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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😦
“Eagle!” my content advisor (as he likes to go by) calls out. I look out the window in time to see the adult eagle swoop down to the river. Fumbling with my camera, I watch it land briefly on the rocks, pick something out of the river and continue flying upriver.
Keeping my eye on him I get my lens cap off, turn on the camera and get out the door onto our deck overlooking the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast. He landed! The “eagle has landed”; to borrow a phrase from my childhood.
I hear another eagle chirp every minute or so; like a juvenile keeping in close contact with a parent who has food. And, sure enough…here comes the kid with a hollow leg.
Then another adult flew in to greet the two!
It happened too quick to get a photo of all 3 eagles together. The camera doesn’t always win when I have to make a split-second choice between watching wildlife and photographing it. The two adults flew off together and the young one stayed on the rock. I couldn’t tell if the parent finished eating or left something for Junior.
Bald Eagles get their adult plumage in about 5 years. This one looks like it is beginning to get its white head feathers.
We’re enjoying a snowday from home today. Snow on the beach is such a rarity on the Oregon Coast and I got to kinda see it once…at midnight…from a distance…lit by my camera flash…see here: Snow on Tillicum Beach
Today I’m enjoying it from up the Alsea River.
We had plans for going to Newport to volunteer at the Family History Center and then do our weekly grocery shopping. But caution prevails today.
Some don’t mind travelling on snow days but the duck route isn’t any different than any other day on the river.
Most of the snow fell before the tide started going out this morning.
Salmonberries first gathered weeds from the high river last month and now snow.
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.
The Merganser chicks’ wings are developing. They aren’t big enough to fly yet but they can dive and they look like they are flying under water.
Mama Merganser is on the left in the next photo. Compare her wings, which include a white patch, to her chicks. They’ve had their nap and are now ready to get back to business.
Before this family landed on the rocks of the Alsea River, Mama Merganser was chasing something in the river. I couldn’t see what it was but 2 Mallards also came from across the river quacking at the same thing. Whatever it was never came back. The Mallards didn’t even have chicks with them. I thought it was cool that they joined forces with Mama Merganser.
With as many predators who love the tender merganser veal I’m always impressed by the number of chicks a mom is able to raise. This mom has eleven chicks and it is probably due to their strict obedience to her.