Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pre-rut Elk

It was the time of the pre-rut in the elk range; the bulls had shed the velvet from their antlers, were beginning to bugle to challenge other nearby bulls –who answered the challenge with bugles of their own, they were sparring although not seriously fighting, and showing some interest in gathering a band of cows.

And so, it was time to journey to the elk range on a beautiful morning – to hear the haunting sound of the bugling bulls, to see some interesting country and do some photography.
Parking the car, I headed off to some of the spots where, in the past, I’ve had some wonderful encounters with elk. Unfortunately, after covering about two and a half miles all there was to be seen of elk were some rather old tracks, one recent set of elk tracks and numerous tracks of the horses and riders that now seem to frequent that area. 

I did encounter some of the last of this year’s blooming wildflowers –
Nodding Lady's-tresses

Orange Hawkweed
Elsewhere there were several cows, a calf and a 6x6 bull feeding.

Mid-day was spent traveling through other areas of the elk range for future exploration in locations less frequented by the hordes of tourists who travel to Winslow Hill in the fall.

As the sun sank in the west back to Winslow Hill I went.  There a 7x7 bull was busily bugling in an exchange with another bull that was out of sight –

Those of us photographing the bull were eagerly anticipating seeing an encounter between the two bugling bulls, but a wagon full of elk watchers appeared and came between the bull we were watching and the unseen bull.

With that the bull turned around and vanished over the hill –

The sun was setting and it was time to head for home –
The elk range always beckons, but next time it will be some of the more remote regions.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Round of the Year - Summer

Last spring I saw a photo essay by a renowned nature photographer in which he presented a photograph he’d taken each day of the spring. The subjects varied from things as small as an insect to expansive landscapes. 

The photo essay prompted me to try the same type of project, it was too late for me to start with the first day of spring, so this post is my collection of summer photos, one per day.

My plan is to continue throughout the seasons until I’ve gone all the way around the year.

Since I’m seldom (some would say never) without a camera, it was no great effort to carry a camera wherever I went. Of all the photos I took each day (the number varies greatly, from only a handful to several hundred) these are the “best” or most interesting or just the ones I like the most.

Almost all were taken with one of my Canon cameras, although among the group there are a few from my various camera traps, built with used digital point-and-shoot cameras. All of the photos have been significantly compressed for posting on the blog and are well below the quality of the originals.

Hopefully, this post will encourage readers to get out in forest and field and look, look, look – at things large and small. There’s always something beautiful or interesting (or both) to be seen – and remembered.

Now summer is done, fall is about to begin: flowers will gradually fade away but trees and shrubs will burst into color before their leaves turn brown and drop to the ground; insects, amphibians and reptiles will enter winter torpor as will woodchucks and black bears and jumping mice; by the end of fall snow will have fallen and the world of forest and field will look much different than it does now, at the autumnal equinox.  

Photos from the camera traps -- 6/21, 6/27 and 7/24