I found this beautiful doe and her fawn in Kananaskis Country – they were kind enough to stay for a minute and let me take a family portrait in the forest.
White-tailed deer are a bit flighty so when I came across this doe munching on some flowers (another dandelion hunter as it turns out), it was no surprise that the tail came up and she took a few quick steps away. She quickly returned to grazing so I wasn’t too much of a threat – or the flowers were too good to walk away from.
This White-tailed stag was found during a short drive into Bragg Creek on Christmas day this year.
We are slowly warming up to New Year’s Eve and looking forward to the fireworks that our local community of Redwood Meadows puts on. Always a great show – and they go early so the children get to enjoy them too!
I hope everyone has enjoyed, or is enjoying the last day of 2016. It has been a winding year for our family, as it often goes, but still filled with a lot of laughs and the continued wonders of rearing my two children.
The snow fell heavily last night after an initial hailstorm started things off. This morning there was two inches (~5 cm) of snow on the ground. I went out for a short drive into West Bragg. I missed the Great gray owl that a couple of photographer friends watched this morning. This mother White-tailed deer and her two fawns along the edge of the snowy forest made up for that though.
In between the absurdly early snowstorm in September and the first winter cold snap that started last week, we had a great autumn here in the Foothills between Calgary and Banff. I spent a fair bit of time on the prairies and enjoyed some good encounters with their wild residents. The Great Horned Owl above was from a stand of trees west of High River during a great day where I had two separate encounters (one and two) with these beautiful owls. The one below is closer to home being a few miles south of Cochrane.
A beaver in the lake at Wild Rose, west of Bragg Creek, let me watch him swim on an overcast day where the ripples were soft and provided some nice opportunities. On another visit a pair of muskrat preened on the lake’s shoreline before returning to the water.
White-tailed deer are regularly seen in the fields as they stock up for winter. It was cool to see the young stag in the second image that was stag traversing the blackened earth in a much less recovered section of the Sawback prescribed burn that was done in 1993.
Another White-tail on the prairies stood on alert in a field south of Cochrane where I watched two stags rutting.
I was roaming the gravel roads east of south of Cochrane on the weekend. As dusk started to fall, I found a small herd of white-tailed deer in the middle of a field. There were two bucks standing apart from four does. The smaller male was prancing about a bit so I put on my longest lens and waited to see if anything would happen. We are still in the middle of the rut so I was hoping they might do some antler jousting.
And, as it turned out, they did. They clashed a couple of times with antlers cracking while they tangled head to head. The battle was short, frenetic and I felt very lucky to watch this moment play out.
After this skirmish the smaller one darted away and they stood apart for a minute before moving up a fold in the hillside back towards the seemingly unimpressed does.
The morning mists in Bragg Creek get caught in the trees when they start to dissipate as the day warms up. It provided a nice background when I saw this White-tailed deer walking through the wet grass.
With the cooler mornings of late August, mist becomes a frequent visitor before dawn in Bragg Creek. This young White-tail stag stared at me from a field near the hamlet which gave me a moment to photograph him surrounded by, and almost a part of, the mist on the weekend on a day that started very close to freezing.
While watching a Great Gray Owl hunting in the morning, this young White-tailed Deer entered the field and wandered around for the better part of an hour. It saw me and the owl but was not particularly interested in either of us. Preferring to devote its attention to finding the best grass shoots and dandelion stems.
A little earlier, I came across another White-tail in a forested meadow. This young stag was head down eating when I noticed him but then lifted his head and gave me a beautiful look before I left.
This fawn was in a shaded bend of a stream west of Bragg Creek. I noticed this little one’s mom in the middle of the stream first but the light stealing through the trees into this nook grabbed my attention. I watched for a minute and then the fawn stepped into the light and created a good photo op for me. It is very nice when wildlife helps to make the images that much better.
The rain fell hard up in Kananaskis on Friday morning and it served to make this deer almost glow in the wet forest. There were a couple of coyote encounters and a beautiful sunrise that preceded this moment but this was really nice.
(please click on the image for a higher resolution version)
This fawn was trailing its mother along this cliff trail above the Elbow River in Kananaskis. The rising sun had just hit the hillside so the warm light soaked the hill.
There is a small pond just across the road from the firehall in Redwood Meadows. Spring is when wildlife is most active in this stretch of water.
It regularly overflows its northern edge at that time of the year and then fills up a much larger area, not even close to a lake but it becomes a much larger pool. This year has had a fair bit of rain so the pond has stayed beyond its borders for the summer so far. The other evening, the light was really rich and warm. With the hot temperatures, it was a draw for the animals. I was happy to watch them for a few minutes.
I find deer to be so alert that I usually can get close and keep them relaxed by letting them see me while I move. When they are watching me, I can take a couple of steps without causing them to bolt away. A small flash of movement caught in the corner of an eye or a stray sound will scare both small herds, and larger ones, away.
I did not get particularly close to this pair of white-tailed deer. I exchanged a few looks as I passed them while on a hike in West Bragg and they were already on alert so I made a couple of images and then continued along the trail that the line dividing Bragg Creek from the edge of Kananaskis Country. With the rain of the past week, I expect things will start greening up quickly now. I will get back to this field this weekend of the next one to check on both these white-tails and the foliage.
Yesterday, I was hiking in Kananaskis Country, west of Bragg Creek, morning along a trail that winds through the forest. The trees are often well spaced out and allow a lot of streaming sunlight to reach down. The highlight of the trek was finding a small herd of White-tailed Deer that were moving slowly towards the hills.
I stepped off the trail and shadowed their progress for a few minutes. I waited for one deer to step into a shaft of light and then tried to create an interesting image.
There were a couple occasions where everything lined up and I got close to what was in my head. In these pictures, I like the sense of the forest and the magic of sunlight.
I was enjoying the stroll in the woods when I was alone, save for the birdsong and angry squirrel reports, but crossing paths with these deer made it a very memorable day.
A chilly morning in West Bragg Creek gilded all the tall grass and tree boughs with hoar frost emphasizing the hold winter now has on Kananaskis Country. I wandered around a few trails before finding this muscular stag walking steadily through a field.
He watched me closely for a minute, pausing to check me over, before carrying on through the snow parallel to the path before crossing and bounding up the hill into the forest.
I encountered a second buck as I was heading back to Bragg Creek. I was driving on Township Road 232 and he was near the fenceline, partially obscured by a stand of reed-like branches. I was running a bit late and he seemed anxious so I only stayed for a minute to get this image before heading on my way.