Friday, August 6, 2010


Bill and I took a leisurely drive through the high country of Colorado to Rocky Mountain National Park where I saw my first moose.

She was huge and very near the road so we got some okay pictures. My camera had broken a few miles back, so these pictures are taken on a fully automatic setting that I rarely use.

The grass and shrubs were up to my waist - but with her long legs she stood way above them.

As we were watching, she was joined by her calf.

The baby was so-o cute!

Just a little further up the road, we found papa moose grazing in a meadow. What a thrill! The wildlife in the park must be used to people watching then as they didn't seem to mind several carloads of people stopping to take pictures. We were not there very long before the park ranger appeared to make sure people kept their distance.

We stopped for a picnic lunch and I saw another first - a Clark's Nutcracker. Actually, I didn't know what it was. I thought maybe it was a male Gray Jay with more striking plumage than the female - but I was corrected by a local birder who was also having lunch in the area. Gray Jays and Clark's Nutcrackers are close cousins - so at least I was in the right family!

When the Clark's Nutcracker flies, his tail has a striking black and white pattern unlike the Gray Jay that is more overall gray. The Clark's Nutcracker is slightly larger at 13 inches compared to the Gray Jay at 12 inches.

Bill and I posed at the Continental Divide just before my camera gave up the ghost.

This is what my next several pictures look like, even after adjusting the brightness to the lowest setting.

I have a few more pictures to share of our trip but I have to make them last at least 3 weeks because my camera is away for repairs. We were lucky that we purchased the extended warranty last year so if it can't be fixed, it will be replaced - or I can put my original purchase price towards a new camera of my choice. I've taken well over 5,000 pictures - probably closer to 10,000 - in the last year so it might just be worn out. I don't like the new version of my Nikon (more zoom, less megapixels with emphasis on video capabilities) so it will be a difficult decision if I need a new camera. Do I bite the bullet, spend even more money and upgrade to a SLR?

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