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Friday, October 12, 2012

Misty Morning Moose

This morning at dawn, we looked out our bedroom window and saw this moose walking across our field into our shrub area, following close behind a female moose. OMG was our first response. Then, photographer that I am, I ran downstairs and, fortunately, the camera was already set up on the tripod inside the house. In the dim light I shot this photo at 10,000 ISO (yes that is the correct number, my Canon 1D Mark IV will shoot even higher ISOs than that) with a Canon 500mm lens plus 1.4 teleconverter, from about 300 ft. away.

This is a young bull moose, you can tell by his antlers. Quoting from our Stokes Guide to Animal Tracking and Behavior,
"There is no way to determine the age of a moose by counting the points on the antlers. The only clue that antlers give to age is the diameter at the base of the antlers, which gets larger each year. Bull calves have only short spikes for their first fall. Yearling and 2-year-old bulls can have either simple spikes or branched antlers, but generally their antlers are not flattened like those of older bulls."
So he is about 1-2 years old, and he is about to get lucky, because he was walking behind a cow moose (she had already moved into the shrub area and I did not get her photo.)
"Once a cow in estrus and a bull have found each other, they stay together for 1-2 weeks. During this time there are three phases of behavior. In the first phase the bull simply stands sideways, several yards in front of the cow, for long periods. When she moves, he moves again to stand in front of her. In the next phase the bull follows a few steps behind the cow, moving when she moves. Finally the female stands still and lets the bull mount and mate with her. They may mate several times over the course of a day or two. Following this, the bull leaves in search of another cow in estrus."
We watched them browse in the dense shrubs at the edge of our woods. The cow then moved on, and he followed close behind her and they disappeared out of sight (dang)......

Wow, we never know what cool natural history event we will see here at Bobolink Farm, our 48 acre NH property. This was one of those very special moments.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

That's incredibly cool! This must be your most exciting non-avian yard sighting.