird was sleeping but on closer inspection, you can see the red eye watching me. Both birds were resting in the middle of the lake so I moved on in my kayak, looking at other birds and enjoying the day. I paddled back into a marshy area where I often see Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots and if I’m lucky, I get good views of tiny warblers too. This time I found both Common Loons in the shallow water. I kept my boat as still as possible and they both approached me, diving often and popping up in front or behind me. It was exciting to watch them underwater! They never seemed to come up with food so I don’t know what they were doing except maybe showing off? They did not appear distressed and they did not make any calls. They were very interested in a patch of cattails and I wondered if it was even possible that they had a little one stashed in there, hidden from danger but I never saw any movement in the vegetation. Perhaps they were just enjoying a rare sunny spell.

Most of these images are not cropped, shot with a 200-500 mm lens from my boat.

From our recent camping trip.

Song Sparrows. Yellow-headed Blackbird. Mountain Bluebird with food for a nest full of little ones. Elegant Black Tern. Ring-necked Duck.

Another lake, another Hooded Merganser, this one with a big family to care for.

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