Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Pups, Chicks, Moose (20140720) Ya just gotta love the babies

Well the heat has seemed to have slowed all the big critters down to the point that the are rarely being seen. But you still have to show up in case they decide to be cooperative. We had only been out of the house 45 minuters when we found two bull moose gamboling in a hay field. This is the larger of the two.
We found some other items here and there but the next item that really captured our attention was this female Spruce grouse.
As I was backing up to see where she was on the shoulder of the road, I confirmed with Jamie it was indeed a Franklins. As we approached and began looking for her in the brush when we were surprised by one of these little units.
Here is one of its nest mates. I think that there actually four chicks, but there could have easily been more.  They looked to be about the size of a cup, but they could already fly. This was my first encounter with Sprucie chicks so my amazing Grouse year continues into the summer, I LOVE it.
Our next parent encounter was with another critter that I have had a terrific year shooting, a Wiley E. Coyote
Then just up the road we found this miniture replica.
Around the corner two more of these great looking pups. This little fella walked right up to the truck, no crop here. I think it is a terrific portrait.
I had to include this third little pup, this has a little more environment in it and the green looks great. It was nice for the sun to add a little light to this encounter.
At the end of the road we were headed into the washroom when we spied a couple of Red Crossbill. This is a bird that we issed all winter so i thought I wouldn't get any images at all for the blog this year.
In this bird's company was another Winter bird that eluded me all year. We have been seeing them flying high in the trees, this is my first time I have caughtr them on the ground. Here is a tiny Pine Sisken.
Back out on the "main drag" we found a herd of bachelor rams. These mature Rocky Mountain sheep are impressive animals.
I'll wrap up this post with a little waterfall that is a remnant of our disasterous storms last spring that lead to the heavy flooding. Zel might like this shot, I will wait to hear from him:) This is our own version of the Horse Falls, not at all out of place here in Cowboy Country.
We had yet another fabulous day in Kanaskis country here in Alberta.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Bambi, Goldens, Sandpiper (20140718) a very hazy lazy drive after work with Kerri

Getting off work early didn't really pay off for us today. We  head out from Timmys at about 2:30 swinging to the the north west in hopes of finding sftuff to shoot. Here in the west of Canada we have many forest fires burning out of control and so our skies have been hazy and very smoky. This leads to very poor light conditions. We took a side road that was pretty productive for us we ran into a few Cedar Waxwings. A first of the year fo the blog
On the return route Kerri spied a couple of high flying soaring birds they proved to be a pair of Golden Eagles. These birds love a bit of a breeze to just soar over a territory. We watched these birds cover several miles.
One of my most dependable roads provided us this juvenile sapsucker. we also spotted a Say's but not much else.
Let me correct that, we also found this singing Whitethroated Sparrow. I have been looking for one of these this year for the blog. I was thinking I might have to wait until September.
While we had stopped to shoot another Sappy, Kerri noted this Spotted Sandpiper in the trees. I thought it might be a Solitary as they actually nest in the trees. But as these shots testify, it was a Spotty.
Here it is on top of a Spruce tree.
With the critter and bird count falling off pretty dramatically we stopped and spent a little time with Flora and some of her beauties. Here is some nice crimsony looking Paintbush.
The real reason for the delay was i spotted these Bluebells and thought that my mother would kill me if I didn't take a couple of shots.
When it comes to Summer, the babies are the stars. When it comes to babies few are well recognized as Bambi. This is my best attempt so far at these little beauties. 
We found a couple of late evening elk that were off in the distance, but this was our hazy lazy drive. even in the worst conditions we can always find something to shoot:) 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Dove, Kestrel, Sora (20140713) A swing around the south with Tim

An early morning with the promise of a new day and all that it can hold. If the sunrise was any indication we were in for a great day.
The other common celestial body we get to see out here was also on full display and we shot it at the same time as the sun, we basically just had to turn around.
As the sun gained heighth and strength we spotted many targets. We spent a fair amount of time with this family of young Mountain Bluebirds.
Next we had some opportunities with Rosebreasted Grosbeaks in search of some other targets but we had no luck. Next up were a couple of cooperative Mourning Doves. We don't usually get to see them this close.
We next spent a little time with this American Kestrel that was distracted by its breakfast, but just a little.
We took some time to swing by the lake and grab a couple of images. Here is a shot of a Grebe feeding her young. The chicks are growing at a terrific rate. When youlook at the fluff on the youngster, it is had to see how it will soon look like its mother and the water coating it takes on when she is in the water.
We also spent some time with a pair of Sora's that were feeding their chicks. They did not sit still at all, but they wre pretty much out in the open.
Tim has developed a favourite spot out in this area so we stopped by. There plenty of birds around but they all kept their distance, except this Tern.
At another of Tim's recent favourites I grabbed a quick shot of this GBH. It would have been nice if it would have held a little longer.
While the day was great, I am disappointed with the quality of my images today, perhaps the light was too harsh.  Harsh light or not, we were able to find a lot of material today. Another typical day here in Alberta.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Grizzly, Elk, Black Bear (20140711) finding a little "elk velvet"

Took the Friday off with Kerri to do a morning run of the always promising seldom delivering 1A. I say that as I rarely get more than one good critter per trip on that road, but there are always a lot of sightings "reported".  I was willing to go as this is a good spot to find elk and my hope was to snag a couple of mature bulls in velvet. Our morning started a little late due to me not being able to calculate the alarm setting properly. But we were on the road just 20 minutes behind schedule.
On the drive out we briefly discussed changing our route, but decided to stick with our initial gut instincts. Our first photo opp was provided by this nice healthy, lone Black Bear.
This bear was in the shade in the ditch and we almost missed it totally, but wer able to spot it and grab some very close shots. These are really tough subjects as the colouration make definition very difficult. But we had a great 7:05 a.m. start to our day. Shot @120mm with no crop:) it is just great to watch them wander around in such a lush spot and feed, it is like they only need to open thier mouth and chew.
We next encountered this nice healthy bull Elk that looks like he will be a 5x5 in the fall. Again we were fortunate to be able to get close and watch as it fed along the trail.
Then it was just great to see him scratching his head and antlers on this tree. It is pretty early for them to be "rubbing" as they usually keep the velvet until mid to late August.
So I was a happy guy and it was only quarter passed eight. Kerri convinced me that we we shouldn't go home just yet and she was right to do so, as if it took much:) We came upon this nice sized Grizzly feeding in the shade. This bear has a particularly noticeable "hump".
After about 10 minutes of watching, this other much larger bear, that looked like a brick house came lumbering out of the woods and put the run on Junior.
And that ended our little viewing of the grizzlies. On our way back through this way we found Junior back out in the field grazing on dandelions once again. I guess Boomer didn't want to waste too much energy on this chow competitor.
Next up was our "Imperial" Elk. Elk are given "rankings" for their antler sizes. A 6x6 (6 points on each side) is called a Royal, a 7x7 an Imperial, and the 8x8's are Monarchs.
Once again people's stupidity just astounded me. People were walking right up to this big fella with their phones and taking images at 6 or 7 feet. I spoke to a number of them telling them that they were too close.  I don't know what they are thinking!!  This lad right here was the "velvet" that I had come looking for. This wrapped up our photo opps for the morning. We worked another area, and as often happens in the heat of summer everything was staying cool and out of sight.
So it turned out to be the right place to be for us on Friday morning. This is the best 1A run I have ever had. Let's hope they keep improving.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Moose Supplemental (20140705) What a cooperative subject.

We were cruising along in Moose country when we found this gentleman just completely at ease with our company. Jamie dumped me out close then moved off a little.
We thought that we might have lost him but when we cam back out to the main road here he was. Just a little shot of heaven here with him and the mountains in the background.
There were a couple of pretty inconsiderate people that pulled up very close in their carsand took images, then roared off. They don't understand that this is the Moose's home, and that they should be far more respectful. They need to stop and speak with the wildlife. Jamie and I were cracking up as this guy was telling us jokes; "So a Wolf and a Magpie walk into a bar".
Then he thought we would love to get high on some Rocky Mountain dandelions :)
Next thing he has us rolling in the ditches doing his Clem Kadiddlehopper routine.
I tell ya, people need to slow down and when they get a chance to spend a little time with some cooperative wildlife they should be a little nicer and pay more attention.
While I indicated that this would be a Moose supplemental I thought I would add a couple other images that didn't make the original post. Like this Coyote shot.
Then I thought why not include a couple more Grizz images. I am very happy with these. This first image was taken at probably less than 30 yards.
Here is a much longer distance shot, after he had crossed the road and had taken a bit of a neighbourhood census.
I'll finish this post up with a shot of a mature Rocky Mountain Ram. If you take a look you can see the green material on his right horn.  You can also see how his horn on that side is "worn" down.  This is an indication of excessive wear caused by feeding, especially in winter.
I hope you enjoyed the re-visit to last Saturday!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Bull Moose, Grizz, Kriders (20140705) What a terrific day in the mountains

Saturday morning is for Grizzlies, was Jamie's note to me on Thursday. I asked if he would like some company, and he said "jump aboard"! Before daylight we had spotted 4 GHO's and a pair of fawns with mom out by the Ranch. Here was our first major critter a nice Bull Moose at 6:53 a.m. I believe that this is the same bull I shot out with the kids a couple of years ago, that was before I stared the blog.
Next up, just a half mile down the road was this nice Ram.
An hour later and we bumped into our second nice bull of the morning. This fella was very accomodating and I will be following up with a supplemental to show you more. Notice how close the hooves are as he walks, it almost looks like they are touching in this shot.
Mid morning we found this Coyote jogging up the middle of the road. Take a look here as it "flies" up the road as all four feet are off the ground at the same time.
11:00 a.m. and Jamie spies his bear. It was terrific as we had him all to our selves for a few minutes. It is a little incongruous that these large carnivores are walking along eating dandelions and clover.
 Of course when you get the chance to see who else is wandering around your neighbourhood upi have to stop and check it out.
Next we spent a little time with some of the little critters. The Goldenmantled Ground Squirrel is always a pleasure to see and shoot.
Another little guy was this Pika. I wish we would have had a little more sun.
And the critters kept getting smaller as this Dragonfly made an appearance.
Then this small butterfly filled in the petite opportunities.
we finished up the day by getting this, my second, Kriders Redtail. This was Jamie's first look at one of these "lighter" redtails.
A super day, and home before 3:00 p.m. What a great day of adventure here in wild Alberta.