When is a Snake Gorgeous?

Gorgeous? A snake. Yes a snake can be gorgeous. It was shown to me a couple days ago when I came across a gopher snake in the road.

DSC_0103[1] gopher snake

This has been a good year for gopher snakes. Last year was a rattle snake year and I saw about ten rattle snakes for every gopher snake. But this year I’ve see only one rattle snake in the road, but many gopher snakes.

The latest snake was spectacular. The photos I have don’t show his true beauty. He was at least five feet long and the sunlight shimmered on his beautiful hide. He was spectacular. Here are a few of the photos of this marvelous critter.

 

Click on the photo to enlarge. I hope you can appreciate what a spectacular creature this is. When I touched him on the tail, he turned and departed into the tall grass. Unlike rattle snakes, he was a docile creature.

More Fawns?

There are obviously fewer deer on our ranch now, than five years ago. The drought had a big impact on the health of the deer herd. At the peak of the drought, we found deer carcasses on the ground, something that is seldom seen as usually deer die and are eaten by predators and/or scavengers immediately.

As a result of the drought, predators also took a big hit. We have fewer coyotes on our ranch than we had five years ago. Probably mountain lions are fewer as well, but we have no data to support any of these suppositions.

As I snapped a photo of a young fawn, I wondered about fawn survival this year. I hope and believe that it will be greater due to improved habitat and reduced predation. That is the way nature is supposed to work.

DSC_0037[1] fawn ranch road

Scouting Lassen County

Spent some time, last week, driving 395 east of Susanville. Of particular interest was the area near Doyle where the Doyle muzzle loading rife hunt takes place in late November.

Also of interest is X 5B, north of Honey Lake. Here are a couple photos of the country.

Click to enlarge.

Note the tall bitter brush in the foreground. This country has some of the best bitter brush anywhere. The Mountain in the background (on the other side of Honey Lake) is Skedaddle Mountain. Should be some bucks up there. Heading north from Skedaddle Mountain is oodles of deer country bounded by Highway 395 on the west and Nevada on the east. A late season mule deer hunt in that country sounds very attractive.

Further south on 395 there is tremendous winter range on both sides of the road.

The top photo is of the mountains west of 395, while the lower two photos are of the winter range east of 395. The Nevada border is near the crest of the eastern mountains.

Lots of scouting to do in the process of planning my hunts.

Eagle Fight

On my way home from the ranch today, I came upon two eagles that I believe I’ve seen before. The first time I saw them was about a month ago and they seemed to be fighting over food.

Today I came around a corner in nearly the same spot and the two eagles were on the ground next to each other about 150 yards off the road. One of them, a bald eagle, took off, but the second eagle stayed on the ground.

Sensing that I may get a photo opportunity, I rolled down my window and grabbed my camera, which was ready for action. And, it was a good thing.

The bald eagle flew over my truck and I was happy to get a couple photos of the bird in flight.

DSC_0040[1] bald eagle soaring

The golden eagle remained on the ground for a moment and then took off with the bald eagle in pursuit.

DSC_0040[1] golden eagle

It appeared that the golden eagle was carrying prey.

DSC_0047[1] golden eagle fleeing with prey

A couple ravens joined in the melee.

DSC_0058[1] eagles and ravens

Then the bald eagle went on the attach.

DSC_0059[1] eagles engage

DSC_0060[1] eagles fight over squirrel

They fought over a ground squirrel untilĀ  it fell towards the ground.

DSC_0061[1] ground squirrel falls

The fight continued as the birds plummeted downward.

DSC_0062[1] eagles continue to fall

Eventually the golden eagle recovered it’s food. But it may have been injured.

DSC_0063[1] golden recovers squirrel

The bald eagle was left to watch.

DSC_0069[1] bald eagle watches

Not sure what happened next as I had to get home for my own dinner.