photo from donjordanoutdoors.com
I did not take this photo...I borrowed it from the website donjordanoutdoors.com. I wish I had asked Dan to take his photo myself, but I didn't think of it at the time. While he is a world-renowned wildlife photographer/expert (his work has appeared in National Geographic and his videos were included in the television series Earth), I got the feeling he is probably a lot more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.
Dan and his wife live up this lane on the side of a mountain just outside the village of Silver Gate, Montana.
I mean, seriously, isn't this the dream home of any mountain/wildlife lover?!
Dan took us inside his tiny gallery and shared some of his work with us, but my favorite part of our visit was photographing the critters that hang around outside Dan's cabin.
We enjoyed the antics of some pine martens jumping around through the trees.
Pine martens are members of the weasel family and they live in tree holes or hollow trees. They are omnivores and will eat just about anything.
Their cute appearance is deceptive, as they have very sharp teeth and claws and are quite vicious killers of smaller animals.
Dan feeds them in the hollow logs, and they are not shy about coming close and "posing" for photographs. But you better be quick on the shutter...they don't pause for too long!
Dan also has some gorgeous birds that hang around his cabin. This is a Clark's nutcracker...
A little downy woodpecker...
Nuthatches of the white-breasted...
...and red-breasted varieties.
A male pine grosbeak...
...and female counterpart.
Wow! Look at that gorgeous plumage!
When the pine marten wasn't looking, a cute red squirrel quickly came in to snatch a snack.
This cute critter had his own little adventure at Dan's place. Kim needed to pee in the worst way, so he climbed through the deep snowdrifts to find some privacy behind a tree. Apparently in the process he stepped into a low spot and sunk shoulder-deep into the snow and floundered around for a bit trying to get up again. He thought he was going to have to holler for help, but he finally managed to find his footing. He came back covered with snow...I snapped this photo after he had brushed most of it off. Always an adventure traveling with my man...
What a fun morning we had, spending time photographing...
Dan Hartman's wild critters.