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! 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂 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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I’m a bit behind – these images were taken on a very bright (terrible light for picture taking), sunny day in September before the roundup. Tom and I visited the Green Mountain and Stewart Creek HMAs; part of the Red Desert Complex. We entered from the Bairoil side and came upon horses almost immediately.

A handsome grey boy

These guys seemed completely undisturbed by us. Strange. They're usually very flighty.

And as we continued west on the road out of Bairoil, we found some more horses headed to a creek for a drink.

Coming out of the creek

These are bachelor stallions

This stallion called out to the grey horses so I assumed he must be a member of the small band

And he was followed by another stallion

Together again, they all took off over a hill

This family wanted nothing to do with me even though I hung back because of the youngsters

A lounging antelope buck

As we were driving down a 2-track road, I noticed something in the brush quite a ways from us.

Most likely a cow I thought, but I wanted to be sure so I started hiking

This sage grouse shot up in front of me as I was walking out - they are so well camouflaged!

It was not a cow - it was a beautiful black stallion and he hadn't been gone very long.

We looked around for any signs of trauma or shell casings. We didn’t find anything that would indicate how this boy died. I always document what I find and based on some photos I took of the teeth, I was told he was probably only around eight years old. I’m always amazed at the feet of the wild horses. They’re always in such remarkable condition.

A perfectly designed wild horse hoof

We continued on and came upon another band of bachelors

The markings of the middle horse were so unique - the upside down V on his neck and his gorgeous stockings

Such harsh lighting for such beautiful horses.

This was a large bachelor band

A parting shot of a large band of horses at Stewart Creek

I sent an e-mail to the BLM field office in charge of the Red Desert Complex about the recent roundup. Below are the answers I received (my questions in italics):

Number of horses gathered: 1232
Number of mares PZP’d (what type): 193; all mares received the primer (1 cc liquid vaccine) and the booster (slow time-released pellets).
Number of horses released: 387 (of course this number does not accurately reflect the current populations of the Herd Management Areas as all horses were not gathered)
Number of fatalities: 12, however, 5 of these were not gather-related fatalities. Five horses were humanely euthanized due to serious, pre-existing conditions.
Where were the horses taken? Most of the horses were taken to either the Rock Springs, WY or the Canon City, CO horse facilities. A few horses were taken directly to the Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyoming.

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction permitted.)


Band stallion from the Green Mountain HMA near Baroil, WY

Since the roundup of the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming is supposed to take place in November, I thought I’d show off one of the many beautiful horses from that area.

My Mom loves this stallion. He’s from the Green Mountain HMA which is part of the large Red Desert Complex. I took this picture in April of 2007 as he was slowly working his way towards me for a better look. He had a beautiful pinto mare with him and a uniquely colored brown and grey yearling stud. I didn’t see this guy the last time we were out (this past September), but I saw a bachelor who looked very similiar right down to the stockings and distinctive white marking across the hindquarters.

It’s hard to comprehend that these gorgeous animals are about to be so cruelly displaced. Maybe this stallion will be one of the lucky ones that gets released or better yet, never captured. I so wish that for all of our wild horses…

There is a list of the herd areas, by state, that have pending roundups posted on my website:

Folks should be outraged by the sheer numbers to be taken, the wasted money spent to conduct these roundups and the incredibly sad fate of the horses losing their homes only to languish in long term holding or worse. Please speak up for the horses – we must inform the public and educate others about what is happening to these icons of the west (and the west is where they should stay – not removed, sterilized and relocated to private, unmonitored “sanctuaries” in the midwest per Ken Salazar’s proposal. There has to be a better solution that can be implemented).

Lots of wild horse information:

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