The day began with rain falling, but by late morning the clouds were disbursing and there was a lot of blue sky. After a quick lunch, H and I decided to head for elk country to see some of those grand animals.
By the time we got to the elk range the blue sky was disappearing and we could see thunderheads building. On Winslow Hill we found a band of elk cows and calves –
While we were watching this band, the sky darkened and we could see a large area of heavy rain rapidly approaching –
And then it hit, a real “gully washer” that quickly filled the roadside ditches. Spectacular, though infrequent, lightning and thunder accompanied the rain - rain that was often heavy enough to significantly obscure vision. The elk continued feeding even though they usually retreat to the forest during periods of heavy rain –
For those of you that operate camera traps and are concerned about “white-flash” cameras, it was quite informative that the elk apparently ignored the bright flashes of lightning but often broke into a brief run at the loud claps of thunder. They only ran for a short way before they resumed feeding; and after a while also seemed to ignore the thunder.
We found a few more smaller bands of cows and calves on Winslow Hill feeding in the rain, but no bulls.
After several hours of falling heavily, the rain dwindled to a drizzle, fog was developing in the valleys, dusk was upon us and it was time to head for home.
Then, in a meadow along Sinnemahoning Creek we found a band of six bull elk. Some of the bulls offered a good chance for a few pictures, but it was so dark that these photos were taken at an ISO of 6400 and 1/20 second and their quality is far from what I would have liked.