Valle Grande, an enormous Caldera, story.  North of  Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos, New Mexico.

This feature is so huge that even my pano lens couldn't capture it in one photo.  This is a four shot pano.  Click on the above image for the high res version.

This little mound is a bubble of lava that occurred after the big eruption.  

A female? Horned lark Eremophila alpestris photographed on the floor of the Caldera as well as the following shots except as noted.

A male? Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris

Prarie Dog (Cynomys parvidens {probably})  The positive ID is the tail section which is kind of hidden out of sight.  They were whistling back and forth like asking if this was Ground Hog day or because of Ground Hog day.

"Wow, lets build a snow dog."

Coyote (Canis latrans) also taken on the floor of the Caldera.

"A hunting I will go."

Same Coyote, different angle.  Wants to make sure no Indians are following him, as he kept looking behind.

Tidy whitey rear and the rest of him, kind of Eagle like, kind of Hawk like also.  Didn't ever see enough of him for a positive ID.  Chime in if you recognise.  On Highway 4 after the Caldera, shot from my car window.

So, I woke up to this White Christmas on Saturday morning.  Camping at 7K feet does have it's advantages.  I pulled up a shade and let out a laugh, another shade, another laugh, I couldn't believe the joy of seeing this without the problem of being "snowed" in, which was my first thought.  My car is equipped for the snow but the trailer, not so much.

It was very wet, clingy snow, the kind you make snowmen out of or snowballs or snowomen, if you are so inclined.

And me without a snow shovel or snow brush.

If you are ever in this area.....  BTW, That Las vegas on the sign is Las Vegas, NM not NV.  Imagine my confusion when I kept seeing mileage signs to "Las Vegas" until I actually arrived there and I was still in New Mexico.

All above photos were taken with a Canon EOS 5D MKii camera body and a 100 to 400mm 1:4.5-5.6 L IS telephoto zoom lens as well as a wide angle zoom: 24-105mm L IS 1:4 USM lens.


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