Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Was it a Moose?
(a quick sketch- internet's been down since the thunderstorm started at 2 pm until just now)
We went on a long walk this morning, the reverse direction we usually head in, and poked around places we haven't been in a long time. It was hot, and dry, and we saw no mammals at all, just a few bluebirds. It was strangely silent, no breeze, no coyotes singing.
As we were getting close to our refreshment point on the walk, the Lightning Lounge, right before the hill to home, Molly took off into the aspen. I was in front, so Jon couldn't see what was going on, just saw her running.
I saw a huge male UNGULATE with big antlers. It was a solid brown color, and not a mule deer. I thought it was an elk, a bull elk. It crashed away with Molly in pursuit and us calling her back. She didn't come at first.
What I noticed was: it was as big as a horse. It didn't run as fast as female elk do. It was silent. Its antlers were covered with something soft.
And as I thought about it, because this happened very fast, the antlers weren't sharp pointed, rather they were rounded. But this was a back view and memory rewind of a fleeing animal.
Molly came back. If only I could remove her memory card and pop it into the computer to see just what it was.
Elk or Moose?
We thought the elk on the mesa had gone away, but in the last week saw a small herd again. The cattle were only up there for a short time, maybe just to prove the land is used for ranching. I've been poring through my animal guide books this afternoon.
A neighbor told us a moose had been seen up here last year and I just laughed it off. They've been reintroduced into Colorado though, and one was documented walking through town south of here, in Norwood, where we're going to the rodeo on Friday, where the dessert contest was held.
When you see an animal you've never seen before, you tend to identify it according to what you've already seen. Like when I saw a mountain lion while on horseback, I thought, "what a strange deer, with that long tail and those small ears."
You can expect me to be moose obsessed for awhile now.