Sunday, 8 December 2013

Wild Horses, Moose, Northern Pygmy Owl (20131207) a first for Kerri

We had been struggling to decide where to go for our "track" over the past couple of days, so I tossed out the idea of going for horses, I knew it was going to be bone chilling cold, so these critters ould be out feeding as much as possible. Kerri had never been out to the area and was pumped with the idea. So inspite of the -30C with -40C wind chill values we headed out. I was a couple of minutes picking up Kerri but things were good and we had the promise of a good looking day. We made out initial pass through promising territory for otrher critters on the way to Wild Horse country but the cold weather obviously had everything shutdown. The key to being on alert for horses is finding "apples", We did that around 11:00, and at about 11:01 we spotted our first herd of the day a beautiful group of eight horses with a gorgeous stallion.
You can see the frost on his eyelashes! Here is a shot of the entire family. I will be doing a supplemental later with some individual shots of many of the horses we found today. I love the two horses in the top left back in the trees, it looks like we will have more mirror images of the Stallion running around our here.
So this was a great start with some terrific light. Giving the time and distance we had to cover, I was focussing heavily on the road when Kerri popped out with "Moose"! I spied a second immediately and we got stopped and lined up our first shots.  This is a young immature moose, just laying in the sun.
We then got out and started looking for the first moose that Kerri had spotted. It turns out that there were actually two nice mature bulls, and they even paused long enough for a shot or two. Hopefully these fine gentlement have worn themselves out passing their genes onto many cows this past breeding season.

Coming into our Lunch joint we found "apples" and this little group of 6 mustangs, this is the Stallion of this group. I will post a couple more shots later.
Our usual spot was closed for business today so we couldn't grab lunch before we heading into some of my areas for more opportunities. Our first spot yielded 6 ponies very quickly. These fine specimens were way up on a ridge and we had great blue sky for a back ground, that brought our total for the day to 20.
We next found my favourite herd of 10 horses, with my "dirty faced girl". We were very fortunate as we usually have to walk in to get photo's of this group and the snow and conditions would have made that highly unlikely, and three of the horses were up next to the road. Here is my favourite of this group.
Here is a shot of two mares and a foal, they were being protected by an all black stallion just to the right of these georgous critters.
We had sight to another herd of 8 more mustangs just up the road, they too were quite a way off but held for some shots. before heading down into the willows. We finished the day off with 56 "brombies", 6 moose, and close to 80 deer in all. For birds we had a Bald Eagle, a single Rough Legged Hawk, and this little sweetheart that I have been hard for all year, a Northern Pygmy Owl.
Kerri and I have had several "false alarms" with this bird, and we even amanged to find one that was pretty unapproachable once about two months ago. We were in the last light of the day, but this bird was pretty close and allowed about 12 minutes of its time before it disappeared into the night.
I managed to grab several decent shots of this beautiful little predator, so I will be doing a supplemental post with more images when I get some time. Ignacio, sorry I couldn't find it when you were here, maybe in the spring.  I'll wrap this post up here on an amazing day! Calgary in the freezing cold, no better place to be!


  1. Hi Paul,

    That is a nice pic of the Northern Pygmy Owl!!



  2. What a wonderful day you both had. Sorry to hear that Kerri lost her photos.

  3. Thanks Gladys, I don't know if she has give up on trying to get the images off her card, we are all hoping that she is able to.