On my way back from a great outing, where I was exploring and taking pictures, I came across this large grizzly walking near the road. In his full fall weight, all ready to go into a deep sleep to pass the winter. Every now and then he would stop to dig for some calories and then continue his merry way.
Moose like other wildlife have been dealing with more snow and cooler temperatures much earlier this year. Even with warmer days coming up tomorrow, much of their food has fallen to the ground. The moose will start eating twigs sooner then later.
The decibel level of elk bugling is 90 dB at 4 meters, lawnmower and food blender are two items that have similar sound levels. I have heard the bugling as far as 1 km away, with elk's larger ears, they would be able to hear the bugling from even further distance. this is important for the females who want to mate with a stronger male and help keeps weaker males away. Over 85 dB can lead to damage for human ears, another reason for us humans to keep our distance from wildlife. The recommend safe distance from elk i at least 30 meters. at that distance the bugling sound level comes to 72.5 dB. Close to the sound level when you're using a vacuum.
I came across this bull elk during a snow storm. I saw him with a small harem, away from any other males that might challenge him. He was still bugling, letting others know the harem was his.
The rut season is full on, the bulls can be head calling out throughout the Bow Valley. Here’s one of the bull with its harem I have been able to watch. The bull working to keep his harem together, calling out to attract more females and keep lesser males away. Still few weeks to go for the rut season, still time for other bulls to challange.
If it takes a village to raise a child, the same can be said about a grizzly bear in the front country. A grizzly growing up near people will be spotted by visitors and locals, they will pass on the sightings to dispatch. Dispatch will inform resource conservation officers dealing with wildlife, supported by the wardens and wildlife guardians and others. If the bear decides it wants to spend time where people live, visit and play, wildlife officers can be dealing with the same bear several times a day. Keeping the bear and people safe, giving the bear space to eat and move without the two legged mammals getting in the way. Providing a balance between letting the bear making a living and providing an opportunity for the people to see and or get a picture when it's safe to do so. The risk factors increase when you include moving vehicles in the mix, even more so when the road is a four lane highway and its middle of a very busy summer day and you have close to hundred vehicles stopped. People wanting to or do cross over four lanes, sometimes with kids by their side as vehicles drive by 90 km or faster, just to see a bear who is moving on the good (the side road is not on) side of the fence or across a wildlife overpass. Day in and day out, these are some of the constant challenges for the bears and those protecting wildlife and people face. All this for many small and one ultimate payoff, adding a new generation to the ecosystem. For eight years two grizzly sisters were looked after when help was needed, this May those two came out of their den with their first cubs. Here's one of them with one cub by her side and the other still playing in the shrubs behind them on a quiet evening in the mountains.
Work took me to Rocky Mountain House NHS, where early in the morning I got to see the small bison herd kept there. Here several cowbirds hanging out on the back of a cow.
Living in Banff National Park, nature is never far away. A bull elk hanging out at the rec grounds with a rainbow from of Mount Rundle.
When I'm watching wildlife I always have the camera ready to take pictures. When possible, if I'm safe from harm, I'm looking at the wildlife through the camera. Always ready to take the picture I don't want to miss, things happen fast and I don't want to be distracted when seconds count. With the mother near, the cubs were busy playing, and I was busy deciding which cub to follow with my camera. In the end, I kept going back and forth through the camera between the two cubs. For this picture I had a few seconds to get it, the cubs were not interested in staying in one place, they were play fighting or rolling around on the ground. As soon as I got this cub in focus between the blades of grass, I took the picture.
Following their mom, always near her for safety. About a month to go and some bears will start getting ready for the long winter nap. They are busy trying to gain weight, the more they gain the better chance they have getting through the coming winter. For the mother of these cubs, she also have to make sure there is enough food for her cubs.
We are creatures of habit and wildlife are no different. I came across this medium size black bear, brown in colour, walking and stopping to get a mouthful as he went along. From past experience I had a sense what route he would be taking, I went ahead and waited for him with the window down. I could not see him, but I could see the shrubs moving as he passed by them and on occasion the sounds he made when touching the shrubs. With no one else in the area, the chances were good he was heading toward me. The hope was when he went up the short incline near me, he would see me and give me a quick look before passing by me. My goal was to have the camera focused on his face and get a picture of him looking toward the camera. That evening it played out just as I hoped.
Middle of the day in the forest this grizzly mother and her two cubs walking, searching for food. Stopping to dig for roots, eating berries they came across and other vegetation. With no threat in the area, the cubs often lingered behind their mom, playing and eating.
Large male grizzly spotted walking near the edge of the forest. Bears at this time are spread out, searching for food. They have about two months to go before some will start looking to go to sleep. Not much food can be found bottom of the valleys, higher up in the meadows where food comes later, are places where the bears are searching. Adding on weight to survive the coming winter, half pregnant females adding on weight to be able to give birth in January.
Shepherd canadensis are their official name, but also called buffalo berry, soapberry, and by a few other names. The plant has edible berries, usually in red, but also seen in yellow and orange colours. Found across Canada, the shrub grows from a meter to two meters tall, grows in dry to moist woods, on sandy, rocky and in gravelly soils. Out here it blooms in May to June and the berries ripen in July. Elk, deer and bighorn sheep consume the leaves, while some birds and mammals eat the berries. The later includes both the brown and the black bear.
Six month old grizzly cub, enjoying its first summer. Every day is a new challenge, everyday security provided by it's mother. It will spend 3 to 4 years with its mother, learning what to eat and how to be safe.
This kid was just few weeks old when the picture was taken. Getting to spend sometime near the bottom of the valley, with its mother nearby. Most of its time will be spent much higher up, where it's safe from most predators.
In wildlife for many species, including for the mountain goats, the female looks after their young from the day they are born to the day they are on their own. The nanny will give birth away from others, when the kid can get around the two will seek the company of others. The kid will never be too far from the nanny. The nanny will help the kid with food, help it learn to climb, nanny using their eyes to help guide the kid through a safe route on a side of a mountain. So the least a kid can do is provide it's mother a place to rest her head for a few seconds on a hot day.
A beautiful morning, watching a mother grizzly and her two cubs, one next to her and the other just outside the frame.
Most living in the mountains or visiting, have sighting of grizzlies on the top of their list of wildlife they want to see. It's one of the often asked questions on social media or face to face, where can they go to see bears. The answer will often disappoint them, which is "get out as much as you can'. There are other factors, look for them from May to October, take the slower speed routes and drive at the speed limit so your eyes can see more around you, but these and other factors play a smaller role. Get out and explore as much as possible. It's very rare I'll be out looking just for bears, I like to get out and explore and from experience I know I'll have more than my share of bear sightings. Nature is a pretty amazing, but it will never show you everything all at once, the more you get out the more it will show you.
Lot of people if not all want to see bears, the way to do it is no secret. The main way to see more bears is to get out more.