When Rob English saw Dan’s recent Furry Friday post about the Moose with an unusual antler, he realized that he had photographed the same animal earlier this year. His photos were taken on July 20, 2013 in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, on the Smith-Dorrien Road at the Black Prince hiking trail. It’s interesting to compare these shots with Dan’s from October.
Earlier this month I was invited out to find some wildlife with my friend Ignacio Yufera. We decided to try for an early visit to Highwood Pass in search of White-tailed Ptarmigan, and while we dipped on finding our target species, we did end up having a fairly successful day overall. This male Moose came into view quite a way down the road, and slowly walked by Ignacio’s vehicle, allowing us very good looks at it. What really stood out was its right antler, which was damaged and drooping down the side of his face. We initially thought of it as a simple damaged antler, which had broken off in a fight, but after taking a second look, it appears the antler was simply mal-formed, as it looks like it’s growing naturally that way.
Any thoughts on what may have caused it? Leave your comments below!
We spotted this Moose running across highway 22X just east of Calgary on July 28, 2013. We stopped and got a few photos and a video as it ran right across the highway. Fortunately, no cars crossed its path. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a moose east of the city before. It probably came up from the Bow River valley just south of the highway, but I’m not sure where it was headed in such a hurry.
The moose is tagged in its right ear. It is probably part of a study of moose populations, but I haven’t been able to find out anything about this. If anyone knows what the tags mean, let us know in the comments.
This year I decided to take part in another Citizen Science project, the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey, conducted by Bird Studies Canada. The basic requirements are quite simple: visit the lake once in each of June, July, and August to see if there is a breeding pair of Loons present, if they fledge young, and if the young survive. Each visit should be at least two hours, but of course you can spend more time and may visit the lake more often if you like. You also keep track of other birds associated with the body of water. I knew of a small lake southwest of Calgary in the Bragg Creek area that has been occupied by loons for a few years, so I checked with BSC to see if it was being monitored. It hadn’t, so I registered to monitor the lake.
We arrived at the lake in the afternoon and soon spotted a lone Loon.
There are two islands in the lake, and I knew that the loons had built a nest on the south island in each of the past three years. We climbed into the local rowboat which is always on the shore, and headed out into the water.
We tried to keep clear of the south island so as not to get too close to a nest if there was one, although I did want to see how many eggs were present if possible. We went between the two islands, keeping close to the north one, and checking the south one through binoculars for a nest. There had also been a cow moose who calves on the south island every year, and if she was there, we didn’t want to disturb her either. To our delight ,we soon saw the Moose and her calf through the dense foliage. I got a quick picture of the cow, but not the calf, and didn’t linger near the island – Moose can swim very well!
We soon noticed that there were in fact two Loons on the lake, a breeding pair.
The Loons were acting strangely, diving and then surfacing very close to the boat, and diving again with a noisy splash, only to come up again on the other side.
We were getting some great close-up views, but then I realized why the Loons were so agitated: their nest was on the north island, and we were only a few feet away from it.
There were two eggs on the nest! We quickly retreated, and were relieved to see one of the Loons take its position on the nest. They are probably quite used to people being around – there were the remains of a campfire on their island – but we certainly hadn’t intended on disturbing them.
When we returned in the evening for another look at the Loons, we came across the cow Moose which was feeding on the path to the lake. Luckily, since the calf was still on the island, she was not aggressive.
Doing the survey is a great opportunity to contribute to our knowledge of Common Loons, and you get to witness scenes like this:
I will post Part Two of the Loon Survey later, after I return to the lake in late July and see if the chicks have successfully fledged.
If you are interested in taking part in the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey, contact Bird Studies Canada. Here is a link to their website . You can also contact Kathy Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-888-448-2473 ext. 124, or register online. The CLLS is a self-supporting program, so you must hold an active BSC membership to participate. For more information, select this link to view the program brochure, or to view a map of available Canadian lakes and their most recent survey year, select this link. (Above information taken from the Nature Calgary website )