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Bighorn Sheep-A bit of local wildlife

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wild Bighorn Sheep, Lake Mead Area, Nevada

Although my profile says I live in Los Angeles, I have been in the Las Vegas area for the past couple of years with work and academics, and will return to CA after my overseas adventure. I have been working with the National Park Service during this time and part of my function was to be a photographer for various publications and needs. Most people don't realize that outside of the Las Vegas strip, lies the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA), Red Rock National Conservation Area, Desert National Wildlife Refuges, Mount Charleston, City of Henderson, Boulder City, Hoover dam and a whopping 3 million people living in the area. Most people living here never even consider hanging out on "The Strip."

Lake Mead, Nevada

Lake Mead is beautiful, and surrounded by various mountains and scenic areas. I could go on and on about how many recreation things there are to do in the area, but you may clink on this link to find out. Lake Mead connects to Hoover dam and of course the Colorado river runs through the area. Boulder City is a small town that lies in the gateway to Lake Mead (at least on one side of it) and is usually the way people drive to the lake or Hoover Dam. It has very small town feel and everyone tends to know everyone. This is where our Lake Mead NPS headquarters sits in an old, historic building.

Lake Mead, Nevada-Bighorn Sheep

Wild Bighorn Sheep,  Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

One of the popular draws for those who like wildlife, are the Bighorn sheep. They live throughout the rocky, mountainous terrain. Most of them are skittish around people but do come down into certain areas where you can view them on occasion. If you hike through any of the canyons or on the mountain trails, you can often spot them standing on cliffs high up above. We don't usually use the term "Ram" anymore for the male, but these are the sheep with the curved horns that you often see in nature shows or photographs. I was quite lucky to get these shots of the male Bighorn in his natural environment with a telephoto lens. I have hiked through various areas over the past couple of years and generally they are perched too far away on a mountain ledge to capture. Typically, they won't bother you, but it's advised not to squat down and bend your head down, as they might take this as a challenge.

Bighorns are beautiful creatures and at times, you  may see 60 or 70 of them together on the mountain areas. Occasionally, they wonder down into Hemenway Park (outside of Boulder City), which is a small grassy area they like to graze on. I often see tours company bring their groups to see them there.

Lake Mead Area, Nevada

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

As a side note: during the spring, in addition to the wonderful cactus life, we also have many types of wildflowers that grow in the desert areas. If you enjoy nature photography or just looking there is certainly enough to see. The River Mountain loop trail runs 35 miles around the River mountains (which is next to Lake Mead) and many people like to bike ride or hike around portions of it. It's a great place to see wildlife and nature. If you'd like to see a few more photos of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you may click on this link to see some pictures in my Flickr photo album.

Lake Mead Area, Nevada

River Mountain Loop Trail,  Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada


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