2021—Snowing on Mr. Buttons

We called him Mr. Buttons, the bull moose that had recently shed his antlers. We saw him briefly on Wednesday afternoon after several frustrating days with hardly a moose sighting and with no photographic opportunities for those few we did see at a distance. Finally, on Thursday afternoon at Kincaid Park, we found a couple of bull moose, a cow and a calf or two meandering along the road and into the aspen groves of the park near the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. It is amazing to me that such huge animals virtually disappear in an instant in the dense groves of trees making them very hard to spot, even if you have just watched them walk by and into the forest. In a flash, they can disappear and still be right under your nose. That was the case with Mr. Buttons. As he and a cow, a calf and at least one other bull passed through the grove of trees, we paralleled them from the road. Then, as they one by one disappeared into their forest camouflage, we walked along a trail and found them feeding a short distance away. One by one, they lay down despite our presence and even seemed sometimes to fall asleep. We spent a couple of cold hours watching Mr. Buttons. When the temperatures dipped, the snow began to fall, a kind of ball snow, and that began to accumulate on Mr. Button’s snout and haunches. I slowed the shutter speed so that the falling snow is blurred a bit and visible as short white streaks around his head. As he chewed his cud, his breath was sometimes visible in the cold air.