Wildlife Of The Wild Horse Ranges

June 27, 2011

Last weekend, we were back at Piceance Creek/East Douglas for a quick trip to see the horses. While there, we met up with new friend and fellow wild horse lover, Rachel Reeves (she is too much fun – thanks for joining us Rachel!). Not far into the HMA, we came upon some horses and got out to photograph.

Click on the images for larger/sharper views

Bachelor stallions

Hi Rachel! πŸ™‚

While we were out, I kept hearing screams – youngster screams. After the bachelors moved off, I tried to determine where the calls were coming from. And then I spotted them. I asked Rachel if she was game for photographing something other than horses for a minute and of course, she was.

This was a good location for these baby red-tailed hawks. I couldn’t safely climb up from any angle.

Aren’t they amazing? Momma hawk buzzed us a few times, so we didn’t stay long, but finding these guys made me think about some of the other wildlife Tom and I have seen while in search of the wild horses. So, I thought I’d share some of those images with you just for fun. The ranges have so much to offer and the variety of wildlife is part of the appeal. I don’t know exactly what all of these creatures are, so I will give only location if I’m not certain and maybe some of you can fill in the blanks.

In no particular order and certainly not fully representative of what’s out there. πŸ™‚

Close enough to the Piceance Creek HMA to include, a family of bald eagles.

The little eaglet calls out to its parents

Pryor Mountain HMA in Montana

Handheld image taken with a long lens very early morning - so not crystal clear - of a black bear. Pryor Mountains, MT

Lucky dragonfly - Big Horn Canyon - Pryor Mountains, MT

Toad. Not sure what kind. Big Horn Canyon, Pryor Mtns, MT

Turkey vulture - Big Horn Canyon, Pryor Mtns., MT

Horned lark - McCullough Peaks HMA near Cody, WY

Desert cottontail - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Pronghorn - Green Mtn HMA, Wyoming

Sage grouse - Green Mtn HMA, WY

Elk - White Mountain HMA near Rock Springs, WY

Meadowlark - White Mountain HMA, WY

Killdeer - Salt Wells HMA, WY

Badger - Salt Wells HMA, WY

Pronghorn - Salt Wells HMA, WY

Mule deer - Adobe Town HMA, WY

I have no idea what these little guys are (Meadow lark?), but they were so well camouflaged that I almost stepped on them! McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Baby birds - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

MacGillvray’s warbler - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Bull snake - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Chipmunk - Chippy. They're all chippies to me. πŸ™‚ Red Desert , WY

Bluebird - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Grasshopper - Red Desert, WY

Coyote - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Dragonfly - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Duck - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

A little bird hitchhiking on the back of a Banker pony (which they are sometimes called). Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

Chippy - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Lizard - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Horned toad - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Corolla - Outer Banks, NC

North Carolina deer - Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Geese - Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Carrot Island - Outer Banks, NC

I have no idea what kind of bird, but they sang beautifully and had a mud nest close to the red-tailed hawks. Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

At the entrance to the mud nest. Piceance Creek HMA, CO

Proximity of the mud nest to the hawk's nest - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Location and view of the mud nest. Coyotes were yipping in the valley while I took these pictures. Very eerie since their voices echoed all around me.

Brewer's Blackbird - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Some kind of ground squirrel - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Jerusalem cricket - Salt Wells HMA, WY.

Burrowing owl - Sand Wash Basin HMA, CO

Robins bathing - Pryor Mtn HMA, MT

Golden eagle - Adobe Town HMA, WY

Red-tailed hawk - Adobe Town HMA, WY

Bighorn ram - Little Book Cliffs HMA, CO

Northern Shrike - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Rattlesnake - Sand Wash Basin HMA, CO

Prairie falcon - Dishpan Butte HMA, WY

Solitary sandpiper - Great Divide Basin HMA, WY

Marmot - Pryor Mtn HMA, MT

Jackrabbit - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Cottontail - Sand Wash Basin HMA, CO

Pronghorn babies - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

While I love and admire all the wildlife, the only reason I have any of these photos to share with you is because I went out specifically to see the wild horses. They are the main attraction. They are my passion, my inspiration and they are what draws me out to these remote and remarkable locations.

Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images by Pam Nickoles Photography, along with all site content are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. Photos and/or text may not be used, downloaded or reproduced in any form without express written permission from Pam Nickoles Photography. Feel free to share, but please respect my copyright.

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28 Responses to “Wildlife Of The Wild Horse Ranges”

  1. Wonderful pics Pam. I am wondering if the nest that you nearly stepped on is a Killdeer nest. They tend to lay their eggs on the bare ground with very little ground cover. I have even seen them amongst the gravel in a parking lot before!!

  2. Lethie Says:

    What a nice collection of all the critters. Really enjoyed this. I live in the woods here in FL and enjoy watching and feeding a few critters of my own. I especially love the little white squirel that comes to eat sunflower seeds out of my bird seed plate on my deck railing. I also have some redtail hawks around, owls, deer, raccoons, possum, and an assortment of birds. I just like to sit and watch them eat and they are a main source on entertainment for me. I don’t have any pictures of them to share but wildlife is wonderful. Thank you for sharing, I liked the baby hawks and the dragon fly photos. The baby hawks were so cute.

  3. pnickoles Says:

    Ah, that could be Lori. I have seen the same thing. In the gravel, next to railroad tracks. Yikes! πŸ™‚

    Sounds like a great place to enjoy the critters Lethie. The little hawks really were amazing. So glad we happened upon them!

  4. Jerry Says:

    I was going to say the same thing regarding that ground nest. I have had them in places around here where I live, and they seem to just pick most any place to set up a nest. Really got some great photos here. Those baby antelope I am thinking are pretty new with the color they are showing. I saw one close to the road out on 15 mile this year but my camera was still in the bag. I still am kicking myself.

  5. bev Says:

    Wow!!! I’ll have to use you as my Wildlife Reference now!!! Thanks for sharing, those who love wild horses love all the other creatures, great and small…

  6. patricia field Says:

    Loved seeing the creatures and landscapes of the various HMA’s. Also great to see some wildlife on the shore of my state NC. Thanks for all of the beautiful images!!


    Thanks for sharing Pam. It is so wonderful for me to see all these beautiful creatures living in harmony! Especially to see the Wyoming pictures where my boy once ran free! Some day when I get a chance to visit I hope I still see the precious wild horses. Your pictures are the best!

  8. Forest Horse Says:

    What a great journey for a Monday morning. Thank you!

  9. celeste Says:

    Thank you for sharing the assortment of photos with all the different critters many of us never get a chance to see in the wild. They are all beautiful! Like you, my heart is with the horses, but I do love the other creatures, too. Thank you!

  10. Rachel Says:

    You had me; I was enjoying this post … then you showed the snakes. I keep having nightmares about trying to drive myself to a hospital while my leg falls off.

  11. Margaret Says:

    Pam I hope you were using that super long lens of yours getting that shot of the rattlesnake! Sorry they aren’t a favorite of mine…

    Isn’t Mother Nature amazing???? I mean how did all this DNA stuff come to create all these incredible animals–including that icky snake????!!!!

    You saw a bald eagle????? Holy Wow! That must have been an amazing moment.

    Loved the butterfly hitchhiking. I love that the pony just didn’t think a thing of it.

    The horses way at the top must have been thinking–two leggeds? and they don’t want us to run this way and that??? What is with this. They were totally on the alert. But also seemed so interested.

    I know I asked before but I forget what you said–the 24 mile loop at Rock Springs–if you stay on the loop can you manage in a little car or do you need a 4 wheel drive???

  12. Maggie Frazier Says:

    super pictures – I agree with others that the nest must be a kildeers – they really to put them in the worst places – then try to tease you away from them pretending to be hurt!
    Main thing is the horses – but all these other creatures are a part of the whole picture.

  13. arlene Says:

    WOW Pam What a magnificent display of Nature and her loyal subjects, everyone of them healthy and thriving, I agree all are awesome , be none as awesome as the Horse……. i can only imagine your thrill, you certainly made my morning……………

  14. Craig Downer Says:

    Some great shots here. You must learn a lot by so observing and composing these revealing shots. Muchas Gracias!

  15. Mickey Bailey Says:

    Awesome Shots, i wish i was there, Keep em Coming, Thanks ,Mickey B.

  16. Dr. Bill and Pat Rice Says:

    O.K., Daughter – more of your awesome artistry! Check the one you say is a horned toad, as I think it is another version of desert lizard (note the hind legs). Great collection, all for the price of a mustang snapshot! GO, GIRL! L&P, Us

  17. Karen McLain Says:

    Great shots Pam, I love being able to see all that is out there. Fantastic shots! Glad you got to meet Rachel, met here a few months back.

  18. pnickoles Says:

    Hey Jerry – hope we can get up your way sometime this summer. Now you must keep that camera ready at all times! πŸ™‚ Nothing on my boy yet?

    Yup, all creatures Bev. πŸ™‚

    Hi Patricia – have you been to see the horses in your state? So much different seeing them in their environment there than here out west. I really enjoyed that trip.

    Hi Kelly – how are you doing? Tell me again what HMA your boy is from.

  19. pnickoles Says:

    You’re very welcome Forest Horse. Thanks for stopping by!

    Thank you for taking the time to view the post and sharing your thoughts Celeste.

    Rachel, you must get that imagination of yours reined in! HA! It was a great time with you out there. Can’t wait to do it again…no snakes.

  20. E L Olsen Says:

    You are great. All neat pictures. You bet! No one really knows what is out here until you take a little time to sit down and enjoy the beauty around you. Keep it going, girl.

  21. pnickoles Says:

    Hi Margaret – that rattler was moving pretty slow because it was a pretty cool day…and I kept a respectable distance for sure! The loop at Rock Springs is manageable in a car if you stay on the main road. Better hurry before the roundup. 😦

    Hi Maggie – I rescued a killdeer from a parking lot when I was in high school. I called it KD (you know, KillDeer – original). Its wing was broken, so it couldn’t be released. If memory serves, I took it to a bird rescue. I did the same thing with a Horned lark that someone brought me although Mistletoe (he came to me at Christmastime) lived with me for almost a year before he went to the rescue. He sang so beautifully each morning. Again, broken wing, but still a wonder.

  22. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks for sharing your morning with me Arlene. πŸ™‚

    Ah Craig – as you know, the critters have much to teach us. I love my classroom. Hope you’re doing well!

    Thanks Mickey! More to come…

  23. pnickoles Says:

    Hi Bill – I can remember Dad having one of those Horned toads when we lived in California. I don’t see them a lot, but when I do, I go back to that memory. Was fun spending some time with David the other night. We’ll have to do that again soon. Hope you’re both doing well!

    Hey Karen – hope you’re having a great time. πŸ˜‰

    Thank you so much E.L. πŸ™‚

  24. Barara Joseph Says:

    Horses are my passion also but I do LOVE all wild life & since I don’t get out much to see it all now, seeing your BEAUTIFUL PICTURES is great.
    Thank you for sharing & reminding us that there is more than just horses out there. Where would we be with-out all the other critters?

  25. Bev Pettit Says:

    Amazing collection of images Pam! Thank you for sharing them with us!

  26. TJ Says:

    Simply fantastic collection!! I was waiting for the burrowing owl(s) and – particularly – that crazy orange-eyed rattlesnake from Sand Wash Basin! Excellent post.

  27. Debbie Says:

    Pam, as always, you don’t disappoint. The photos are lovely and totally moving:)


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