Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A Great Day It Was

The day began at 4:00am when the alarm went off; by 4:45 I was on the road headed for Pennsylvania’s elk range, sustained by a cup of coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel. The roads were almost deserted and most of the houses dark.

I passed a cabin with a large lawn where, in all the years I’ve been making this trip, there's never been an elk lots of deer, but never an elk. But there in the morning twilight was a bull elk with his harem; even though there was barely enough light for photography, it was worth a try –



A little way further on there were two young bulls in a field, one with part of a plastic bag stuck on an antler –



After that the sun rose higher in the sky and the elk retired to the forest to ruminate and rest. But there were still interesting things to be seen as I walked to some of the meadows to look for fresh sign and a spot to spend the evening waiting for elk. A young white-tail buck with antlers still in velvet –


Spider webs –


And a banded garden spider -

A few mushrooms that I can’t identify with certainty –



Monarch butterflies headed for Mexico, some already tattered and others in good condition –


In the woods at the edge of a meadow a couple of the parasitic plants known as Indian-pipes were still in bloom –

At the edge of one meadow, a flock of turkeys: hens and young of the year




With that it was time for a nap in a shady spot along a stream. Late in the afternoon I headed back to a large meadow where at least three bull elk were bugling from the surrounding woodland. Patience pays and an hour later, with the sun low in the sky, a large bull emerged from the forest and bugled several times


During the rut bull elk frequently wallow in mud to which they've contributed urine, all the better to make them more alluring to the ladies  –


One of the other bull elk that had been bugling entered the meadow –


The star of the video stood up and the two bulls ran in parallel, over a small rise where, except for their antlers, they were lost from view and engaged in a short joust –


The bull with the palmated antler returned to the forest while our hero pushed two cows back into the band –


With the light almost too dim for photos it was time to head for home. But wait, there was another bull elk to photograph – one bedded down in short grass beneath an old apple tree –


Fifteen miles closer to home was the last elk of the day, a young bull. Just to get a usable photo required the camera to be pushed to its limits and then processing on the computer – here he is –


Indeed, a great day it was.

7 comments:

Barbara R. said...

Wonderful bulls!

Marcia said...

Their antler racks are huge. I didn't realize PA had elk. We are headed to Eagle's Mere, PA at the end of the month. I wonder if we will see any.

The Furry Gnome said...

Wonderful post! Some amazing bull elks! Glad you had such a great day.

Jenn Jilks said...

These are impressive! Well done.

eileeninmd said...

Hello,
The elk are beautiful critters. Pretty shot of the Monarch. I loved the turkeys too. Great sightings and photos.
Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend.

Andree said...

I had no idea there were elk in PA (unless I mis-read). They are amazing. The bulls, especially one, are huge. And thank you for adding the video. It was very helpful.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

A great day indeed! The Elk are such majestic creatures and how neat to see the wild turkeys too. I know you must have taken a lot of photos and had a wonderful day!