Head on bull Moose eating willows – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Yesterday morning I went looking for birds in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest along the Mirror Lake Highway in Summit County. I found some great birds and I will share some of those later but today I wanted to share two photos of a Moose that I saw in the willows while photographing some wrens, the bull was so close that I felt my best option was to take portraits of it as it nibbled on and ate the willows.
I could have used my Nikon D810 with the 18-200mm VR lens attached to get full body shots but since most of the body of the Moose was hidden by willows I decided to take close ups. I was safe inside a mobile blind and had an effective range of 1050mm so why not take portraits? I don’t often have opportunities with Moose this close.
Most of the time there were willows in front of the Moose’s face but for a bit I had his face out in the open as he ate some of the willows. As soon as I saw this photo on my LCD screen I had to laugh because the head on look with willow leaves in his mouth looked funny to me and then to have the “beard”, “bell” or “dewlap” on his neck swinging to the side just made me giggle. Only bulls have the beard and no one is sure what purpose it serves.
Bull Moose in velvet nibbling on willows – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I laughed again when I saw this photo on my camera LCD, the Moose was reaching to grab more willow leaves but was also keeping an eye on me in the mobile blind while his “beard” swung like the clapper of a bell.
The Moose later disappeared into the willows and all I could think of was that I wish I had been able to share the moose encounter with my Mom. We didn’t make it up to Mirror Lake Highway while she was here.
This Moose is in “velvet”, a hairy velvet textures sheath of skin that cover the antlers until the antlers reach full development and then the velvet is shed.
Life is good.