Friday, 3 January 2014

Great Grey, Moose, Wolf, NPO (20140101) Happy New Year a Grey, Grey, Grey day!

Well it was time for our third annual New Years Day run. Jamie and I have done this the last couple of years and have a great time doing it. While I was out of town, Jamie had done some outings on his own and we were wondering which "track" would be productive. I thought that we would re-run our initial trail to see what we could come up with. Before sun up I spotted this Great Grey atop a snag.
This is probably the highest that I have ever seen a GGO sitting. It was very patient with us and we got all the shots we wanted. I believe it was watching out for the ravens that could be heard in the area. I hope it is an omen that this was our first bird of the new year.
With owls on our mind all of sudden, Jamie had me back up to take a better look at this unit which he thought might have been an Northern Pygmy Owl, but turned out to be a Grey Jay.
Just a little further up the road we found a pair of nice bull moose, but they weren't hanging around for any photos.  Walking back to the truck after having a look for the big boys I spied a third moose. It was shaping into a fine day. As we continued on our track we were reminiscing about our first run and the luck we had with spotting three wolves. Lo and Behold on the side of the road just up ahead is a lone Grey Wolf standing.
Jamie had the advantage of shooting out of the passenger window and was doing so well before I managed to get us stopped.
It was great that this predator seemed comfortable with the truck and just kind of walked off and gave me the opportunity to capture a couple of shots.
These are the best images I have managed of this great piece of Canadian wildlife to date. As always we will continue to see if we cannot get some better photos. I know that four images of a single subject may seem like a lot, but this was a very rare occurrence. In all my time out in the wild here in Alberta this is only my second photo opp.
I hope you don't mind the images. This encounter made the day and I know if we hadn't seen another critter all day long we would have viewed this as being an exceptionally successful day! And it seemed for quite awhile that would be the last critter we would see for the day. $ hours later we found this Black and White pony that I had posted an image of back on February 16, 2013. This time he was flying solo.
We spooked a young moose that was close to the road and found two more wild horses before we spotted this pair of Moose they let us get a couple of shots.
This is a nice mature bull, but not the one we were looking for. We were hoping to find the three units that Kerri and I had found a month ago.
We swung by our favourite Grey Grey spots and managed to find the Northern Pygmy Owl that Kerri and I found as well. This really was a great top off to the day. Again Jamie had the best seat in the house, and I only managed to grab this single image of our subject. I am very happy that I caught the Tail fanned out like this, usually it is just a very narrow piece of the bird, but this image really shows it off.
As our day drew to a close we were finding Mule deer everywhere, and even spotted a herd of 200-250 head of Elk. A truly fabulous day, I hope it is an indication of the upcoming year.  If you manage to get out here to Calgary, look me up. We can take a track!
Update from January 17, 2014.
I received a few photo's from Jamie to share with the Blog viewers. Being on the passenger side he had some advantages when it came to "get the shot" a little earlier than the driver. I am hoping he will also provide a little write up. Enjoy the photo's!
Our Wolf
Northern Pygmy Owl
You can view more of Jamie's great shots at his Flickr site:
Jamie's Flickr site
Thanks for looking!


  1. Hi Paul,

    Nice wolf shots!


  2. Thanks Russell. No baiting involved! I don't know if you have heard about the Jokers in Banff last week, but they put out a cooked turkey carcass to attract the Bow Valley pack out to the Parkway.