Yesterday I took out the McGill’s for a photo safari. We shot sunrise then heading out looking for animals. The elk soon showed up and we got some good shots with them. Then we did some landscapes and snow abstracts and headed to find Big Horn Sheep. We found 3 ewes up on the hill so I broke out the 500mm added the teleconverter and John went to town shooting. After lunch at Deleo’s Deli we found the resident elk at McGregor Mtn Lodge already growing their new set of antlers. Up the road we found 25 more big horns and I got the picture below. We wrapped up the day spotting 3 coyotes too far to out to shot and shot the water at the alluvial fan. Good day even though it was sunny.
While on a photo safari with Mike from Kansas we visited the McGregor Mountain Lodge and were pleasantly surprised by two big bull elk, one being Lefty. A bull with a funky left ear who seems to visit every winter season to the bird feeders. Well Lefty’s friend got into the Christmas Lights getting festive on the first sunny day after a winter storm. Christmas and the Holidays are just around the corner, even the elk know it!
While scouting around this afternoon I wanted to head out to Moraine Park to see if the gigantic elk herd that was there yesterday was there again today. It definitely was. In the shot below I used Photoshop’s counting tool, and added the 8 elk that are around the corner out of view. The total, just a mere 462 elk. The park service currently estimates the elk population in the park to be between 600-800 for the winter season.
Went out with Graig from Missouri and had a great few moments of sunrise in Moraine Park, had some nice elk encounters, focused on the ice and frost up around the Glacier Gorge area. Beyond some stellar’s jays the small animal highlight was an Abert’s Squirrel running from the much smaller Pine Squirrel through the Alluvial Fan Picnic area. The day ended with a great mule deer siting right next to the road. Had a second tour with with the Kim and Mark from West Palm Beach and the mule deer were still next to the road, as well as some great elk. We talked cameras from f-stops to ISO, and everything in between. They walked away knowing a lot more about their camera and getting a few really great shots.
Spent the morning with fellow instructors for the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, very intriguing. Then had an evening Safari where we spotted a Brown-capped Rosy Finch on the tundra, a Great Horned Owl, and then there was some great elk action.
Had two tours today, the morning with a couple from New York City, we started off with the elk rut in the meadows, then watched as a family of 6 coyotes played near some elk then literally walked right past us. Headed down the valley and found 2 bull Moose in Moraine Park. In the afternoon we spent time with a marmot, mule deer, and of course a few hours with the elk, we had a great show. We then rounded out the evening with the Beaver family.