The last patches of ice and snow melt into pools of water on this Yukon lake, creating a unique reflection of the surrounding forest.
One misstep or mis-perch and this northern hawk owl might become a feather duster as it precariously sits on what looks like a very uncomfortable perch. It was about a year ago that I took this photo up in the Yukon and in the next week I will be passing by this spot on another Alaskan, Yukon and BC adventure. Hopefully I see a few more of these amazing birds along the way.
One more for today. This lamb of the year watched me from a comfortable distance on a snow covered mountain near Destruction Bay, Yukon. The herd blended in so well with the snow it was hard to spot them initially. I wanted to mimic this in my photo so I overexposed more than typical to create this effect.
In a co-ordinated burst, a flock of snow buntings cascades from a tree to fly off in search of food.
A profile shot of the uniquely coloured ‘cross’ fox as it trotted along the crusted snow.
I came across this uniquely coloured fox just outside of Whitehorse. Red fox colouration can vary from their typical appearance to almost completely black. This one was a cross between the two and hence the name “cross fox” that is assigned to this naturally occurring variant.
Just north of the little community of Burwash Landing is an area known for Northern hawk owls. True to it’s reputation, I spotted at least five different owls within a kilometer. This particular one was very tolerant of me and allowed me to slowly approach without being disturbed. Once I was in a good spot for photos I sat and waited for when it took off. Obviously, birds are much more likely to fly away from a person if they feel at all threatened so keeping far enough away to not disturb them is key. Also working in my favor on this day was that another hawk owl flew behind me and landed in a nearby tree. The first owl started calling and repositioned itself on the branch facing me. I made sure I had it positioned in the frame with a high shutter speed and within seconds the owl launched off the perch and flew directly overhead.
The drive from Whitehorse to Fairbanks along the Alaskan Highway is spectacular. The mountains, wide open spaces, permafrost stunted forests and vast areas with little to no human development was a refreshing change to life in the city. Along the road is Kluane National Park, home of “Sheep Mountain.” By no coincidence Dall sheep make their home on this barren mountain. At this time of year there was little snow on the south side of the mountain. Even still, they were just little white dots on the mountain side when I first saw them. After loading up my gear and taking a mental image of where they were, I scrambled up the mountain in the hopes that they would still be where I spotted them. About 30 minutes later as I scrambled up the hill I spotted one up on a ridge looking down at me. It wasn’t too concerned but to avoid spooking it I stayed below it and moved parallel along the mountain to get a better vantage point. As I came around the side of the mountain the rest of the herd appeared. Forty five in total. Mostly young animals with a few rams and all in good condition. Thankfully they didn’t seem to mind me being there and allowed me to get close enough for great photographs without altering their behaviour. I photographed them for about an hour before I was forced down the mountain by an incoming storm. This was my favorite shot of the bunch.