Marty’s photos of the day #4259-4262: We could have a baby moose at the Essen Wildlife Refuge this spring! Every morning my dog, Nellie, enters my writing room and stares at me until I take her outside to play. Yesterday morning we followed our usual routine. In addition to playing ball, Nellie thoroughly sniffs and scans her section of the refuge for visitors. Usually she spots them before I do, but this time a low hill and a cluster of trees allowed me to make the initial spot: a moose was standing at the edge of the upper-level of the refuge.

I had my pocket camera with me, but because the moose was so close to someone else’s property, I decided not to risk spooking it. Instead, I escorted Nellie back to the house and alerted Deb, who was busy in the kitchen, so she could keep an eye-out if the moose headed our way. Then I went back to my writing room to work on my new novel.

Five minutes later, Deb announced, “Two moose are right in front of the house!”

No longer worried about the moose leaving the refuge, I grabbed my big camera, screwed on the telephoto lens, and hurried onto the front porch. The moose saw me and walked into the section of forest directly in front of the house. We see moose fairly often, so at first I wasn’t going to leave the porch. Then I got a brief, unobstructed view of the bull. He was among the biggest I’d seen in years.

I didn’t have a coat on and my shoes were indoor slip-ons and there was no time to change. I headed out into the snow. The moose weren’t spooked, but they weren’t sticking around either. I couldn’t get a clear view of the animals from where I was, but I knew they were heading for a spot on the refuge with fewer trees. I ran a wide loop, covering several acres, until I was actually in front of the moose. Then I stopped and let them come to me.

My goal, as always, was to get a photo, but only if I could do so without stressing the animals—and, of course, keeping them on the Essen Wildlife Refuge, where they are protected.

The moose stopped a safe distance from me, and we watched each other for several minutes. My only movements were to find an angle where trees were not in the way of my view. It was then that I saw the side of the female moose—obviously very pregnant. The bull moose stood thirty feet away from her—keeping a close eye on me.

From there, I shot the four photos I’m posting today along with a couple dozen others. Yeah, the bull moose made me nervous. My telephoto lens provided plenty of space between us, but if I pissed him off, I had no place to hide.

I backed away, leaving the couple un-spooked and still within the borders of the Essen Wildlife Refuge. I hurried to the house to give Deb the news of a baby moose on the way. Apparently, I was gone much longer than I thought, as she was getting worried and was ready to grab my coat and come looking for me.

I hadn’t felt the cold at all. After all, we could have a baby moose hanging out at the refuge this spring!