A couple of readers made comments about the bighorn sheep. First of all, people aren't allowed near them. Apparently we have diseases which can transmit to them. And, I WAS using my telephoto lens when I took my photos. Besides, I was across a ravine from them. I think the only reason I could actually hear them tearing off vegetation was the acoustics...sound bouncing off the rocks.
I have actually warned a guy once to stay away. One time, there were 3 of them, and he went marching right up to them! I told him, "Please stay away...we can make them sick!" I wasn't moving toward the bighorns when the big ram decided to move his herd. And, he simply moved them a few yards downwind, actually toward the fence that encompasses the bighorn preserve. I remember seeing him look down into Deep Canyon, so he must have heard something down there.
These are highly ENDANGERED animals, especially here in our mountains. I'll look now and see if I can find more info, for those of you who are interested.
Thanks, everyone! :-)
Here's one quote: "The behavioral response of bighorn sheep to human activity is considered to be highly variable and dependent upon many factors, including: 1) the type of activity, 2) an animal’s previous experience with humans, 3) size or composition of the bighorn sheep group, 4) location of the 2011 5-year Review for Peninsular bighorn sheep relative to elevation of the activity, 5) distance to escape terrain, and 6) distance to the activity (USFWS 2000a, p. 14). Responses can range from cautious curiosity to immediate flight or abandonment of habitat, as well as disruption of normal social patterns and resource use." And, another report stated that if a human approaches them from ABOVE, they will take flight quicker than if one approaches from below. Actually, I was fairly even with them, even slightly below, as you can see from the photos.
Apparently there are less than 200 bighorns in the southern Santa Rosa mountains, so to see 8 of them was quite a treat! I'm always very quiet and very careful and I DO NOT get too close to them. It's always a gift for me to view them, and I do see them quite often now. And, believe me, having a telephoto lens is a real treat! ;-)
This was my last photo of them. The big ram moved them further south, along this ridge line. HE is standing at the fence, with his butt to me. They were slightly below my area where I was walking back to my car at this point. They all looked healthy.