Snow Geese @ Freezeout Lake

Avian, Snow Geese, © Greg Speasl

Captured 2015-03-29

With the mild winter across much of the western United States the Snow Geese did not arrive in the larger numbers that I have seen in past years. I talked with a wildlife biologist who said that there were only 16,000 to 22,000 on any given day. The fact that the weather was not as harsh probably meant they did not need as much rest so they moved in and out of the area fairly quickly. As always this is a viewing experience not to be missed.

Camera Info/Settings:
Nikon D810
Nikkor 300mm AF-S f/4D IF/ED  @  300mm
1/800 second exposure @ F4  ISO 800
Medium Gitzo tripod..
RAW file processed with Lightroom 5
TIFF file processed with Photoshop CC

Grizzly — Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) – Yellowstone National Park, WY.  Grizzlies are normally solitary active animals, but in coastal areas the grizzly congregates alongside streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds during the salmon spawn.  Every other year, females (sows) produce one to four young (commonly two) which are small and weigh only about 500 grams (one pound).  A sow is protective of her offspring and will attack if she thinks she or her cubs are threatened.  Grizzly Bears are very aggressive animals that will take anything as a threat.

This Grizzly was actually still with his brother who is just ahead of him.  They were still quite friendly with each other, this will not be the case when they start competing for females.  If I had not talked with a local photographer and a park ranger who were familiar with this pair, I would not have been able to learn about these guys.  When my brother and I came across these two they were just having some fun by putting the run on some full grown bison, it was a lot of fun watching them sneak through the trees and then charge the bison.  After they did this several times they wandered off together.

Freezeout Lake — Snow Goose Migration

Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area is located in Teton County in north central Montana 40 miles west of Great Falls along US Highway 89 between Fairfield and Choteau – Access the area from US Highway 89, or Frontage Road from Fairfield, to various turnouts and parking areas year-round. (Lat 47.659, Lng -112.038)

Freezeout Lake is Montana’s primary snow goose staging area, a place where as many as 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans gather and rest before flying onward. In Spring, the snow geese head for Alberta and central Saskatchewan in Canada. There they mass with hundreds of thousands of other snow geese from Texas and other Gulf Coast States. In a series of shorter flights, the geese then make their way to nesting grounds on the wind swept, extreme northwest Arctic coast of Canada. The Snow Geese usually reach Freezeout in early March, where they rest up from a nearly 1,000 mile flight from California. Best viewing of the birds is from sunrise to 10:00am and from 4:30pm until sunset. 

Eagle, Hwy. 2 — Glacier National Park

Eagle I spotted on the way home from work about a week ago. This was along Hwy. 2 on the southern border of the park between Essex and East Glacier Park. I managed to get quite a few shots but he was so far away that most were not very good. This is the one that I liked the best. It was not till he took flight that I realized there was a second eagle somewhere that I did not notice before, they flew off together into Glacier National Park as I was departing…