Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Denali - Lynx

I have been blessed in my life to have had some incredible experiences viewing and photographing wildlife. My third evening in Denali for 2010 season was in the top ten. After arriving in Denali, I had driven the park road for two evenings and the critter viewing wasn't especially great. So, on night three thought I would check on my favorite beaver lodge. Last season I had taken over 20 trips watching the clan's activities. It was exciting while heading down to the lodge in the snow because I could tell that I was the first visitor to the area since last fall. When I arrived, there was a small open water area (10' x 20') directly in front of the lodge.

After about an hour the beavers began to come out onto the ice. They began eating some of their stashed willow limbs from the winter cache.

Eventually the entire family came out and was out on the ice right in front of me.

After several enjoyable hours of watching their activities, I saw something approaching from the woods, to my left, in my peripheral vision. I was in leafy camo and secluded, so whatever was moving towards the beavers could not see me. Not moving an inch I could just see that the animal was a gray color. I thought that it was either a wolf or coyote. My heart was racing and I hardly didn't want to blink, wondering what I was about to witness. Well as you did see, from the top image, that the animal ended up being a Lynx. Man was I excited.

He made a wimpy attempt at catching one of the beavers on the ice. The beavers all dove into the water quickly. The Lynx never really had a chance.

After the beavers dove in, the Lynx walked over to where they exited and looked down into the water. The green tint of the water from the adjacent conifers and his face reflection in the water was awesome to see, let alone photograph.

The Lynx could hear the camera shutter go off and looked in my direction. Next, what was amazing, was that he laid down next to the opening for 45 minutes hoping the beavers would show up again right in front of me!

When he gave up and left the water opening into the woods, he sat down for a minute and stared in my direction, still trying to figure me out. My heart was racing the entire time.

I thanked the photo Gods immensely. Swear I am the luckiest guy in the world and so fortunate to see what I have in my life.

This week is my final week of training. Officially start in uniform this weekend when we open the Visitor Center. Things are just starting to open outside the park. Still gets down below freezing every night.

Blue Skies all.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

This post has just blown me away Ken!! What an amazing, awesome, brilliant and outstanding experience!!

WOW!! WOW!! WOW!! What incredible luck!! These shots are incredible too!!

How I long to be back in the bush!! To my mind, these are the things which makes life worthwhile!!

Thank you so much for sharing. I think I feel as about excited as you did!! :) WOW!!

Tim Rucci said...

What an amazing experience, Ken! I've been waiting for this post since I saw the images on your website. Having been to that spot with you last year, your detailed explanation had me imagining that I was right there witnessing it. I can imagine that my hand would have been shaking trying to click the shutter, hoping not to miss the shot. You captured it flawlessly, and probably got some of your best images of the entire season in only your first week. Perhaps having the lynx appear while you were there can be attributed to luck, but getting these amazing images certainly cannot. What may seem like luck, is actually the sum of one's experience, forethought, and preparation when contemplating an outing such as this one. Congratulations on capturing some truly amazing images!

Willard said...

What an amazing encounter, Ken. I think Tim sums it up well. Congratulations on a world class series of photographs!

HANNIBAL said...

Now that is quite a moment in nature! Wow! I can only dream of this! Phenomenal photography! The reflections was the cherry on top!

Elaine said...

Wow!!! What an incredible experience! I too agree with what Tim said. Having the lynx show up may have been luck, but the preparation, patience, and skill to get these shots certainly were not luck. They are exquiste! My favorite of them all is the reflection shot with the lynx.

Congratulations on such a wonderful encounter and supurb photos!

Montanagirl said...

Beautiful shot of the Lynx. They are such a beautiful animal.

Andor Marton said...

What a fantastic series and experience! The #1 and 9 pictures are amazing - what a "nice kitty".
I read now your last posts - so you are now back in Denali for another season. You had some problems with the running water last year - if I remember well - you had WIFI but no water or something like this. It's still the same situation?
The prairie chicken pictures from this year are better than that from last year - in my opinion.

Ron Niebrugge said...

Wow, those are outstanding!

Misty Dawn said...

WOW! Your posts, photos, and experiences are what my dreams are made of. Yes, you are a lucky person to live out your dreams. Ths post is outstanding in every sense of the word.

Denise Martin said...

Absolutely incredible Ken. And it's just the start of you season at Denali... I will be looking forward to more posts on your blog.

Dane said...

Glad you made it safely, Ken and good to see you in full swing! Love the lynx.... congrats! Keep 'em coming!

Philip said...

Stunning shots Ken Fantastic looking cat and the beaver pictures 10/10

Kerry said...

What an awesome experience and great shots to record it.