Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Denali - Wolves
The diversity and quality of wildlife images that you can capture from the park road within Denali National Park, beyond milepost 15, is amazing. It is a true testament how successful things can work within a National Park that is managed well. The challenge is to maintain a true wilderness area and still allow public access w/out wildlife disturbance. I was fortunate to be able to photograph from the road two days last week.
The above wolf was located near an apparent kill site. When we arrived the wolf had the caribou calf hindquarter in his mouth. Incredibly, we watched as this wolf carried the remains 12 miles along the park road to the den site for the awaiting pups! He never slowed down on his trip even with the shuttle/tour buses that maintained an appropriate distance right behind him.
The above wolf was located in a field, sleeping just 100 yards off the park road. When he awoke, he decided to travel down the road as well.
This wolf was seen on the road out west near Wonder Lake on the road.
I left the road in the late afternoon and set up next to a pond area to photograph a Horned Grebe pair. After being there for an hour or so, I saw the above wolf cruising the other side, looking for an available waterfowl meal. When he heard my camera shutter go off, he turned and looked in my direction. As you can see in the bottom image, he came fairly close, prior to heading off into the bush. At this time of day and location within the park, a wolf was a surprise and special treat.
We were hoping to see the wolf pups. These were two of the three we observed on a river bar, well off the park road. Although not a great photo, still a special wildlife situation to view.
Denali/Mt. McKinley was also out on our second day. I framed the top image using some available caribou antlers from the Eielson Visitor Center. The lower image is from the western end of the park, out near Wonder Lake.
We were also able to capture some great Grizzly Bear images. Hope to post these on my next good available Internet day.