As I had already a few cards filled with marmot’s pictures, I started thinking seriously about photographing one of the most magnificent species of the Alps, the Ibex.
Thanks to the information from local ranger, I found a herd of Ibex on the southern slopes of Fuscher-Kar-Kopf Mountain.
They were grazing lazily on patches of grass between rocks and boulders on a steep slope. After a few hours of slow crawling, they let me approach close enough to take my first so awaited pictures.
However, the most thrilling encounter I had the very next day. It started snowing heavily on the late afternoon, so I decided to come back to my shelter. On my way down, I met a big pack of males just on a trail. They were walking the opposite direction and apparently had no intention to step out of a path. Having met already one species that jumped on my back, I didn’t want to risk another try, as I would rather not survive this time!
Since there was no way to escape, I simply stick myself to a rock with camera ready to shoot. Ibexes stopped only 20 meters away and looked at me intriguingly. What happened next took my breath away. They started fighting with each other, striking fiercely with horns. I didn’t realize how powerful these animals truly are. I photographed the whole scene with my heart in my throat. As the next days showed, my encounter with ibexes wasn’t accidental. Almost every evening males were coming down to meadows over a glacier to fight and wrestle. Knowing that, I was waiting for them every afternoon to finish my job.
On the last evening, I visit my marmots again. After a sunny and crowded weekend they were resting on warm rocks or indolently feeding on flowers. As the sun was slowly going down and shadow came to the valley, I realized that my mission was over. I spent here eight great days, full of awe and emotions. I was taking with me immense sympathy for the wild inhabitants of that beautiful and severe country. Shall I meet them again? I hope so.
Adieu my friends.
PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT: Grzegorz Leśniewski
FIELD ASSISTANCE / BACKSTAGE PHOTOS: Marek Kołodziejczyk
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.