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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Moose, moose, and more moose!

Shyla and I headed out this morning into a gray day with light snow falling. We were playing with her new toy, making all sorts of noise when she suddenly looked really hard behind me. This is becoming a theme!

You can guess what she saw - a moose who was browsing in a nearby aspen grove while Shyla and I played raucously (I'm amazed he didn't flee). I happened to have a long lens with me so I told Shyla to stay while I took a few photos. This young male was eating aspen branches.

A closer view shows that he is not our resident yearling male who has only a left antler ("Lefty"). This guy has two antlers. I'd guess that he's a yearling based on their size.

He didn't seem concerned with me although I was a good distance away. I was using the equivalent of a 600mm lens and cropped these photos.

He took a bite of an aspen twig...

... and then he departed, as the snowfall grew heavier.

Shyla and I went back to our playing and training. We played some games with a new toy. She really likes it, and it fits in my pocket. It's perfect for having handy to use as a reward for good behavior.

Then, I planned out a route to avoid the bull moose we'd just seen. However, it turned out that another moose was in the same area and my route didn't avoid her. She was a female moose with no calf.

We stopped well short of her, and Shyla sat next to me while I took a few photos. The moose barely glanced in our direction. She was busy eating shrubs.

Then, she started moving away from us on a diagonal, and the yearling bull appeared out of the forest to move with her.

In the interest of safety, I decided it was time to turn around, away from the moose pair, and retrace our route. Interestingly, this winter is the first time we've had any moose around who aren't mothers with calves. It seems as if the other moose (non-mothers) are far less concerned with us than the mothers. It makes sense but I won't bet my life on it.

When we were nearly finished our crazy moose-dodging route, I spotted a controlled burn that was a mile or so away from us. It was so big that it had made its own cumulus cloud!
The Forest Service was burning today because a snowstorm was supposed to hit today, helping control the burn. So far, we've had only the snow squall that arrived while I photographed the moose. The forecast says that the main part of the storm will arrive tonight, later than expected. Hopefully, it will douse anything that's still burning!


  1. So beautiful. They look huge
    Lily & Edward

  2. And they look so healthy. It wont be long and you'll have a beautiful population of moose.

  3. I am still in awe od those big things. I saw my first one this Fall. I could hardly believe my eyes.

  4. Shyla is so cute with her new toy! Wow! Look at all the moose! It's good that they weren't concerned about you!

  5. Crikey ..... just as well I'm not there. Leave 'em alone and they'll leave you alone, aye?? My problem is I can't leave any critter alone. Even big ones. If they run I chase 'em. Mum says they are beautiful. What would she know??

  6. So cool to see the moose. Did they get transplanted there maybe, like a relocation project?

  7. I'm so glad you got a look (and great captures) of these moose from a distance!!

  8. Thank goodness for long lenses:) They are beautiful creatures, but oh so BIG!!!

  9. Amazing that the moose have become so numerous. Hope they don't begin to interfere with your enjoyment of the trails with your Shyla.

  10. they are so majestic! Such cool shots in the snow
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  11. Incredible photos of the moose, I can't imagine being that close to one. I hope the snow does help with the burning.

    Anne and Ziggy

  12. Hi Mary - Good Guess. Twelve moose were transplanted to a spot near Steamboat Springs in 1977. They have done better than anyone ever expected. The problem is that I think that our elevation is about as low as they can go here because the habitat is too dry down lower. This is turning into an ecology experiment - What will the moose do when they can't migrate any further east? For the moment, they seem to be piling up at the eastern boundary of good habitat.

  13. Is there building going on that is moving the moose into your area?

  14. That mama moose sure is BIG! Fire is so scary. We hope it's out by now.

  15. Are you finding more moos around then usual this year?

  16. What a moose filled walk. So glad Shyla is so well-behaved that she doesn't take off after them.

  17. Amazing photos! I can't tell if you were biking or hiking, but either way carrying a lens that big is mighty impressive.

  18. Goodness, you sure ran into a bunch of those critters. They really do look amazing!

  19.!! Seriously amazing pictures. Have a wonderful weekend!!

  20. Love your pics!!!! I just can't stop saying that and now that I know your lens size, it all makes sense. I wanted to get hubby and bigger lens(we have a 350 zoom), but when I saw the prices I thought, nope don't need it. We've gotten about 6" of snow here since last night-I had to be out driving and while the roads(weren't cleared)weren't bad, trying to stop sure is, even going really slow. I love the Moose in your area and it is so good to hear how careful you are. Shyla is such a beauty!

  21. Those are the coolest photos KB!!!


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