Sunday, 12 August 2012

Kvismare fågelstation, Sweden - Day 31

 c2year old male Moose
This is far from a bird-related blog post, but it's certainly not short of awesomeness! Last night we decided to have a look for Moose and Wolves in much deeper forest than anywhere near to Kvismaren. It reminded me of Abernethy in some respects because of the dirt tracks and the vast pines.

As it became dusk, we were lucky enough to see 6 Moose! The first showed pretty well in a forest clearing that appeared to be a 2 year old male. My first ever Moose and I was impressed with the size of them. They reminded me of a Cow x Horse hybrid more than anything.
After this, we were even more lucky with seeing a full adult male with huge antlers! The light was going at this point so wasn't able to get a photo.
Finally, we were moving to another site and driving past a field where they were 4 Moose in the same field! Incredible!

The most optimistic target of the night were Wolves, but as it got dark, we found ourselves on a pitch black track, howling at the sky in the hope of something replying. Incredibly, we managed to hear a distant howl of what sounded like an alpha female. We listening to 2 more sets of howls, before deciding we would head off in the direction of the howl.
Getting out the car some 3/4 of a Km down the track, we began howling again and were all amazed by the sound of 6 Wolves at probably 300 meters range producing a stunning noise that I likened to a Whale, rather than the classic TV Wolves, presumably because the pack weren't especially old?
Moving further down the track still, we got out the car, waited for 5 minutes and produced one short howl. This set the 6 off again and we had wolves howling all around us as close of 100 meters!
Listening to this majestic and haunting noise, we suddenly heard a rustle in the grass. We thought it was just our imaginations, until we heard some footsteps on the gravel track followed by a faint dog like inquisitive call. In the pitch black, this was certainly a bit too close for comfort, so we turned on a flash light straight away and there, about 30 feet in front of us were 2 Wolves in full view! One, a slightly larger darker one retreated down the track and out of view almost straight away, but a much paler 2nd Wolf stayed on the track about 25 meters away for 10 seconds allowing us to get amazing views of it before it retreated. I would estimate that it was probably the same size as a Golden Retriever, but due to the summer coat, it was quite a thin looking animal

After this amazing encounter, with adrenaline pumping, we carried on listening to the pack of 6 howl into the night. It was an incredible night and has to go down in my top 5 wildlife encounters of all time and probably the mose incredible noise I've ever heard! A mix of fear, excitement and pure amazement made for a completely memorable experience.

1 comment:

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

An excellent encounter Zac - shame we'll never hear them again on Wolf Fell or lurking in Wolfhole Crags not far from home

Well done

Really enjoying your adventures