Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Maine Sightings

Just got home from our summer trip to Maine for Moose calves.  This year we did not locate any calves. They certainly were there as we found the tracks and heard their blats!  Maine, like most of the northeast, got their vegetation about two weeks early this year and it indexed the feeding cycles for browse versus ponds early.  Most of the ponds had already turned "sour" this past week so finding cows with calves was tough.  We did find a number of yearling cows and bulls and of course we had a great time being in the woods (black flies and all).  Mount Katahdin still has some ice slides present on it.  We were fortunate enough to see quite a few warblers and had the good fortune to observe an adult pair of loons with chicks.

It was also refreshing to observe the difference in moose behavior in the highly human frequented Baxter Park ponds versus along the Golden Road and remote ponds we hiked in to in Baxter (2 miles or so from nearest roads).  I enjoy observing and photographing the moose that are wary far more than the moose that are human acclimated.  I can draw a direct parallel with the elk in PA.  However, I have yet to find a "wild elk" in Pennsylvania and I go more remote than most of the hunters in Pa.

This yearling moose befriended an older young bull after mom kicked him out to make room and time for a new calf.

This whitetail doe seems to be in the same area every time we go there.  She is a good example of a human acclimated animal.  She feeds to within a few feet of us and as one can see, she is not the least bit stressed.

This is one of a pair of fawns that we found and for most of the pictures I had too much lens. This picture was taken at 3200 ISO to keep shutter speed to a point so I could get a sharp picture in the dark Maine woods.  In the days of film this picture could not have happened.

Observing and photographing a pair of adult loons with their baby chicks was a highlight of the trip.  We had to wait for the right time of day because of the angle of the light then hope that they floated to an area that they had been earlier in the day.  We lucked out and were able to capture about 500 images of the chicks and mom with a few of dad included.  I was amazed at how ill informed some of the "eco friendly" campers were when it comes to animal behaviors.  A ranger in the park and some women staying in one of the primitive cabins were concerned that some one was stressing the loons as the mother would drop below them while they were on her back leaving them vulnerable and floating on the lake.  It was obvious that they did not understand that is how the chicks learn to swim and it is when mom goes for food that she then feeds them. These images were taken with a lens setup equivalent to a 22 power spotting scope.

Finally, Joan and I celebrated an anniversary of sorts when we were there.  40 years ago this past week was the last time that Joan and I were in a canoe together.  Lets say that the experience resulted in two very wet individuals!  I love canoeing and I was finally able to coax Joan into a canoe on a very cold Maine lake and we had a ball paddling through Moose Bog and into a beaver dam.   No-we did not take the good cameras and big lens in the canoe--I am not that brave yet.


Brad Myers said...

Jim, thanks for still posting. I enjoyed reading and looking at the photos from Maine. That is one place I have never been but I will make it some day (after retirement). Like you I am not brave enought to take the good cameras in a canoe.

I have photographed moose in Yellowstone, the Tetons and Alaska and have to say it is one of my favorite animals. I hope to see more from the trip.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful series of photos. Great moose photo. I would love to see one of those someday!
The photo of the deer is a true nature photo! I love the way it is kicking up water, and I like the rocks nearby. Beautiful!
That is the perfect loon photo!!! So crisp and clear. And, of course, you can't beat having the babies on her back. It certainly does make the greatest header photo! I am still waiting to see and hear my first loon.
Nice photos of you and Joan as well. What a stunning backdrop. Looks like a beautiful place.

Cheryl said...

Wow! I am so fortunate that Marci suggested a visit to your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I have lived in Maine my entire life and have not had the opportunity to see some of these sights myself. I especially liked the mother loon and her little ones. I love the cry of a loon but have never seen a young family. As for moose, I think in all the times I've crossed the Golden Road I've seen less than a dozen. The photo of the young deer was just stunning, again I have never had such an opportunity for a close-up. Your photos are stunning indeed. I will be back to visit soon!

Willard said...

Hi Jim,
I enjoyed reading about your Maine trip and seeing the excellent photographs.

The loon shots are amazing. You really make a good point about how so many photos we take today were not possible in film days. I sometimes am less than pleased with the real high ISO photos and then I realize that even they far outperform the high speed print and slide films that we shot.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Hi, I'm coming by at the suggestion of a friend who knows how much I love nature photography. Your blog is really special. I found myself saying "oh, Wow!" a lot as I viewed this post. I'll be back. :)

Manz said...

You have amazing photography throughout your blog, making it difficult to decide where to comment...

I am however currently duck obsessed having seen two sets of families in the valley in the last week, so when I saw your header, I had to find the post! Wonderful photos.

Ritchie said...

Hi all,

I loved all of these posts. A lot of these things we have, but I got some really great ideas. Wildlife Photography is probably the most popular part of Natural photography. Wildlife photography captures the wildlife in the right place at the right time.