Tag Archives: elk

Half the Battle

I think I’ve mentioned this before but a recent blog (cravesadventure – Recess Time) reminded me that photography is my playtime.  With camera in hand, I look for beautiful and/or interesting things to photograph.   I love to freeze the moment so I can look into it closer and sometimes study it.  I often research things that I don’t understand.  Then I’ve preserved a reminder, for years to come, that God is amazing and kind in His creations.  He provided beauty and interest and food to enrich our lives, not just for our mere existence.

Spike Bull Elk
Spike Bull Elk

This yearling bull elk has a healthy coat this summer.  His diet is given away by the grass hanging out of his mouth and the grass seeds on his forehead.

I love seeing the incredible-timing photographs of wildlife.  I know how lucky you have to be to get those.  I’ve captured some of those without my knowledge until I’ve gotten back home and downloaded my camera to my laptop.  Half the battle is being in the right place at the right time.  The other half is having my camera pointed in the right direction, and in the right mode, when the incredible happens.  The two yearling elk (in the photo below) stood up on their hind legs and pawed at each other.  I could hear their hooves click as they hit each other.   It lasted 15 seconds and I couldn’t convince them to do it again after I was ready.  Here’s half the battle:

Elk Battle
Half of the Elk Battle

sigh: video of the whole battle would have been more fun

This blog is more of a scrapbook for me than for anyone else.  When I am old and unable to get outside, maybe this blog will be my playtime.  Although, recently, a music artist (Twilly Frost) asked if he could buy rights to one of my photos for his album cover; so that was unexpected and (I admit) flattering.

Elk Calving on Oregon Coast

I was just reading the article below that says the elk are calving a little late this year:  Protective mother elk menaces Gearhart beachgoers

I wonder what causes that?  A long, warmer-than-usual autumn?  Not sure but I’m glad the little ones started showing up.  You can see the difference in size of these calves as the larger one was probably born 3 or 4 weeks earlier than the others.

elk-calves-2

I just think they are adorable with their fluffy coat and white spots.  They outgrow their spots in late fall.  They even have the light brown rump but it is not as pronounced as the adult’s.

elk calf
Fluffy elk calf with spots

The cows leave the main herd before giving birth.  Mom’s leave their calves in the tall grass to rest while she feeds.  If you see a calf with no adult elk around, fight the urge to “save” it.  Do NOT approach it.  The calf is just fine.  You would put the calf in danger.  Mom WILL be back.  See how well they can hide in the tall grass in the photo below.

Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass
Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass

We often see the bull hanging around the cows and calves. Even the yearlings seem concerned or curious when the little ones are crying for mom. The bulls don’t get competitive with the younger bulls until late fall.

We counted 6 calves on this day; July 1, 2017.

elk-calf-injured-1

After I got these photos on the computer I noticed a bright red smudge on the cheek of the calf on the left.  Making sure it wasn’t a photo-glitch, I checked another photo of the calf and it was there too.  I’m guessing it was injured when trying to get through a barbwire fence.  Elk cost ranchers a lot of money by damaging their fences.  But the fence won the battle today.  😦

 

Hay Fever or Elk Fever?

I’m not sure what I have but something is making me sneeze!

These are adult elk lying in tall grass – or hay – I confess that I don’t know the difference.  Anyway, there could be calves with them but you’d never see them.

Elk cows lying in a hay field with only head showing
Looks like the elk are in bloom!

The elk don’t seem to mind the birds collecting insects off their back.  I have hundreds of photos of elk in this area and I’ve never seen birds on their backs.  I wonder if there are more insects than normal this summer?

birds eat insects on elk back
Hitching a ride or meal?

Looks like this little guy is also blossoming. He was born last summer so his antlers are just now starting to grow.  By the end of the summer he’ll have a good set of spikes.

brand new antlers on bull elk
brand new antlers on bull elk

Of course his daddy is fully grown and lookin’ good!

Elk in velvet
Elk in velvet

Nursing Elk

From a distance, in a herd of elk, it is sometimes hard to distinguish the yearlings from the newest calves after they’ve lost their spots.  But there is one time when it is obvious.

Click/tap to watch the video here:  Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf
Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Elk Fog Horn

The fog was so thick this morning that I could hardly see across the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast.  Then I heard an elk call from a calf.  They sound like a weaker version of the adult cow.  So I looked and saw one or two elk making their way across the field making calls to each other like a sonar tracking system.  Then the rest of the herd appeared as the fog lightened a little.

Elk in Fog Video

elk on foggy morning
Elk on foggy morning

Oregon Coast Elk

The elk keep their newborns hidden for a month or so but we finally saw this herd’s 2 calves today.  To see the video, click or tap on the photo or this link:  https://youtu.be/AvWTXqUX4dA

elk calf
Fences are not as easy for calves to cross as their parents

This herd has a wide variety of ages.

elk herd
Only 2 new calves so far this summer (far left)

Here is a yearling bull just starting to grow his antlers.  They are just nubs this summer.  Next summer he’ll have a set of spikes.

yearling bull with antler nubs
Yearling bull (left) with antler nubs showing

This one looks pretty sickly.  You can see her ribs and she doesn’t have much hair.

Sickly-looking cow elk
Sickly-looking cow elk

The rancher’s cows want to chat with the elk but she’s having none of it.

elk and cows have conversation
They are so stupid…they think I sat in white paint and dipped my head in black paint

This bull has some interesting antlers.

bull elk with crooked antler
Crooked antler

This is a nice looking bull.  Looks like 9 points to me; unless I don’t know which ones count.

9 point bull elk
9 points?

Little one asks mom for dinner.

Elk calf with mama
Elk calf with mama

Wildlife are Resourceful

I’m pretty sure these are some young wood ducks starting to get their colors.  The blue feathers and the white around the eye that trails off like eyeliner are especially pretty.

Young Wood Ducks
Young Wood Ducks

The elk are starting to graze on apples and wild blackberries now.  They can reach further than I can.

elk in blackberries
Elk grazing in wild blackberries

Why is it that we can’t get a sunflower to grow in fertile soil but if a chipmunk plants it…

sunflower
Sunflowers planted by chipmunk

Maybe they have magic spit?