Sunbathing…

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We spotted these two iguanas within a couple of yards within each other in Tulum, Mexico while looking at the Mayan ruins.  They seemed pretty happy to be perched above the ocean and soaking up the sun.  It was very neat to watch these guys, definitely something we wouldn’t  see in Montana!

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Nature Notes

Perk Benefits…

My husband has a very demanding job that leaves him on the road a vast majority of the time.  He works as an agronomist and is a agronomic adviser.  It is hard for both of us for him to be gone so much and spread so thin, especially with a full-time job of raising sheep, and having eight kids.  Occasionally though, there are some perk benefits to his job.  Over Thanksgiving week, my beloved had to attend a conference in Canada and I was able to go with.  My parents watched the kids, our oldest son watched the farm and we headed off.  The conference was in Banff National Park.  I was pretty excited to get to see some new country and just hang out with my hubby.  When we arrived at our motel, I think my jaw hit the ground…

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Umm, ya!  My first stay in a castle!  Fairmont Banff Hot Spring.  The first day I thoroughly enjoyed exploring around outside the castle and taking a few pictures (of course)!

I hiked down to the frozen falls…

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The view from our room!

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My husband had meeting all day long, so the second day, I slept in late, had a wonderful lunch, enjoyed my first massage and hung out in the mineral pools and spa!

The evenings we spent wining and dining.

Our last morning there, which happened to be Thanksgiving morning we awoke to a wonderful sunrise and headed for home…

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It was a beautiful day for traveling, cold but plenty of sunshine!

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A couple of pictures I took with my phone…969420_10201129498585023_996771449_n (1) 1455921_10201129560826579_885656005_n

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We made good time home.  I really had to just appreciate the scenery and bite my tongue to not stop at every beautiful spot!  We will have to go back again when we have a bit more time.  But we did make it home for Thanksgiving dinner with the family…
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Weekly Top Shot #113

Grand Tetons

Taking in the beauty of this wonderful place…

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On our last day of camping in the Tetons, we hooked up to our camper, headed down the road and had to make a decision as to which road to take to go back to Yellowstone.  We decided at the last minute to veer closer to the mountains in hope of seeing more elk. While driving we saw a cow and calf elk come running full tilt out of the trees, we quickly pulled off the road and decided to wait and see what else would come out…

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 Here comes the rest of the herd…

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With a nice bull…

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We were definitely happy campers seeing these beautiful animals our last day in Tetons!

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Along the Firehole River…

On our recent trip to Yellowstone, we stopped to have a bit of a break and a picnic on the Firehole River….

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The kids were able to explore the river and splash around a bit…

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A curious on-looker begging for food….

 

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Even a chance for a nap…P1030278

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A “Camp Robber” decided to check things out too…

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Otherwise known as, Clark’s Nutcracker, they are friendly, curious little guys…

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Cool Facts

  • The Clark’s Nutcracker has a special pouch under its tongue that it uses to carry seeds long distances. The nutcracker harvests seeds from pine trees and takes them away to hide them for later use.
  • The Clark’s Nutcracker hides thousands and thousands of seeds each year. Laboratory studies have shown that the bird has a tremendous memory and can remember where to find most of the seeds it hides.
  • The Clark’s Nutcracker feeds its nestlings pine seeds from its many winter stores (caches). Because it feeds the young on stored seeds, the nutcracker can breed as early as January or February, despite the harsh winter weather in its mountain home.
  • The Clark’s Nutcracker is one of very few members of the crow family where the male incubates the eggs. In jays and crows, taking care of the eggs is for the female only. But the male nutcracker actually develops a brood patch on its chest just like the female, and takes his turn keeping the eggs warm while the female goes off to get seeds out of her caches.
  • Not only do the lives of Clark’s Nutcrackers revolve around their pine seed diet, but the pines themselves have been shaped by their relationship with the nutcrackers. Whitebark pines, limber pines, Colorado pinyon pines, single-leaf pinyon pines, and southwestern white pines depend on nutcrackers to disperse their seeds. Over time this interaction has changed their seeds, their cones, and even the trees’ overall shape in comparison with other pine species whose seeds are dispersed by the wind.
  • The Clark’s Nutcracker tests a seed for soundness by moving it up and down in its bill while quickly opening and closing its bill, in a motion known as “bill clicking.” It also chooses good seeds by color: when foraging on Colorado pinyon pines, it refuses all but dark brown seeds.
  • Ounce for ounce, the whitebark pine seeds that many Clark’s Nutcrackers depend on have more calories than chocolate.
  • Clark’s Nutcracker is in the crow and jay family—but the first time Captain William Clark saw one, in August of 1805, he thought it was a woodpecker. He and Meriwether Lewis collected a specimen in Idaho on their return journey a year later. Clark’s Nutcracker was one of three new bird species brought back from their expedition, all of which were described by the naturalist Alexander Wilson.
  • The oldest Clark’s Nutcracker on record was at least 17 years, 5 months old.

For more information please visit, here…

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Nature Notes

Petrified Tree…

 

By Tower Junction, in Yellowstone…

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Trying to fathom that something can be tens of millions of years old is hard to do. Well, that is how old the Petrified Tree is. This now solid rock was once a giant redwood tree surrounded by a forest of trees just like it. During violent volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, mudflows and volcanic deposits rapidly filled the open pores of the tree , solidifying it into the rocky trunk that you see today. Where there was once two there is now only one petrified tree left standing. In the earlier days of the park, visitors and explorers took pieces of the second tree until there was nothing left to take. A fence surrounds the remaining tree so that it will be left alone and still standing for generations to come.  Read more here…

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The crew checking out the rock tree…

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A couple of the adventures we had while on vacation…

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Teigen crawling on a log suspended over a creek…

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Garrett and Hayden seeing if they can jump the creek…P1050722 P1050723 P1050724 P1050725 P1050726

The crew turning cart-wheels…

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Still enjoying the greenness of the year, though fall and other colors are starting to show.

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Nurture Photography Challenge - Autumn 2013 Edition