This was my first year participating in the Bighorn Sheep count for the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. We were required to attend a half day orientation on learning about Bighorn and how to distinguish sex and age. It was very helpful but for a first time counter I had a hard time determining all of those different factors quickly while watching the sheep graze and disappear down into the watering hole areas. My counting partner and I counted a total of 18 unique sheep over the three day event. Mostly it was one large herd that showed up every day. We were about 800-1000' up on a ridge so observing and counting them was difficult without high powered optics. My camera was limited in power so most of the below images are cropped heavily to zoom in.
All of the pictures from the trip are here
Here are a few pictures from the trip. I spent three nights at Culp Valley and one night at Blair Valley.
A Ram, a yearling and an Ewe it looks like. There is actually a forth sheep behind the Ram
Blue or Black collar sheep in the middle on this photo
An older Ram and possible a younger Ram pop up out of nowhere at the west end of the canyon around 12pm on the second day
Seven sheep, one big Ram and the red collar again
13 sheep in this picture. There is at least one older Ram and one younger Ram. Also a Yellow and possible Beige collar. You will need to download and zoom in to find all 13 sheep
Here is the view of the Palms from our count site. You can see how far away we were. High powered optics allowed us to view the Bighorn but my camera suffered at 300mm.
Taking advantage of the new moon on the July 4th weekend I tried once again to take some star pictures. I had some slightly better results but still have plenty of room to learn and improve on taking night pictures.
Polaris Star Trails
Ursa Major - AKA, The Big Dipper hung low in the night sky at 1am
Milky Way **I think**
Great camouflage helps this grasshopper stay hidden in the boulders
Some Mule Deer in Shelter Valley
There were two mother deer and their fawns following close behind
Close up of one of the fawns
Sunset over Granite Mtn in Blair Valley
Banded Rock Lizard in Blair Valley
This little Antelope Squirrel was eating the fruit from a cactus ball, amazing how he handles the cactus and the thorns!
More photos of the Bighorn and other areas of Anza Borrego can be see here