One evening I went down the road to the riverbank to see is anything was going on. There were lots of folks watching something so I stopped and took the camera with me to catch any action. What action! The bull Custer had found the cow with twins and was intent on pursuing her. She didn’t want any part of him and so the chase was on. They started out in a thick cover of willows and came out running. They moved downstream in and out of the water. The calves followed mom as best they could. At one point the bull was chasing after the calves a bit but that wasn’t his main objective. It was fascinating to watch, totally futile on his part though since with calves that young she would not be breeding this season. Eventually she moved off into the woods on the far side of the river. He followed but much more slowly.
Mornings here can be pretty nippy, down in the mid teens in fact. A few days after that evening’s drama I was up at 0600 and out at 0700 to see if I could find yet another bull I’d heard about. Sure enough he was where I was told, along with three cows. This bull is massive with an impressive rack. Of course I wasn’t alone, there were quite a few photographers and spectators there. As we watched him and the cows we realized another bull was coming…… oh boy. The second bull moved in from the west, staying in the low area where one of the cows was while the first bull stayed on the upper area (same level as us). He waited for the second bull to approach him, knowing he had the advantage of higher ground. There was no dramatic charging or clashing but bull #1 was definitely the winner is the contest. Bull #2 moseyed away in search of easier pickings. At least one of these bulls has a name, too, but I down’t know it yet.
Getting really good images is always satisfying, but I truly enjoy watching the animals interact. There’s always something to be learned from observing them.
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One of the main reasons I come to the Tetons now is to watch and photograph the moose. This time of year they are in wonderful coat, all shiny and sleek and the bulls are on the lookout for cows. The day after I got settled in at the campground I drove along the river to see what I could find. Lo and behold, there was a bull hanging around a cow with twin calves of this year. I think it was wishful thinking on his part but great to see them all. They graze on the willow shrubs that grow along the river stripping the leaves off the thin branches. Haven’t seen the cow with twins since but it’s good to know she’s out there.
One day I took a drive along a narrow winding road that goes from Moose (yes, it even has a post office!) to Wilson. This handsome elk bull was just coming out of the trees into a large field. When he spotted the stopped cars he kept moving away from us at a dignified pace so I was able to get an image. Butt shots aren’t my favorites but in this case it was this or nothing.
Recently the moose have been coming into the campground early in the morning. I managed to get over to where there was a bull (he’s named Custer) and a cow. This is the same bull I saw at the river earlier. They were both laid down when I got there, he stayed down for 2 hours, got up and moved 10′ and laid down again. They were not particularly close to each other but when the cow got up (after a 4 hour rest) he did too. His efforts to get close to
her were wasted so he headed the other way to do “bull moose things” like rubbing his antlers on shrubs or tree trunks, making a wallow. As he did this he swung right coming very close to where I was and thwarting
the majority of photographers who anticipated a different direction for him. This gave me some great images as I hid behind 2 trees. I did move back after getting about all I could safely. My 4 hour wait was well rewarded I think.
This morning I was up and out but just missed the real action. Wysockie, a mature bull who seems to be dominant here had arrived. I’ve heard he knocked Custer to the ground. Custer headed away and I followed, thinking Wysockie and the cows would head the same way. Unfortunately my guess was wrong but I was able to get a nice image of Wysockie before he headed to the river with 2 cows.
This afternoon I took another drive just a short way out on the Moose-Wilsoon Rd. On the way back I was stopped by rangers who were holding up traffic…… I got to see 3 bear cubs cross the road and got a few photos through the windshield. Not the best but better than nothing. The sow had already crossed. From the coloring and head shape I think these are grizzly cubs.
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I moved from Yellowstone to Grand Tetons NP on Sept. 8. From then on my main computer really started giving me problems, freezing up, etc. I thought I could coax it into working until I got home. Ha! Then I discovered the backup’s battery wouldn’t take a charge. Took about a week to get at least 1 laptop working and another week to get the software to process my images (I shoot RAW which complicates things).
When I first thought about stopping in the Tetons for a while I found out that the foliage is at peak around the 3rd week in Sept. so I was hoping to see some color along with some moose. This fine fellow and his lady friend were out and about he first morning after I arrived so I was able to get some very nice images.
As the week progressed another, younger bull showed up and I was able to capture some really interesting images of the two bulls sparring. It is a very slow motion sort of thing. They go at it for a few minutes then take a breather then do it again. With the exception of the two images that I put captions on I never saw either bull exhibit noticable superiority or defeat.
Later in the week a cow with a calf dropped by, along with a potential suitor, but I never got any nice images of the bull.
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Jan. 22, 2013, I took a couple of fellow Casita owners from TN to one of my favorite places in the area. The wildlife park has many inhabitants, be they furred, feathered or have fins they are all interesting to see! The mammals include but are not limited to Bobcats, Panthers, Bears, Fox and the manatees. Birds of all sort reside there, some permanent residents due to injuries, others come and go. The park regularly rehabs a wide variety of critters (out of public view for the most part). I’ve included some of the photos taken on this particular visit and they are a tiny sampling of what I’ve taken on my many visits. The manatee photos were taken from the viewing platform that overlooks where the Homosassa Spring run flows into the Homosassa river so there are “wild” manatees rather than permanent residents. More photos are on my website, http://www.borderbrae.com.