As I was unable to carry out my plan for going to Nome, Alaska, I was able, for my third year in a row, to go to Algonquin Park to photograph moose with Michael Bertelsen. This really was only possible because my dear friend, Su Ross Redmond, had to cancel out at the last minute. Pat, Margaret and Linda made up our group of four.
The forecast was rain by 11 am for our first day but I was very optimistic that it would hold off and we would have our full day out. It was a beautiful sunny morning with some low fog on our way to the North end of Opeonga Lake. We saw and heard loons on the way up but were in a hurry to get to moose habitat. The first two we saw quickly departed back into the bush and we had to go quite a way into the protected area to find more mammals. Michael found us four moose in one location and those four were soon joined by two more.
As we sat watching and photographing the moose a pair of Sandhill Cranes flew in calling. They fed for a while and then took off again, watched by one curious munching moose.
Soon after the moose became aware of something in the bush and one after one they stopped feeding and quickly moved out of sight into the trees.
Surrounded by biting insects we searched for more and finding mooseless marshes we moved back out to the open lake. Passing a tall topless pine we noticed, what we thought, was an old Bald Eagle nest. We then watched a single Bald Eagle fly toward the nest and land. Soon Pat, who has and eagle eye herself, thought she saw a white head between the live branches. Over the next hour we saw both eagles fly to various perches and to the nest. Very exciting for all of us!
As you can see by the background of these photographs, by now the sky had clouded over and the wind was coming up. Soon after the rain started and the wind became a “blow”. We decided it was time to give in and head back to the boat launch. After a terrible trip across the lake we arrived back at the landing at 1 pm for an early end for the day with the hope of being able to dry out our gear and clothes for the next day.
We were fortunate to have an empathetic waitress at dinner who told us about a fox den out of the park and we headed there after collecting out camera gear. We found a single fox kit trying to escape the mosquitoes by lying in the sand right beside the road. We were able to photograph her right there until another car came along and sent her down a steep bank.
On our second day we got to spend quite a bit of time with a co-operative cow moose, several loons on nests, the Bald Eagles, and, of course, the blackflies and mosquitoes.
After a very moose-filled second annual trip my big wish was for a cow moose with twins. We did find and photograph just that situation. The mother fed fairly far from the calves, though, and there was little interaction between them, however.
With another moose photography trip over I now have the wish/goal of photographing moose calf twins interacting with their mother for next year!
Each visit has been quite different. This year we had fewer moose than last year. We had no bulls with large antlers, The bullfrogs were not yet in full chorus. We did have a Swainsons Thrush singing in the bush near one vantage point. We saw three loons on nests and the fox kit was a bonus. Our final moose opportunity was a bull swimming up a creek. We hoped he would stop and feed but he seemed to be surrounded by biting flies and he just kept swimming.
This year not all of our group were avid photographers but just being out there in such peaceful and quiet surroundings is a rejuvinating experience in which I hope to participate again next year. Many thanks to Michael and the other women who shared it!
All the photographs in this and all my posts are the sole property of Eleanor Kee Wellman and may not be used for any purpose without my written permission. All images were created with a Canon 7D and 7DII and most with a 500 4f lens with or without a 1.4 converter.