I was hiking off Moraine Lake one afternoon. It was nice and quiet, not many others around. I looked up and I saw this bird looking at me. It sure looked like an owl at first glance, but don't owls just come out at night? The owl was kind enough to wait long enough for me to take a few pictures of him and then flew off. It was much larger in flight than I had ever thought.
The Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia Ulula) is a non-migratory bird that primarily hunts by day and sleeps at night. Their range in North America is from Alaska to Newfoundland, sometimes occurring in the northern United States. They live mostly in open coniferous forests, staying away from dense forests. Oddly, they seem to like recently burned out areas.
Thanks to VT Member TravelDave for identifying the owl- This is a Northern Hawk Owl.
Thank you Dave!
We were returning to Banff late afternoon after an overnight stay at Jasper, a considerable drive when you have been active all day. After 5 days we had almost given up thinking we were going to see a grizzly bear when suddenly I sighted a car on the side of the road about 20 km from Lake Louise.
People had their cameras out so I thought we should stop and see what the attraction was. What a sight, mother bear and her 2 cubs just grazing on a clear patch of grass 60 metres from the road. The bears did not mind us looking, they knew we were there and I guess they thought they were a safe distance away. The 2 cubs were little fat bundles of fur, you just wanted to go over and pat them.
We visited Banff hot springs mid afternoon and after an enjoyable time we decided to return to Banff township about 3:30 pm. After leaving the car park and travelling down the road for about 300 metres I sighted an Elk in the bush about 5 metres from the road.
Quickly stopped for a photo and then sighted another, they must have been a pair. We had not disturbed them and they continued to graze on the grass, however very soon there were 3 more cars and people everywhere causing the Elk to take flight.
It was mid June and I was told the Elk do not have horns at that time of year, they grow later in summer.
We didn't venture into "park"land at all... we just stayed on the roads around the town center. However, we did encounter two animals within the urban boundaries. I like the think one was an elk (though pessimists may tell me it's just a deer), and the other was a rodent of some sort that had no fear whatsoever of humans. It scared me more than I scared it!
Yes to our great delight the tour bus stopped so that we could photograph this Grizzly in a small clearing in the forest area. He just calmly munched away oblivious to the excitement he had caused.
Grizzly bears have a hump at the back of the neck area.
Do not do as some stupid people did when our tourbus stopped, they got our of their car that was stopped in front of us, to get closer for a better shot - not the thing to do!! so beware.
click on picture for a closer view."
Seeing an elk wandering around town was a sight for Zal and me. Not only were we not used to seeing animals out used plastic bottles by the side of a dustbin, but we were not used to seeing even just animals without tails (!). This elk was extremely tame... she stood there for a good 15 min allowing me to take a photo of her, without budging.
Notice how close that car is... this is taken from the corner of a main shopping street in Banff town. We were really surprised by this elk :)
We were continiously seeing wildlife on the drive from Banff to Jasper . The best sighting were around Jasper . ( one bear , elk, moose) the list goes on and on