January 10, 2010

Watching Wildlife

by Maggie Brendan

On a recent trip out West to do research for my new series, I enjoyed seeing firsthand wildlife at its finest against the backdrop of the rugged peaks of the snow capped Tetons and lush quiet whisper of the prairie winds rustling through the Cheyenne wheat fields on the warm September afternoons. Besides the grandeur of the fabulous Tetons, Old Faithful or Wyoming prairies, it was a special treat to see wildlife that I don’t ordinarily see. About the only thing I observe through the windows of my office are squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and variety of birds with an occasional hawk roosting on my fence post, much to the chagrin of the Cardinals.


I tried to envision how Lewis and Clark or the everyday homesteader or cowboy must have felt traveling along the Snake River observing the undisturbed wildlife before the development of the Westward movement. It must have been incredible despite the hardship they had to contend with. Watching an eagle glide effortlessly across the pristine blue sky then spread his wings wide to swoop down for its prey was a peaceful transition of time that I’d left behind in the busy Atlanta suburbs. Fall is an excellent time to see golden eagles perched on fence post or utility lines in trees and outcroppings of rocks with a watching eye for prey in the marshes and meadows. The serene landscape filled with free roaming shaggy headed bison grazing, or graceful elk and deer gave me a sense of spiritual centeredness in my soul as they meandered slowly along in herds to their destination, seemingly without a care in the world. The bison graze continually on the sage flats while the pronghorns disappear from the meadows before the snow flies.


Anywhere there was a lake or water source, we saw Moose and I was astounded at their size. I watched as one stood in the stream with her calf and realized I didn’t have my camera. But later we snapped pictures of a few resting along a creek. I’m still in awe at the size of their heads and their simple beauty entranced me. Apparently that’s all I’ve been talking about as evidenced by a silver bead in the shape of a moose that my daughter gave me for Christmas adorning a silver bracelet!

I even saw a red fox with a bushy tail tamed by the B-J Wranglers at their ranch, roaming the grounds before their chuckwagon entertainment started. We discovered graceful trumpeter swans gliding across emerald lakes along the highway. With burnished hillsides in gold and reds, fall creeps slowly through the Grant Teton National Park and many of the summer birds have flown south, though an occasional bluebird or meadowlark was spotted. I was only disappointed by the fact that I never saw a bear. Not once! Maybe on my next trip.

Wildlife holds a special place in me and I do tend to write with some detail of the landscape, and animals in my books. But I hope I only give enough to set the scenes up and not bore anyone. We take for granted the rugged beauty and wildlife put here for us to enjoy, observe and admire. Our environment and wildlife were entrusted to mankind and should be respected and protected.

Happy Trails, 


Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Maggie,
The photos are fantastice. So is your writing.

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

What a sweet thing to say, Molly. I am a lover of outdoors. I have so many wonderful pictures that I took. I plan on putting some different ones on my blog soon.

Carly Kendall said...

Wonderful pictures! It sounds like your new series will be terrific. I really enjoy reading about the rugged settings and wildlife in a story. It makes the book feel more real and it is relaxing. Thank you for sharing these pictures.

Renee said...

Beautiful pictures. I fell in love with buffalo when I was a child. I always thought it sad that they had pretty much disappeared from Kansas. Now, people are slowly bringing them back. They obviously aren't roaming without boundaries, but at least we can see them against the prairie backdrop.

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

Renee, actually these are free range buffalo that were in the Teton Nat'l Park. That's the reason that I was able to take that picture right next to my car window which now that I think about it now was a foolish thing to do. He could have charged the car but seem content to graze. A Park service ranger, told me to keep moving along. Still, I have to say the Moose are my favorite.:)

Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carla Gade said...

What a wonderful research trip! Those are great photos!

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

Thanks, Carla-when I get some extra time, I've got a lot of other great shots to put on my blog. It was a wonderful trip!

Tina Dee Books said...

I love the pics of the buffalo in all that golden grass, and the moose. Great post!

Stephen Bly said...

Great photos. . .excellent post!

On the trail in ID,