Sunday, 30 September 2012

Whitetail bucks, Full moon and Calf moose 120929

I thought I would tran another "moon shot" on Friday night, it was looking pretty nice off the front deck.
Jamie and I headed out look with the hopes of finding a couple of bull moose, first spots was this small group of bachelor buck whitetails.
Up the road a way we found this Cow and calf. I was surprised that he was still nursing at this date.

Here is a shot of him just before he disappeared.
 Just 200 yards up the road were these two young Whitetail bucks that were willing to show us their sporty new Spike:)
We were having a pretty dry morning on one of our prime roads, when we spoted two Ruffed Grouse, these birds were really quite skittish, is what will help them to become adults. Here is very poor shot of one of them.
I hope that everyone has a great Wildlife week.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Waterton Lakes Day 2 Part 2 120922

Okay how many bear shots can you take? On the Saturday although the numbers were way up, the distance was also increased significantly.  I will apologize in advance for the poor quality of many of these shots as the are at great distances, and I am only posting so you have an idea of what we saw.
But of course we have to start with a landcape shot:)
Here is a Black sow with a pair of cubs, one is black, the other is very blonde. This shot was taken at probably 7-800 yards away.
Here is anothe long distance shot. Here is another long distance show of a chocolat coloured sow with 3 black cubs, one of which has a very large whitish patch on its chest.
Here is another shot of this same bear, with its two siblings.
So that was 7 bears in two sightings, the numbers really pile up with sows and cubs.  Here is a lovely boar out getting some chow, a good sized bear, but not huge.
Here is another shot, a little loser up. We spent a full 30 minutes with this guy, I even got some video.

Here is a final shot. I had been hoping to get a bear, "standing up" all weekend, and wouldn't you know, on our last bear.
Wait, did I say our last bear, no that wasn't our last bear. Our last bear was this Cinnamon that we caught crossing the stream 250-300 yards below us. It was very late so my ISO was up to 5000.
Well that wrapped up my photo's for the trip. On the way home, we found about 20 elk, some deer, and even two Great Horned Owls. It was a great couple of days. Thanks to Tim and Zel for being a couple of good sports, and great traveling companions. 
Have a super Wildlife week!

Ruffed Grouse, Black bears at Waterton Lakes Day 2 Part 1 120922

The Landscape guys were at it again at daylight while they were catching the sun, I spotted two far off hillside bears, then one tears across the opening and across the river,  Tim was the first one to spot it. Sorry no decent publishable shots. My first acceptable shots of the day were actually grouse.
I have to hand it to Tim he picked these birds out of tough conditions, and did a great job.
This second one is a male. Nice work Tim. Our 4th bear of the day was within sight of our fifth.
Something had spooked him as he was on the move in an atypical fashion for this type of year.
While waiting for another shot of this guy, a Coyote made an appearance.
This latest bear is one I think we might have seen the night before, he has quite a dark muzzle.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Blonde, Brown and Black betrs at Waterton Lakes (Day 1 afternoon) Part 2 120921

Well enough teasing, here are a couple of shots of Bears. this first guy may have been the biggest bear we saw all trip.

You have to love his length from chest to kaboose. The distance between his ears is another indication of his size, a beautiful bear focussing on fattening up for winter. I had to throw this next shot in to show some of the colour variation that we saw. This Blond sow has what looks like a very healthy cub.
Here is a closer look at her colours.
Within 50 yards of her was this fella, I posted this shot as it shows off the berry availability in the area.
Here is another shot of Blackie, you will see that his ears are not that far apart.
I will finish off this post with a couple of shots of a nice Chocolate juvenile bear.
And this shot will finish off the post for Day 1, and tomorrow, actually turns out better, if you can believe that.  We saw nine bears on Day 1, a Chocolat, a Blonde and 7 Black bears.
I hope you enjoy the post!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Stellars Jay Waterton Lake (day 1 afternoon) Part 1 120921

After lunch and a bite to eat, we headed out for a little more exploration, and high expectaions. we headed up to Cameron Lake. It was HOT 30C in the mountains in September is unexpected.  I have been after a Stellar's Jay all year, and was rewarded as soon as we arrived at the lake.
I love the white over the eye and the vertical Blue streak on the forehead.
Lots of life around the lake. A mixture of butterflies, ants, and bugs, like this Butterfly.
I can't resist another Stellar's Jay shots.
 There were also terrific colours all around.
Even the Chipmunks were out and about.
With that side trip completed, we headed out for the even, looking for Bears.  Stay tuned, you won't be disappointed.

Mule buck, Coyote, Bison, Black Bear at Waterton Lakes Morning 120921

Tim, Zel and I headed out at 5:45 a.m. from my place with the hope of spending as much time in the park as possible. We made Pincher Creek by sun up, traveling with Landscape guys has a serious affect on driving production, but you have to make an allowance for folks that can find beauty in the land.
We started off with one of the few remaining Swainson's hawks still present, news of a couple of black bear juveniles had us on a quest for early images. Incomplete directions, has us on the wrong road, or did it. We found this nice muley buck along with 5 others.
Along with the Muley's was this Coyote. I thought that I would throw his shadow in too.
After getting to the Park, we stopped in at the Buffalo paddock and found the small heard lounging around. This fellow looked to be the herd bull.
Now into the park, we thought we would take a cruise to see what we had for access. Since it was late morning, we were not expecting to see any bears. This was one of the closest encounters we had all weekend,  It was also one of the largest bears we would find on the two days.
45 minutes later we wre watching to yearling bears, one black and the second was a chocolat coloured unit. The black one came up to the road and gave us a pretty good look.
So with a morning count of 3 bears we decided to head into town to get our hotel room squared away and grab something to eat. Tune in for an update on the afternoon later on this week.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Rutting moose, great encounter while looking for Jamie's grizzlies. (120916)

Zel and I were out early this morning trying to find the two nice grizzlies that Jamie had captured images of last week. It was a nice clear morning and we kept an eye on the thermometer as it continued to drop.While we found no bears, we enjoyed the most exhilarating moose experience I have had in my life. It was unforgettable, and I don't know how to keep the photo's here under 100!
We started off by stopping and spotting the little immature bull that Tim and I found last weekend.  Then there was a cow and a calf a little further up the large swamp, as we looked even further up we spied what looked like two mature animals a couple of 1000 yards up the swamp. So we headed up the road. To our surprise we found the following:
 We'll call this one Paul's Cow.
We'll call this fella Paul's Bull. While I brought truck to a stop in a convenient spot to get some shots, Zel tells me that there is a "bigger" bull on his side of the road, back about 200 yards. We caught a glimpse of him, it appeared that he was making his way out to the road. In the mean time Paul's bull got up and started sparring with a dead spruce to announce his intentions.

Zel's Cow made an appearance, and not far behind came Zel's Bull. Here is a shot of the two of the together.
The two bulls seemed to be intent on having a little competition as to who should be entitled to the company of the ladies present.  Oh, I forgot to mention that further upon the west side of the road there were two more cows feeding (that made 6 moose). But wouldn't you know it, some brain dead driver came ripping through our little drama, and forced all the moose off the road. But Paul's bull wasn't happy until he was certain that he put the run on Zel's bull (even though Zel's bull looked to be quite a bit larger). Here is a last shot of Zel's Bull.
There was tension everywhere. Here is a shot of Zel's cow, passing by Paul's cow, you can see how they have their ears flattened down and they never take their eyes off one another.
Afterwards, Paul's Bull walked off into the woods with Zel's cow. Paul's Cow continued southbound down the road, and we caught up with her a little while later.
We went back and Paul's bull was feeding from the mineral lick next to the road. His antlers bear the remnants of the tree that he attacked while in the spruce thicket.

All in all we spent 75 minutes with these majestic beasts. A fabulous experience that I hope I never forget.  Here's hoping you have a great Wildlife week!

Redtail, Elk --Back to the Cross for Elk (120915)

After the great evening with Tim, Zel was interested in seeing if we could repeat the opportunity. We got out earlier so we could head right into the "zone". It was a quiet evening with a lovely south wind which would play in our favour.   We headed to high ground to survey the situation, and luckily enough we wre able to spot a few animals in an accessible area.  We would "check in every now and then to see if we were still on track and making appropriate progress.  As we passed on of the other trails this fellow broke out into the air.
 While we continued to work into position, things were looking very positive as we spotted this lone bull headed off across an open field.
As we kept an eye on the growing group we noticed that something wasn't right, they were spooked by something hundress of yards from us.  We decided on a new plan and we waited for 20 minutes to see if they would settle down, but no luck. I noticed that overall the vocal activity was significantly less than Friday night.  My guess is that the rut is pretty much over. On our way back to the truck we almost immediately saw one cow at a distant fenceline, and by the time we climbed the hill there were about 40-50 Elk in the field. We spotted a coupel of Mule deer, but no evidence of Zel's black bear he saw the night before. It was a great sunset, and we made it back to the vehicles just at dark.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Elk with odd antler placement Walk at the Cross (120914)

Last week I was hoping to get some Elk bugling for Zel, and we didn't have any luck. We were time constrained, so we didn't geto to some of the "prime" areas that I wanted to cover, so tonight we headed out an hour earlier with the anticipation of getting to the good the stuff. To start off we were putting up grasshoppers everywhere.
One Northern Harrier, and one Redtail hawk when we were more than halk way through our walk, things were looking slim. We came around a corner, and found this fellow feeding at about 110 yards.
When I got home and had time to take a better (and much more blown up) look, I noticed how odd his antler structure is.
He has two brow tines on the left antler and the right antler looks like it is coming out of his forehead.
In this shot you can see that he has a very short tine pointing almost straight forward on his right antler. As antlers are re-grown every year it would be interesting to see if the next set grow in the same places on his head. The bulls were bugling  occasionally and the cows were responding. It was a great experience. On the way out while I was checking the last washroom facility Zel spotted a black bear in the area where we had to walk through.  He seemed a little concerned, but we went walked through making a little noise, without any sort of incident. He was talking about that, all the way out to the truck. It was a great (and successful) evening out.