Friday, July 27, 2012

7/27 Elk and Wildlife Locations -- 7 Weeks to the 2012 Elk Rut

Grazing Together Now, But
Will Battle in September 7/27
The 2012 Elk Rut is now 7 weeks off. Bulls scrape velvet in just over 2 weeks.

Elk were pretty concentrated in the south half of Boxley Valley this morning. Bull elk were close to the road and provided outstanding viewing and photo opportunities.

Friday night we got a bit of rain and that affected viewing. I suspect the cool morning extended viewing as did light fog that blocked early sunlight. Tomorrow should be different. The Saturday and Sunday forecast is for 100+ temperatures, this translates to very early and late elk viewing. They will hit cover relatively early. That said, often the viewing is very good in very hot weather, you just have to get to the valley at daybreak.

This lousy picture is of a white winged
crow at the Ponca Access. Many locals
don't know these birds exist. 7/27
In other wildlife viewing, whitetail deer were here and there across the valley. Recently it has been fairly common to catch them in the water at the Ponca Access. I park on the bridge and wait. This morning I saw two whitetails grazing in the river on river grass, a green heron, and a great specimen of white winged crow. About 200 yards distant I could see otter feeding in a pool. All this without moving the car.

I have harped on this, but I will again. Very hot drought conditions concentrate wildlife around water. It also compresses the times you will see them, meaning if you are there when they are moving, there will be more animals because they are not moving in the heat of the day. They need to get their business done in early morning or late evening. This improves your chances at those times.

This cow elk is grazing in the river at
the Ponca Access to avoid heat. 
What did I see this AM?  Bull elk, cow elk, calf elk, an armadillo, an egret, two trumpeter swans, 4 groups of deer (one in the river), a green heron, a blue heron, many ducks, about 30 wild turkey (two flocks), and a spectacular white-winged crow. Not too bad for a morning shoot. This is the Boxley Valley wildlife viewing experience. Note, this is in the very hottest weather of the year -- the time people write off. There are no true off-seasons in the Buffalo National River region. There are differences in the seasons, but there are always natural attractions and opportunities for wildlife watching and photography.

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