Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring Wildlife: Black Bear, American Woodcock, Varying Hare

It's an early, warm spring and I've been enjoying the head start on my peak photography season. Leaves are almost out, wildflowers are 2-3 weeks ahead of time and many birds are already on nesting territories. It's an exciting and busy time of year!

Tonight I was following up on a tip about a red fox den, when I saw this black bear on the roadside. In 10 years of living on the Bruce Peninsula, I've only twice before captured reasonably close shots of these typically shy bears... I was excited!

Photo 1: Black Bear, Dyers Bay, Bruce Peninsula
Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor.
Photographed from car window with lens resting on mirror.

My friend found this well-camouflaged American Woodcock sitting on a nest. Although it's a fairly common bird, stumbling across a nest is like finding a needle in a haystack. I've made a few brief visits to capture photos, without distubing the bird. 

Photo 2: American Woodcock, near Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula
Canon EOS 5D mark II; 70-200mm f/4 lens  

My bird feeders have been packed with all kinds of action - from the expected species of birds, to a pair of Mallards (strange to see ducks on your lawn) and two Varying Hares (aka Snowshoe Hares).

Photo 3: Varying Hare, Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario
EOS 1Ds mark III; 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor.
Photographed while lying on the ground using a "Skimmer" ground pod and Wimberley Head. 


  1. These are three amazing photos, Ethan. I have never met a bear in my life.This must have bin a wonderful experience for you:)

  2. Great shots your blog is awesome :)

  3. What are those white spots on the bear?

  4. What are those white spots on the bear?

  5. Hi Titka, those are small clumps of missing fur, which could be caused by many things such as parasites, abrasians, etc. Bears have just recently come out of hibernation, so maybe that's the side it layed on all winter!

  6. Great images. The hare one is the nicest ;)

  7. you have some great shots! meeting a black bear is a little scary!
    I'll be looking for new shots..

  8. Those are really great shots! It's really fun doing outdoor photography using a camera harness. I bought one last year and it gave me more freedom to do my photography!

  9. Anonymous2:10 PM

    Good afternoon Ian , I'm sure this is the same bear I saw on the 27th about 4:30 in the afternoon. Same area I was up in Cyprus LAke and hiking your beautiful part of the province.

    Kepp up the good work,

    Ted Chamberlain Hamilton On

  10. These are great shots Ethan!! I liked the second one most. Thank you for sharing.