PEEKING AT A BATHING LADY

Last night a long time wish came true. Over the years I have seen and photographed quite a few moose in lots of different settings. But my wish to see and photograph a moose standing in the water never came true, until yesterday that is.

I actually went out to look for breeding pairs of red throated loons. This year I have seen several pairs fishing on the big lake behind my house. Probably they are nesting somewhere close by. I know about one location, but I'm sure there have to be several more. The red throated loons don't nest directly at the big lake. They often use small lakes which are surrounded by forest. On the satellite map I looked up several small lakes which could be suitable for them to nest at, jumped in my car and drove towards the first lake.

From the forest road I had to walk only 400 meter to get to the first lake. Once I had approached the lake up to 200 meter, I noticed movement in the water. Not knowing if it were fish or something else that caused the movement, I sneaked slowly closer to the lake. Making sure I would not scare off any loons before getting close to the water. At 50 meter from the lake I stopped and scanned the water for any signs of loons. I could clearly see that the movement in the water was being caused by trout feeding on mosquitos. No other creatures to be found on the water. I lowered my camera and suddenly saw something move in the corner of my left eye. At only +/- 80 meter away from me, a large female moose appeared out of the dense shrub, feeding her way towards the water (and me).

I managed to get some shots of her, before she positioned herself behind a dense group of trees. I had to move if I wanted to continue to photograph her. She was already standing with her front legs in the water and from time to time took large bites of the water vegetation. Every time she took a bite, I sneaked a few meters forward. After 20 meter of sneaking, there were only a few more trees left in between us, giving me some cover but enough open space to photograph. The wind was in my favor and I could witness and document her whole bathing session, which lasted for about 15 minutes.

After she finished her bath, she gave herself a good shake. It was quite difficult not to laugh when seeing those big ears flap.

When she came out of the water, the group of trees which I avoided in the beginning, came in between. She passed only one small opening before disappearing again in the dense forest. What an experience!

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