Bull Moose, Brainard Lake Sunrise and Sunset, CO (8/23/2015)

After getting great shots the previous evening I was excited to see what I'd see the next morning. As soon as I entered Brainard Lake I saw the same bull bedded down in a clearing surrounded by the willows. Even though it was August, it was cold this morning and there was dew all over the grass. I expected the bull to rise as soon as the sun rose. However, he happily sat there for an hour and a half chewing the cud! Talking to others, this was rare and may have been because it was colder than normal.

As the sun rose, the dew quickly evaporated but our bull stayed put! Here you can nicely see the soft velvet on his antlers which will fall off in the next two weeks to get ready for the rut where bulls will battle for mating rights.

Then suddenly he got up and was clearly looking at us from the corner of his eye.

He was so majestic!

He turned right at us and for a second all of us were worried that he may head our way but since we were a good 30 feet away we had plenty of time to get out of his way if need be. In the background you can see beautiful Brainard Lake.

Finally the bull was standing and I realized how huge he was without willows blocking most of his body!

I never expected to get such closeup shots in such good light.

He quickly turned sideways and I finally got to see his bell which is loose skin that hangs under the chin of the males and females. I had just 30 seconds between when he got up till when he quickly made his way into the willows where again much of his body was hidden again!

With morning light gone, I decided to head to Mount Evans to photograph Mountain Goats. I then returned to Brainard Lake for the last time in the evening where our bull had now made it to a more forested area further away from the lake. I couldn't believe that after so many years that I finally managed to get such good looks at Bull Moose. In July one can expect to see even more bulls here since it is coooler then. In August they disperse a bit to higher areas and in September once the rut begins, the bulls stop eating making it more difficult to spot them. However, if one does spot them, the velvet on the antlers will be gone and one could get lucky enough to see a battle! I would love to bring Aditya and Gowri here in July since Boulder is an easy days drive from Los Alamos to see one of the most spectacular creatures and settings on earth!


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