Battle Royale in the Badlands

So the other day, I woke up to a lot of racket on the front porch.  When I went out there, I found a little baby magpie sitting on one of the bikes.   I went to grab my camera and ended up snapping a few pictures before the parents came back.  They made more noise than the baby and didn’t like me that close.

A few days later [June 24th, I believe], the morning started the same way, with tons of noise on the porch.  This time, though, when I opened the door, I found not only the parent magpies, but a large bullsnake, a rabbit, a robin, a kingbird, and two bluebirds.  They were all taking turns beating on the poor snake.  The snake was eventually chased around the building and under the shed, where he stayed until evening, and then left.

He’s not too happy and the bikes didn’t offer much cover from the pecking magpies and biting rabbits and swooping robins and chirping bluebirds.

He just struck at the magpie.

Magpies are very brazen birds.

They would peck the ground, puff up, and squak.  I’m not sure how much the snake could see of this performance, but it was entertaining.

It was like they could hear him move!  Everytime he started to crawl away, they would come back and start the whole process again.

I think he would have liked the door open…

The magpies had six chicks to begin with, but they lost two, maybe to west nile.  One other we haven’t seen for days amd he couldn’t fly like his siblings.  If you think about it, six is quite a few, so maybe nature made a few extras.  They are all pretty loud and rascally and seem pretty healthy for now.

I have found a couple owls out and about, but I haven’t been able to get a good shot nor ID them.

Here is a great picture to illustrate the sweet clover problem.  This was taken last week and the flowers have begun to fade.

I’ve got more pictures to upload, so another posting is due.  I can’t keep up!

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I didn’t pack for this!

Alright, one 90 degree day and that was that.  I have one long sleeved shirt with me, thinking it would be the nice, hot, brutal Badlands it’s supposed to be…oops!  The forecast isn’t calling for anything better in the next few days and to make it worse for the visitors coming through, Yellowstone is supposed to get snow!  Hello, June!

Since I arrived May 8th, I’ve seen two rattlesnakes and heard of three others.  One or two bullsnakes I heard reported, too.  No pictures of any of them…sorry! 

I do have pictures of lots of flowers…or mostly Sego lilies, I guess.

It’s a nice flower.  Utah is the only one that claimed it for a state flower.  The bulbs can be eaten by roasting or boiling them.

Prickly pear flowers are starting to come out.  I’m not sure what this cold snap is going to do to them, but there were a lot of buds ready and waiting…I hope the frost stays away!

I decided to go visit the sheep.  In all truth, I was headed to the grocery store, and the bighorns [and their human admirers] were in my way. 

These are pretty young rams and they don’t seem as ravinous as their female counterparts.  In fact, they are so lazy they let some fellow get pretty close, and even yell to his wife while he was 50 feet from them “They’re pronghorns!”.  I guess the misidentification didn’t bother them…

Ewes are hard to get a good picture of, especially since they are lambing.  Stress doesn’t help one be photogenic, I guess.  This one caught my eye because she was rather pale in comparison, though my camera doesn’t pick it up well.  She’s pretty young, too, maybe a year or two? 

But the weather turned, so I’m not sure if I am going to get any more interesting pictures up in the next week. 

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What a foggy, drizzly mess.  We have maybe two trails that are suitable for this weather….

That’s all for now! 

:)