Monday, 17 March 2014

Elk, Bison, Wild Horses, Spruce Grouse (20140315) A super day with Jamie

With a wild horse cull allowed by the Alberta government and an estimated 200 horses allowed to be removed from the land, Jamie and I were anxious to see what the impact was to be in our preferred area of travel. SO it was up early and headed out in the dark. Jamie let me know when I picked him up that he had been listening to 3 different GHO's singing to him. I offered to sing to him, be he declined the opportunity to listen. We found some Whitetail deer early and this herd of 100-140 elk. It would be great to live in that house and peek out in the morning to find these in your front yard.
We headed over to find the NHO, but came up empty, sort of. Instead we found this herd of elk, our second of the day. Here are 20 in a group.
Another Rocky Mountain morning scene, this herd of 300-400 head of elk seeking the buck brush before getting caught in the sun light of the morning like vampires.
We swung around into one of our common areas and spotted the bison out feeding in the morning sun.
It was looking like a fabulous day and we were hoping to continue to get this terrific light. We spied a couple of moose but the buggers were in the shade and wouldn't come out to pose. Next up was our first of many wild horses.
This pair was in the company of this stallion which I believe that this is the dominant stallion and little "blackie" is going to have to wait to form his own herd.
We hit a bit of a dry spell as we swung through a typically "light" piece of territory.  In the middle of a typically no critter zone we found this Spruce Grouse rooster picking up some gravel on the road.
When we first spotted this bird it looked far too small to be a grouse, but were very pleasantly surprised to find this gem. Unfortunately we were in a heavily shaded area.
And as is typical of these birds, he popped up into a nice spruce tree and did a little promenade for us.
We got on the road again after a 15 minute encounter with this beautiful bird. We were off to see if we could find one of my favourite horses, "dirty face". On route we found this herd of 9 ponies that Kerri and I had spotted on our December run when we found a personal record of 56 horses. As you can see we had lost the great light and were dealing with some heavy cloud.
As these are wild horses we occasionally find animals in poorer health. This fellow looks like he might have lost the vision in his eye. If I remember properly this guy also had a bad left hind leg. We may not continue to find him through the summer.
I will wrap u the first part of our day here and continue on with a separate post. Stay tuned, there is a LOT more to come.

Here are a couple of shots from Jamie:
A shot of the stallion.
More on the next post.


  1. Hello. The black horse with white face picture above I now have. I bought her yesterday at the Innisfail auction. She is settling in her home nicely. She has many friends here and I do beleive she is in foal. I am so glad you got this photo. I was dying to see one of her in her natural habitat.. Thank you!! I have named her Scarlet and I used this pic as her cover picture. I hope thats ok :)

  2. aww darn. I just looked again.. thats net her. :(

  3. Darla, I was so excited for you to know that you had a shot you wanted, then as you are disappointed that is is not the right horse. Can you please send me a photo of your horse ( and I will check my files and see if I have something for you.