Saturday, 21 September 2013

Landscapes from Waterton

Although not much of a Landscape guy, but the environment around Waterton demands images to be taken.
Here is an image from the Tuesday.
Unfortunately on Wednesday we had rain all day, so we had no images, on the Thursday we had great light.
I know I don't really do justice to these scenic views but I have to share :)
I can hear Zel and Tim giggling already at these poor attempts.
I am hoping that the other viewers will endure my indulgence here.
This is beautiful country, and everyone should get a chance to see it.
I'll end this here, hoping someone out there enjoys these images. Even with no wildlife, this is the environment that wildlife needs, let's keep it around.

Black Bear and one Blonde Bear shot (20130919) Leaving Waterton.

All checked out and headed home, we were planning to visit the Buffalo Paddock and Maskingonge once again. We were pretty satisfied with our visit and couldn't stop talking about the bears, elk and deer we had seen, when there is a "bear jam" on the highway ahead. We look around and find the object that everyone is looking at, and decided it was worth stopping for a bit.
Even though it was in the middle of the day and sunny, these younger bears have to venture out when the big fellas are are taking respite so that they too can put on a little weight for the upcoming winter.
It was very breezy, and there was quite a lot of traffic stopping and looking so this fella was on alert the whole time, making certain no one bigger than him was around.
The bushes it was travelling through at times were taller than the bear, so vigilance on its part was important.
This unit here was thoroughly entertaining. From a photographer's perspective this encounter had almost everything you could want: good light, a cooperative participant, close distance! The standing bear is always a great shot, and this bear was more than happy to oblige. I think my best shot of the bear standing.
This bear was a real treat, but it was time to leave him to his business and get on with our trip. We stopped at Maskinonge and there was little bird life, we expect the fine weather that started late in the evening was likely the cause as the birds would have been able to resume their migration travel. We did find one sleeping immature swan. We snuck in, got our photo's and snuck back out.
I would like to wrap up this post and thus the trip with what, in my opinion, was the best encounter of the trip and that is with the bear I now call Deb :)
I hope everyone makes a point to have a little wildlife in there week!

Grouse, Black Bear, Brown Bear (20130919) Waterton Day 3 morning

Well here we go again, Day 3, and we are greeted with a clear cool crisp morning. With the change in the weather we are anticipating another great day in search of bears. Having driven through snow yesterday we anticipated that we would find some white stuf on the surrounding mountains. This is sunrise, and we had vistas like this around us all morning long, tough to take:)
As beautiful as the morning was the animals were not out and about. Our first sighting wasn't until 8:20 when we found this hen Ruffed Grouse, we had watched as two of her chicks had crossed the road.
Here is a second shot, in this one you should be able to see the break in the black band on her tail, this is what tells you that she is a hen. The roosters do not have this interruption in the band, it is dark all the way across.
We finaly found our first bear, this lone Black unit on a side hill. This is a younger bear,
15 minutes later we found a Sow with cubs, and strongly believe that this family unit is different from the one that we have been watching in the area for the past two days. Here are the cubs.
Here is mom, and the white on her chest looks to form a diamond, not the stright "V" lines of the other mother.
30 minutes later we were able to once again find Dopey. He is looking like he is putting on weight better than any other bear that we have seen.
Here is a shot that would you lead you to believe that he is actually quite a large bear. This was our last opportunity of the morning as we had to hustle into town to get checked out of the hotel on time.
That wraps up our Thursday morning tour, hope you are enjoying the bear shots!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Sow and cubs, Black Bear, Chocolate Bear (20130918) Waterton Park afternoon run.

The rain persisted all day and although we had a productive morning we were hoping for even better luck, but that is our fate, to always be optimisitic:) We were able to find Dopey again, and he was a little closer to the road, so we spend some time watching him. I selected this shot as it really shows off his belly! He is such a great and cooperative subject, very efficient in his eating, very slow and methodical.
As I mentioned earlier the storm had "grounded" many birds, here is a soaking wet Redtail Hawk.
As night started to close in we were thinking it was going to be a bust day when Jamie spotted a Black Sow with a Brown cub, but we didn't get any shots. We rounded a bend at almost quarter to seven and here was Mom with her two cubs, which we had seen the day before. And they were close. He is a shot of one of the cubs standing to check things out.
Here is a shot of Mom, I like the clarity of her eyes in this shot Taken at 30mm with no crop.
Here is the shot of the whole family.
Here is a nice shot of one of the youngsters standing and looking around. I love the little gut that is revealed.
Here is a shot of Mom with her white "V" showing, a very telling mark for identification.
On the last couple of turns before we hit the highway, we found this nice Chocolate bear on a cliff. It was pretty close, and moved even closer as we pulled up.I expect that I was less than 20 feet from this bear as I squeezed of my shots. Here is a shot at 120mm, and no crop. It was quite dark, and I am pleased with this shot.
Just up the highway we found one more Black bear, but I couldn't get any decent shots of it. We grabbed a bite to eat, downloaded pictures and headed off to bed. We shall see what tomorrow brings. Have a great Wildlife week.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Elk, Brown-Black Bears (20130918) Waterton Park Day 2 morning run.

Out of the sack early and on the road inspite of the heavy rain.We were not expecting to see much due to the weather and were pleasantly surprized by the results:)  Our sightins started with this bull elk and his harem.
Just up the road, Jamie spotted a couple of elk close to the road and I managed a shot of this cow.
He seemed to have the "hot side" of the vehicle as he also spotted this little Whitetail Buck. We had to back up slowly hoping he would hold, and he did.
The poor weather drove many migrating birds down to the ground for protection. As a result we were able to find a Mountain Bluebird that was well off track.
We took a little spin around other areas of the park and found a Swan and this Great Blue Heron, along with Hairy woodpeckers, and even a Belted Kingfisher.
We were able to find a couple of bears later in the morning including this rotund unit I will refer to as Dopey. I love its eyebrows, they look like that great uncle of yours that never trims their eyebrows:)
This bear is doing pretty well as far as getting a winter belly in place, this is a beautiful example of a Chocolate colour variation.
We are hoping to find this bear again tomorrow in some bright light. I'll end this post here, and an afternoon post is coming soon. I hope you get to enjoy some wildlife this week!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Bucks and Black bears, and a Blonde Bear (20130917) evening run.

We headed into town, got checked in and grabbed a little chow. We downloaded the morning photo's had a couple of beverages and grabbed a nap, it was an early morning. As we got into "bear country" we spotted both the Sow with cubs and the large brown unit, here is another shot of that bear.
As mentioned from this morning we were keeping an eye out for birds. Jamie spied this fellow right at t the end of the road.
Things were rolling along pretty slow all afternoon, but we did find this young Black bear to shoot.
As we headed into town due to night fall we spotted this Blonde Beauty, and it made the whole trip for me.
We were able to anticipate the direction and pace of travel, and so were positioned to get some great shots.

And here is pretty much the closest we had been to bear all day. This is a no crop shot at 210 mm :)
As we "rolled" into town near dark we were graced with the presence of this fabulous Ram, as some would say, he has a pretty nice satchell there!
That wraps up Day 1, I hope you enjoy. Here is to another great Wildlife week, let's keep them going!

Bucks and Black bears, and a Blonde Bear (20130917) Waterton day 1

The day started with Jamie's call @ 4:50 a.m., he was on his way, a little pumped for the trip to Waterton to see if we could find some Black Bears.On the road by 5:35  in the dark. The trip headed South and was uneventful until sun rise when we greeted by this Bachelor herd of nine Muley Bucks.
After that it was a moose, that didn't want to stick its head out of the bushes so we could get a shot, a Coopers Hawk and an American Kestrel. Just before 9:00 we had our first nice Black Bear.
Just up the roadside there was this Sow and her two cubs, they wer feeding like mad, getting ready for winter.
The bears were continuously out of reach for us, there was nothing of a close encounter of any sort all morning long. With our new found Warbler knowledge we were on the lookout and "listen out" for any birds that were present. We wre able to locate Yellow Rumps all day long.
Here is as shot of a nice Brown colouration bear, it was feeding steadily, and efficiently. This bear did not move much at all and seemed very intent on eating everything within reach prior to moving even a foot. I think you can tell from the "Caboose" that this is a healthy bear.
We latter found a couple of small bears way off in the distance to wrap up our morning with a count of 8. Another post for the afternoon run will be coming quickly behind this one.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Cougar sightings at the Cross means we have to go look. (20130915)

On Saturday I took my old boss and his wife out for an early morning walkat the Cross, they had never been and we had been planning an outing for many months. Even though we were out early, I believe the recent heat here has driven the critters and birds into the shade, wherevever they can find it.  As we climbed out of the Pine Creek bottom we found this Sapsucker.
Along with this fella we also found this Yellow Rumped Warbler.
Even with the wildlife hiding there is a lot to catch your eye and attention, like this thistle blossom.
We got to spend a little time with this Downey Woodpecker, working along the fenceline.
There are several berries ripening and drawing our eye with their colours.
We had a great time and spent 3 1/2 hours taking the sights on Saturday. 
On Sunday Kerrie wanted to get out even earley with the hopes of getting a glimpse of the cats in the area, but another very warm day kept everyone hiding.  We were greeted by three Ruffed Grouse as we walked up the driveway and were enjoyed a first class sunrise as we took a peek around our first vantage point. During our walk we found many warblers, Palm, Yellow Rumped and even a Kinglet or two. Kerri go her first Sapsucker of the year. The highlight was a fly-by o close to 30 Sandhill cranes that appeared and very quickly glided by overhead.
There are also many flowers that are late bloomers around the property to gain your attention.
We too had a great walk and an enjoyable day. I hope you too got to get out for a little wildlife time on the weekend.