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Roadtrip! Rocky Mountain National Park (pt 2, wildlife)

Here's some of my favorite digital images from my trip last September (2012) to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  On this trip I was able to base camp in the park for 4 nights and day tripped to several locations within the park for some hiking and photographing.  

My camp was at about 8000 foot elevation, the day I got there, I found a white-tail buck about 10 feet from my picnic table just sitting in the shade.  That blew me away, the deer deep inside many of the national parks are ambivalent toward people - just the opposite of the deer everywhere else I've been (where people shoot them for food).  Anyhow, I was glad to get a few shots.

Later that afternoon his buds showed up at the campground.  They were between my neighbor's camp and their car.

I was taking a rest on the hike up to Alberta Falls, and saw a Stellar's jay in the tree above me.  Apparently these birds only live at high altitude, and have a reputation for stealing people food.

Another day I was wandering around in a meadow at about 7500 feet, photographing a little stream, when a herd of elk came grazing in.  I must have stood there for half an hour taking photos of the cows and calves (I counted about 30 individuals) as they hopped into the stream for a drink and pretty much acted like I wasnt there.  It was one of those amazing life experiences that I'll never forget.

Most of these were taken with my 70-200 on full frame A900, many of the cows came within 20 feet of where I was standing.  I found it odd that there were no mature males with them, until the ONE bull elk showed himself.  He was clearly much more wary of the small crowd of humans who had gathered.  Here he is.

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