Moose Monday

Moose Monday was productive! This is one of two large bulls that I photographed - it seemed he was in the mood for love while the cow definitely was not.

On another note, I will be sharing the details for my 2020 Iceland Photo Tour in the coming days, so stay tuned for that...

Thank you for following along,

Colin


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Moose Eating Fireweed

Good morning and Happy Monday out there, friends! I did some guiding over the weekend for a nice couple from Texas. They wanted to photograph wildlife and hadn't seen a moose yet, so our mission was to find Alaska's pervasive ungulate and I can say with confidence that my clients were quite thrilled with what we found, as was I…

Have a great week and thank you for following along!


Colin


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Moose Monday

Hello everyone. It's Moose Monday!

This guy has been making a splash in local ponds recently. He is one of at least 3 bulls that I've seen in the area in the past few weeks. As their diet changes in the spring, so does the shape and consistency of their droppings and for this reason, is often mistaken for bear scat, which there is also an abundance of right now.

Colin


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"Give 'em a Brake"

"Give moose a 'brake'" is the slogan we're accustomed to seeing on Alaska highways. Rounding a curve and meeting one of these giants could end poorly for both parties, and they do not always yield the right of way. 

Just a reminder on this Wednesday to watch for moose, and all wildlife, that we often share the roads with. 

✌️

Colin


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Wildlife Morning

Last week I had one of my most memorable wildlife encounters since taking up residence here at the Nature Center. I watched a bull moose cross the creek between the viewing decks while a pair of trumpeter swans was upstream and moving toward the Salmon Viewing Deck, where I was standing. Just as the swans turned a corner and headed my way, I heard something behind me and looked back to see a lynx run across the entire length of the viewing deck and off into the woods past the moose! Unfortunately the lynx didn't present an opportunity for a photo but the memory of the event will always remain with me.

All in all, it was a nice start to the day and a solid reminder of why I choose to live here!

Colin


Bull Moose crossing the creek at the Eagle River Nature Center

Bull Moose crossing the creek at the Eagle River Nature Center


Trumpeter swans at the Eagle River Nature Center

Trumpeter swans at the Eagle River Nature Center


Local Bull Moose

This is one of 3 large bull moose that we've seen around the Nature Center recently. Soon their antlers will stop growing, the velvet covering will be shed, and their temperament will be less friendly when the rut (mating season) begins. Rut-crazed bulls take no prisoners when it comes to charming a potential mate and discouraging any perceived competition, which can include other bulls, people, even cars and trains. Rivals are usually met with a chase and possible head-on collision from their massive antlers, so keep a heads-up approach when hiking and maybe see if your auto insurance has a rider policy for rutting moose!

Colin

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Spring Bull Moose

 Another sure sign of spring - bull moose are sprouting new antlers. Look closely in front of the ears and you will see the start of a new rack. During summer months, bull moose focus their energy on antler development, which can grow up to an inch per day. A fully developed set of antlers can end up weighing more than 50 pounds and span 6 feet in width. Photo taken recently at the Eagle River Nature Center. 

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March Sunset

The sun set at 8:23 pm this evening in Eagle River Valley, Alaska. We've recently surpassed 12 hours of total daylight, gaining more than 7 hours since the winter solstice. I wasn't the only one out enjoying the last bit of alpenglow on the mountains, this bull moose was feeding in the creek and already sporting a new set of antlers, a sure sign of spring!

Moose Facts

Two fun moose facts for you: 

1. Moose have no upper front teeth. They have eight sharp incisors for cutting and molars & premolars for grinding their food. 

2. It was previously believed that moose would strip and eat the bark of aspen trees only out of desperation in winter months when food was scarce. After further research, it turns out the under layer may hold some nutritional value, as this bull is demonstrating here. 

Thankfully, the film crew was able to capture this today for their documentary assignment. Another great day on the job!

Sparring Bulls

Day 2, Crow Pass Trail with Tyler Howie. Without time for a proper breakfast, we grabbed handfuls of mixed nuts and hit the trail, trying stay ahead of the looming rainclouds that were billowing over the pass and heading our direction. After hiking all day and stopping periodically to satiate on ripe blueberries, we reached the point where we were to cross Eagle River only to be greeted by these two sparring bull moose, exactly where we needed to be. After observing and photographing them, they crossed the river and chose to hang out on the opposite bank, again right where we needed to cross. With darkness looming, they wandered off after a short while and we forded the river. While warming our feet from the ice-cold glacier water and sipping a cup of hot tea, the two bulls returned and drove us out of their turf. Still in my water shoes, we threw on our packs, grabbed everything that was scattered on the ground and hightailed it down the trail.

 

 

 

 

Spring Moose

Most mornings I hike out to the same spot on Eagle River, splash some cold glacial water on my face, look up the valley and take a few deep breaths. I like to start my day with a bit of solitude, surrounded by mountains. I must have been especially quiet today because this bull moose walked right up the trail and past me into the river. I had to back up just to fit it into my frame. He's already got 6-7" of new antler growth. During the height of summer, moose antlers can grow up to an inch per day.

Changes...

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)
Turn and face the seasonal
Ch-ch-Changes!

If you've followed along with the photos of this moose that I've been posting recently, here is a collage of the changes that took place over the past week. Hopefully I will be able to photograph him throughout the spring and summer as he grows a new set of antlers.

The Moose Formerly Known as "Moosicorn"

Say hello the moose formerly known as " Moosicorn" (aka Arctis Unicornus). I caught up with him this evening and apparently he shed his right antler since I saw him last, which was three days ago. Fortunately, I was able to capture the stages of his antler shedding over the past week, from having a full rack to the one-antlered “unicorn” stage and finally, a complete lack of headgear. Not to fret, he will start growing a new set of antlers in a couple of months.

Unicorned Moose

Today may have been the closest I ever come to fulfilling my dream of witnessing a unicorn in the wild. This is the bull moose that I photographed last week, though he was still carrying a full rack when I previously saw him. It seemed unusual to have his antlers this late in the winter season, so I reasoned that it wouldn’t be long before they were shed. Voila - five days later, you might say he is half the man he used to be.

February Bull Moose

This is the first moose I’ve seen near the Nature Center since last October; they aren’t as prevalent in this part of the valley during the winter months. I'm pretty certain this was one of the bulls I photographed out here last year. I imagine he will shed his antlers in the near future, only to be replaced by a new set in the spring.

Editing

I've been catching up on some long overdue editing recently, perusing thousands of images from the past year and narrowing down the list of keepers. It's always fun to look back on your experiences and recall what was going through your mind or what you were feeling at that moment. A picture may be worth a thousand words but when you have a personal connection to an image, it holds memories and emotions as well.

Here are two photos I came across from this past fall. The bear was taken at the Nature Center in October and the bull moose was in Denali National Park in September. Thank you all for continuing to follow along and share my page, which just passed 1,600 likes today (unsponsored) - not bad for being launched less than a year ago! As always, I'll do my best to keep exploring and sharing.

Cheers,

Colin