Monday, 30 June 2014

Grizzly, Marmot, Groundsquirrel (20140628) A trip out to K country

With some rented gear for the long weekend, Kerri was the first to suggest a trip and we headed out to Kananskis looking for some "large" critters. The drive in was somewhat uneventful. We were getting into bear country when we found this beast, in the same place as I fgound him last week.
Next up was a Columbian Groundsquirrel. I thought that I should capture a few familiar faces to do some comparisons later on.
This Varying Hare required some stealth activities in order to get close enought to fill the frame. It was a gracious subject.
Our journey continued, on the hunt gor larger critters, but none were to be found. What we did find now ever was this little Golden Mantled Groundsquirrel.
In the same area we also found a pair of Pika's. I usually only find these little sweethearts at Lake Louise. With no plans to get there this year, these fella's were a great treat.
This is the time of year when they start caching pounds and pounds of grass to keep them over the winter.
We did run into several small herds of Mountain Sheep. I thought that I would try a few shots to see if I could really see any difference.
On the way home we found a critter I have had on my list for quite some time. It took us a couple of passes but we finally spotted one of these little gems.
Kerri spotted this Hoary Marmot in a spot where you wouldn't expect. She also found this long distance version, which is more typically where you expect to see a Marmot. This is a first for the blog, so I always like adding a second image:)
Between the Marmot shots I was supprised by this GBH.  This was a quick shot.
On the final section of our drive we came upon this Great Grey Owl. It has a very unique colouration. I find that it as actually more "brown" than they typical "grey" that we find.
So a trip that started out on the hunt for large critters, we ended up finding some large birds and  several smaller critters. All the same a very successful day.  A thank you to Kerri who was terrific company. Calgary is the place to be for wildlife sightings. Come on out and lets find some critters together.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Grizzly supplemental (20140622) More images from last Sunday

This was my first shot of this beautiful little yearling. I was really surprised at just how small mom was. She was only about twice the size of her youngster. But this little sweetie just gave us all kinds of opportunities. While they were cognizant of us, they were ever vigilant about what else was goin on around them.
Here is a shot of the pair of them. Something, other than us, got their attention.
 Here is a little profile shot of mom, what I like about these two is that they haven't been tagged in any manner yet.
Another shot of the two of them side by side.
At this point  Blondie was getting pretty close. I was getting ready to shout at it to raise its awareness that being that close wasn't safe. It never stopped though, and just kept working the area.
Here is a sshot of the dandelion bear with his hardware all hidden. This was a pretty healthy bear, and getting healthier.
So I better throw an image in of one of the young cubs as well. They are always a big hit:)
I hope that you like the series. Next weekend promises more opportunities  and maybe some even better shots.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Great Grey Supplemental (20140621) More shots fo our time with a GGO

We watched at the fence line and watched as this bird worked from all sorts of close to the ground perches around the property where it was hunting.
It would search and occasionally "pounce" looking for more to eat.
 It was easy to see that this bird was at home in its environment as machinery was everywhere. All the bird did was use it as a perch onwhich to ambush its prey from.
In the hour that we were treated with this birds presence we were also treated to all sorts of weather. From light showers to heavy cloud and even some bright sun.
This was the grass mound where the bird was positioned prior to it coming to land on the fence post about 9 feet from me.
I even managed to get Tim into a shot. With the owl so close to me I was in all of his shots :)
One of our last views of this great bird. It crossed the road and waited for us to take a few images before heading into the woods.
I hope you enjoy the images. We certainly had a super time taking them.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Grizzlies, Grizzlies , Grizzlies (20140622) I finally found a bear or two.

On my own this morning but that's not necessary new. I have travelled these tracks on my own long before I started "taking folks out". That is how I established my "tracks", exploring and finding wildlife in all different kinds of habitat. So this morning I was keeping myself company, but no need to explore I knew exactly where I was going and why:) On my way I though I would check in and see if the owlets were out and available for a shot or two. They didn't disappoint.
Here is its nest mate in the tree next to, sitting in the shade.
Getting close the "summit" I found this male Pine Grosbeak on the highway. He let me get down on my belly and get pretty close for this shot.
I hooked up with Mike K whom I discoverd at one of the pullouts and we did a short tour together. We found this young Grizzly in a very dark area. 
Mike dropped me off back at my truck at about 10:25 and went on his way. I found this blonde cub with its mother at about 10:30.
It was looking at then seeing this cow moose that walked out on the road. It grunted and headed off into the woods with mom hot on the trail behind. I thought it was odd behaviour.
Here is mom showing us how junior learned to look around for danger. Although she was looking down wind and we couldn't see any sign of danger she took her yearling into the woods immediately.
It was turning an all-star morning. Leaving this pair after spending almost 90 minutes with them I came around the corner to find this fella laying in a field of dandelions gorging himself.
I actually had enough time to take a little video of this beauty. You can see it at my YouTube channel. The clip is here. I hope you take the tie to watch and enjoy. Pumped up on adrenalin from this great encounter and others from the day I headed home. About 10 up the road I ran into a "bear jam". I pulled in to find this large sow. What a beautiful bear!
  Another a few seconds and I spotted the trwo cubs coming along behind. Mom had enough of the attention and took them up the hill and out of sight. They decided to take a last peek before disappearing into the woods.
I will be doing a supplemental as I have a lot more to share of these magnificient creatures. This is the timeto come on out to Calgary and let me take you on a Tour.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Bobolink, Grosbeak, GGO (20140621) Closest encounter yet with a GGO, longest day of the year!

Tim has been getting out quite a bit this year, but his difficulty remains "where do we go?". He decided on the North West so I was happy to oblige. Our first couple of sideroads produced a couple of photo opportunities but nothing really of note. As we swung onto our main road we spied a life bird for Tim and I. There have been some recent posts of a Bobolink, so I knew exactly what it was when it appeared.
As is usually the case with a "new bird" I will add a second image.
These birds have a beautiful melodious song. We spied and and shot a couple of Solitaire's and the weather was being very uncooperative. We did find a GGO that we managed to spend a little time with.
I will do a supplemental as this was bird provided us with some entertainment. I am hoping Tim will send me one or two of his shots for the supplemental. This is the closest I have been to one of they majestic hunters. In my last GGO supplemental I provided a shot in flight that I mentioned was a study of anatomy here is an up-close portrait! No crop :)
After about 40 minutes with this beauty, and no other traffic interuptions we left him to keep hunting. Just up the road we found this Rosebreasted Grosbeak.
As you can tell from the background we had brutal light once again. We actually got rained on a few times, so it was less than ideal. Our next find was this Sandhill Crane.
Next up was another first for the year. A lone Lesser Yellowlegs was wading in the pond. I will need to get a closer shot of one of these little units, maybe from the blind one day.
On the way home Tim spotted this Great Blue Heron another first of the year here on the blog. Another bird that I will get better photos of before too long. Here it is with landing gear down.
Before we got back to the truck Tim spied this Eagle being harrassed by the Swainson's hawk. They were a long way up. But the Swainson was very persistent.
We were getting close to the end of our trip when this common Grackle showed up for some images.
Our last "catch" of the day was this Muley doe with her fawn. It was nice to catch them out in open.
That was our day, home by 2:00 with a fabulous set of images and memories of a wildlife day in Alberta.
Tim tossed me over a couple of shots of our owl encounter.
It is a great day when you can get up close and personal with such a tremendous predator.
I thought I should give Tim a crack at an action shot, so I told the owl to pop over a pole or two.
It also shows you how we get all those "backend" shots!