|Big Horn Sheep|
My friend Jessica and I went looking for animals to photograph, and specifically yesterday we were looking for Big Horn Sheep. A few weeks ago, totally by accident, we stumbled on the Red River flock. I knew these gentle and magnificent animals had been reintroduced into Arizona and then New Mexico wilderness areas after having been almost totally killed off by diseases carried by domestic sheep. I did not know how well they were doing until I saw them in Red River, and then yesterday along the eastern and western edges of the Rio Grande River Gorge.
In the two weeks since the accidental sighting along the Red River photographers have been quietly telling us where else they can be found. But as the picture above indicates you have to look closely. They camouflage quite nicely, and make you wonder how many I have seen but not noticed.
This small flock with two adult rams was along an escarpment defining the path of the Rio Grande River as it emerges from the Rio Grande Gorge. You had to look up. This light colored ram half way up was one of the first we noticed and we were seriously looking for them. Focusing on this beautiful ram we almost missed the girls and youngsters. We parked below and were deciding to walk up so we did not spook him when we noticed almost right beside us the rest.
|Moving single file|
We sat down on a berm beside the road so we could steady our cameras and were safely out of the way of the sporadic traffic. Two women with big cameras and long lenses - not the little snap takers or an iphone. Now while the sheep were above the eyes of the average passenger in a car we were not. And yet only one of three cars actually noticed what we were doing and why. Only one out of four slowed its progress to lean out the window or pop through the sun hood to take a picture.
Yeah, they might be old hat for the locals but you would think the visitors would be enthralled. Not. And the Big Horns were doing everything to be a photo opportunity.
I took over 500 pictures of these wonderful animals. My friend Jessica a similar amount. They seemed to have no fear of us. The rams looked majestic, the ewes uninterested, and the kids from last spring practiced their climbing skills.
Our lives, even our vacations are so jammed packed with things to do we not only do not stop and smell the roses but we miss what is right beside us.
So take a tip from the Big Horns and stop and look at the world around you. Or just lie down on a warm basalt rock and watch the river below you.