In June of 2013 three friends joined me on a photography tour with Michael Bertelsen for spring moose in Algonquin Park. We saw and photographed lots of moose. We were surrounded by the most mosquitos and black flies I have ever seen in my life and did get to see and photograph a pair of Black-backed Woodpeckers at their nest.
This year was an all-women trip and I was thrilled that Su Ross Redmond was able to go as well. We had perfect weather. Not sure but maybe the mosquitos and blackflies were even worse this year. Su had never experienced blackflies before and they were not kind to her. Moose we saw in quantity and quality.
Our first sighting began with this moosescape in early morning light.
There were a couple of others in view at the same time.
We found a cow with calf and managed to refind them several times over the two days we were out. The calf was quite skittish at first and led the cow back into the bush. They would reappear on the other side of the island and we ended up with lots of opportunities together and separately. Michael told us that the calves begin eating grass after about a week and this one was eating grass, leaves and waterlilies.
We found several bulls and a couple of cows feeding on waterlilies and had lots of time to photograph them.
We saw one of the bulls we photographed last year. It was identified by its ear tag and a hole in its left ear where a button tag had come out. The ear flopped a bit therefore it was named Yoda.
A cow we saw with a calf last year, identified by a piece out of her ear, was without a calf this year but in the same section of marsh where we saw her in 2013. She kept looking into the bush but no calf appeared while we were there.
A cow and calf swam from an island to the mainland and we were right in the perfect spot once again.
After this cow and calf fed in a wide open area they moved and we thought they might be going to swim on to another island. As we watched and photographed a black bear came out of the bush beyond a small point and it looked like he too, wanted to swim to the island. He ran into an unexpected dead head, swatted at the offender and climbed back on shore heading in the direction of the moose with calf. Su and I were very worried about the calf while Michael was concerned that the bear might head our way.
He moved around the the point, saw the moose and calf and raced after them. The two moose charged off into the bush with the bear in pursuit. Fortunately for us the bear did not decide we looked like easy prey and we did see the two moose later and were happy that the calf had escaped. At that time of the year many moose calves become a bear’s dinner.
This bear was in beautiful condition and so close that I had to merge two photographs of him to have any grass below his paws! This is full frame with an addition!
Not all trips are as successful as this one and we had seven moose our first day including a cow with calf and eleven the second day with two cows with one calf each. The only thing we didn’t have was morning fog.
Now I would like a cow with two calves, please!
We have plans for another women’s trip in 2015 although I am sure we won’t be able to top this one!
All images in this post are the property of the photographer, Eleanor Kee Wellman, and may not be used for any purpose with out my written permission.