Maligne Lake on a Cloudy Day
It was a dark and cloudy day…snicker, snicker. Couldn’t resist starting this way, though it is not recommended in writing class.There was a deer beside the parking lot at Maligne Lake that I took a photo of with my long lens, then a line-up of tourists followed it from about 20 feet away.
Also a Grey Jay stopped by, begging.They are not nick-named “camp robbers” for nothing.
This is a no-no. C’mon, people, the garbage can is only a few feet away, and this is grizzly bear country. If you want to visit the National Parks show some respect.That includes slowing down to the posted speed on the highways.
It was very overcast and the tour had closed a week earlier.The usual blue lake was grey so I decided to shoot some close-ups.
I mentioned the tour, and I would recommend the boat tour. It was expensive when I went, but i felt it was worth every penny. As you get closer to the iconic Spirit Island some 2o kilometers down the lake , the water turns a deeper turquoise and is stunningly beautiful and sadly, this isn’t one of my better shots.
The View from Here-Whistler Mountain
On my first morning I took a path behind the hostel a very little way up Whistler mountain and took images looking up to the Skytram and out to Pyramid Mountain. Nothing like going to the mountains to find out just how bad the fitness level is.In no time I was huffing and puffing and feeling the strain in my calf muscles. It was a frosty morning and made for some pretty scenes.
on the path in front of me
The Sky Tram Station on Whistler Mountain behind me
Looking across the valley at Pyramid Mountain
fall leaves are mostly gone and sunlight warms the frosty air
River Valley on an Autumn Day
i took these photos from a bridge that spans a ravine that goes into the main part of the river valley, with the intent of getting photos of the Autumn colours. There were interesting challenges with light and shadow, so I took the photos using a polarizer filter and did some post photo work in Lightroom.
What Happened to Summer?
It has become chilly out, only temporary but a reminder that the hot weather won’t last forever.My thoughts are with those who are suffering from the effects of the many forest fires across our lands. It is green here in the city but many trees are chaging colour due to stress from lack of moisture. the leaves look wilted, too.
I am moving to a new neighbourhood and my computer is full to almost bursting so I will upgrade but not until the next month or month after. It makes it hard to go out and shoot away so am slowing down photo ops and replacing them with packing.Not as much fun,I tell you!
in the meantime, here are some photos from the summer months.
Belly dancers at the Heritage festival
scenes from EdmontonFolk Music Festival
A Visitor on My Hat
Main stage- Edmonton Folk Music Festival
bark abstract from a walk in the woods
The Colours of Summer
When the bright spring green disappears, and summer arrives, there are other colour combinations to delight the eye. I can’t believe that July is almost over. I want to get out more and capture various light conditions and the birds.
This is what I have seen lately: the changing of the colours of the grasses and shrubs, the ripe berries and the duck weed and algae in the ponds.
duck weed inthe ponds
combination of grass and leaves of trees
shrubs and bushes
There is something that captures my attention and sense of wonder as I see an American White Pelican soar into sight, gliding with its wide wings outspread and circling the area as it gets lower and lower. Then the feet stick out and foreward before it hits the water creating a large wake behind it. This one landed at the platform where other pelicans and a couple of cormorants were lounging and in one motion heaved itself out of the water onto the raft. (I missed that shot as well as the first one when I first caught sight of it to one side of me.) When they are gliding alone or as a group they are so graceful.This one stood out from the rest-it was huge.
A nod to the two cormorants who are holding their own.
The weather is “iffy” today but just will take a raincoat to celebrate “Canada Day” the 148th birthday of our country. There is entertainment at the legislature grounds and city hall to mention just two of many places.
“Asani” singers and drummers
Then the fireworks tonight and a musical visual show of the lights on the High Level Bridge with “Oh Canada” sung by Asani, a native and Metis group of women that sing in English , French and Cree. Asani is a Cree word for “rock.” You can listen to them on You tube singing “Oh Canada.” Beautiful! Looking forward to that!
Evening Visit to the National Park
Not coping with the heat too well, it was a great choice to visit Elk Island National Park in the evening. We arrived at a hiking tail in the dusk armed with water and Au de Doctor Doom and Deep Woods Off. We could hear the mosquitos around our ears and the coyotes in the hills. On this trail is a boardwalk where we could walk across a swampy area and the light and reflections were amazing. A beaver swam back and forth creating an impressive abstract of reflected ripples. It was a typical June day, with lush greens and golds which were a feast for the eyes. Enjoy.
It is a delight to watch the white pelicans fishing, at first calm and upright, sometimes a slight lean forward, then leap forward and down into the water at what they see. My friend Diane and I had the good fortune to see not just one, but four pelicans today at a man-made lake in northeast Edmonton. Great fun!
White Tail Deer
I saw a lot of deer on my trip in May-it has been that long already? So here is a sampling of what I saw. There is still a lot of the winter hair evident, especially along the neck.The coat underneath will be much redder.
A parting shot. I did not realize that there were deer here until I pulled off the road.It is evident how they got their name.
Birding at a Lake in the City
I like going to this lake in the city because there are Red-necked Grebes here, but today there were a few surprises. The lake has a walkway around it and houses surround this, with a lot of the people putting up birdhouses and feeders in their yards which makes this a bird-friendly zone. It was a lovely day sunny and cloudy, but quite the glare off the water.
Another photographer and birder alerted me to this fledged magpie which is the first that I have seen. I think the term begins with “L”.
I decided to walk around this small lake and saw many sights and many feathered families.
Saw some brief displays, with the pair calling loudly , coming together and stretching their necks up with crests raised then swimming away.
At one curve in the lake a pelican circled and landed. No time to check my settings, i tried panning as it landed.
it happened too quick , there was nothing I could do about the sign but keep following.
Happy about that, a short way further along the path I saw a large bird coming into view. Not id-ing it yet, I tried to focus on it.
A great Blue heron! What a treat! It landed near the pelican and stayed to fish.
The damsel flies were prolific so got my first shot of the season.
She is a beautiful blue. Speaking of blue, there were many blue ribbons on posts all around the lake , paying tribute to fallen officer Const Daniel Woodall. His funeral is tomorrow, so I will be present at the procession.
Just Say Aw-w-w…
Welcome to the New Premier of Alberta
I wanted to be there for this historical moment and obviously so did a few other people. The public was invited this afternoon to the swearing-in of the new Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley the leader of the New Democrat party. She also announced her new ministers. Amazingly, the ND party won a majority government after 42 years of governing by the Progressive Conservatives.I never dreamed that I would see this in my lifetime.It was exciting to be there, to hear the new ministers being announced and to hear the cheering from the crowd. Some are predicting doom and gloom and admittedly we have a couple of immature people in caucus but that isn’t the first time that has happened.Let us wait and see, especially in Education, Energy, Health and the Environment.
Some of the crowd of people that showed up to the event.
The Honorable Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
After the speeches, the applause, the fountain and the music started up
Day 3 Views from Windy Point
Two days in a row it was still and quiet at Windy point, except on the return the weather had changed to very windy and the clouds had socked in, with snow again. Three seasons in two days.But it was a mix of sun and cloud in the early part of the day and I used the polariser. I thought that it might be blah because I heard the water was at its low point, but the land had such a sculptural quality that intrigued me and the lake was a pretty turquoise. It was a whole new landscape from what I had experienced in the summer and fall in previous visits.
The sheep were here again and I took more photos of them but with a wide angle lens rather than the zoom.I love the trees here, they show the wear and tear from the almost constant winds as you can see on the point.
On the return trip I witnessed a herd of sheep pop up their heads as I drove off the highway to the Mount Michener viewpoint. One little fellow popped over the guard rail and stared at me. Then he started running after the car and i backed up really fast. he hopped over the guard rail and looked over the hill , probably looking for his mates.
I took one last shot of the lake to show how much the weather had changed.It got cold and turned rainy and snowy, so I headed back to home base to a nice warm cabin..
Day 2 Abraham Lake-Windy Point
Luckily it cleared up after a nap so I headed to Abraham Lake. The first photo isn’t of the lake but I was getting close and the light was such that I couldn’t resist a stop.
It was cloudy and made for great mood. I went to Windy Point which miraculously wasn’t windy at all. Often I have to brace myself against a rock and hang on to my equipment for dear life in fear of being blown away.All the ensuing photos were taken from this one area. The lake was a light turquoise which is a feature of this body of water (in the summer it becomes a bright turquoise) and the low levels at this time of year lent to some interesting shapes and textures of the exposed gravel and sand.Interesting knarled trees spot the landscape, there are a variety of subjects.
After driving above the the parking lot I realized that I wasn’t alone as I had thought. There were a few Rocky Mountain sheep below me. They all stopped and checked me out then resumed grazing but had probably been watching me some time before I realized their presence. Nothing like being aware of my surroundings, especially in bear country.
There were small groups of White -crowned sparrows.
I did not regret making this trip in the late afternoon, probably only drove 40km to get here. the first time here I missed the entrance because it is just before the highway goes through cutrock. Keep your eyes open for oncoming traffic.After ascending above the parking lot I realized that I wasn’t alone as I had thought. There were a few Rocky Mountain sheep below staring up at me. They all stopped and checked me out then resumed grazing but had probably been watching me some time before I realized their presence. Nothing like being aware of my surroundings, especially in bear country. I love this country where the time goes by quickly because there is so much to see and it never gets boring. My preference was to stay close to the cabins and spend time walking rather than be in the car most of the time. I returned to home base later in the day, with quick stops at Fish Lake and Goldeye Lake to see the changes, and the deer, which were plentiful and vowed to use the electric heat rather than the wood stove mostly because of my asthma.
Day 2 in the Mountains
It started to snow last night and we had a thin coating of the white stuff this morning. It felt surreal but so was the news that the NDP won a majority in the provincial election. This province has stubbornly been Progressive Conservative for over 40 years. Wow! That message was loud and clear!
Here’s the cabin I stayed in. It had a satellite TV, microwave oven, BBQ on the porch, DVD’s, flannel sheets and a cozy bed. I indulged in popcorn, TV and reading, and lighting the fire in the wood stove, important things when you are getting away from it all. When the fire died down it got smokey. The popcorn that I popped in the microwave tasted great but it stunk. The steak I cooked was smoking too.The fire alarm went off. i worried that I would be charged extra if I made the place smelly so I turned up the electric heater and opened the windows and turned on the fans until the air cleared.
I am a city gal. I am so glad that I brought my winter coats, hat and gloves and that I have procrastinated in replacing my snow tires with all-season ones.I forgot how swiftly the weather can change in the mountains. I decided I wanted to drive up the road to Mount Baldy to get a higher view of the world. It was snowing slightly but as I got higher the snow got heavier and the road was very slippery. I slowed down and frankly thanked God for keeping me safe as I kept going upward , looking for a space wide enough to turn around. It was pretty but no thanks, I wanted to get back down.
I got down the road safely then thought it would be interesting to see Fish Lake again, under different circumstances.
After exploring here, I returned to the cabin for lunch and to see if it would clear up.It did, and I drove out to Abraham Lake, to be continued in the next post.
Almost a Wild Goose Chase
Went on the Snow Goose Chase yesterday. The migration was early this year and we were late, as the chase often is held in April. however we saw lots of species, 57 to be exact.
The group was enthusiastic and we were rewarded with a smaller remaining flock of snowgeese.We all roared with delight when someone yelled to the driver, “Stop! Stop! There they are!” We were treated to snacks and a warm buffet in Tofield plus there were scopes, field guides and extra binoculars to share. A few companies sponsor this event but it is organized by the Edmonton Nature Club and we had spotters driving ahead of us and guides on the bus pointing out the various birds. it was a lot of fun. No lifers for me , but it was a thrill to see Black Backed Stilts and a Marbled Godwit through the provided scopes, unfortunately too far for my camera.
Here are some photos of some of the species-most are a distance away, to be expected on a bus tour. Kudos to the Edmonton Nature Club and its dedicated volunteers of expert birders. They will be having some walks in the upcoming season and I hope to join them.
American White Pelicans
Mountain Bluebird -Male
Mountain Bluebird – Female
A Gaggle of Snow Geese
Greater White- Fronted Goose
and a terrific sky that had me running back to the bus to change lens.
Rest and Relaxation
I gave a month’s notice to my work and am taking a much-needed break for a week. We have been short-staffed and over-worked for a long time while making money for the company and I am tired. On Monday I will be heading for the hills, either Jasper National Park or David Thompson country. When I come back I will hopefully have a whole bunch of new images. For today, I am resting, going to the advance polls to vote in the provincial election and researching options for accomodation in the days to come.Recharging batteries, figuratively and literally.
On Sunday I will still be in this area of Central Alberta but going on the Snow Goose Chase sponsored by the Nature Club. We will be bussing around the country spotting Snow geese on their migration north-a truly magnificent sight. Maybe we will see Bluebirds and owls, cranes…and huge flocks of Snow Geese.
Here are some images from the past as I think of which direction to go:
Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park
Abraham Lake David Thompson Country
Long Shots of the first Arrivals I have seen this Year
Went for a drive to three locations today, two in the city and one at a provincial park to see what may be arriving.It was a pleasant surprise. I did not get a shot, but rather a quick glimpse of a small group, maybe a dozen, of white birds with black wings, they may have been snow geese. (I was driving).These sightings made for a great day and it was hot and sunny to boot.Some of these photos are not the first I have seen this year, i.e. Ring-billed Gull and Canada Geese
unmistakable pose of a displaying male Goldeneye
A Pair of Northern Shovellers (sorry I couldn’t get the female in the photo)
The Bison of Elk Island National Park
This national park, located 45 minutes east of the city of Edmonton, Alberta is Canada’s first wildlife sanctuary and the only fully fenced-in park Elk island manages conservation recovery herds for plains and wood bison which are sent from here to nature reserves and other parks all around the world.
When I went here yesterday I was lucky to see quite a few, some along the road, and some in pastures and others in the bison loop a loop where you can drive through and stop in pull-off areas.
The ones pictured here are plains Bison, Wood Bison are on the south side of the highway. Most ponds and lakes are starting to open and I found the crows, Canada geese, hawks, beaver, muskrats. The elk are usually found in the back trails, although can be seen from the main road early in the morning. The bison are best seen in the morning or at dusk but today they were everywhere and can be seen while hiking on the various trails.
This is a cow in the bison loop.
this cow and her two older calves were either running from the presence of my car or catching up to the herd.
I often see these three bulls on the road, alone, called the grumpy old men because they will chase cars , so I give them lots of respect and a wide berth.
One of the old guys taking off.
young bull with his winter coat
If you have ever seen them break into a full gallop , they are fast and can go from 0-30 km within seconds. They can rip a grill off the front of a car or side off a trailer so don’t fence them in when you stop at the side of the road. I have seen families with very young children get out of their cars and stand in a group only ten feet away taking photos. I stay in my car, unless I am on the trails hiking and use my long lens. I take a couple of photos , then leave.
So come and see them, and enjoy them and the birds and other creatures on the trails, on the waters. You can camp here for the day or stay a few days. The parks are for the animals and the people to enjoy. It is exciting to see these wild animals, just watch your enthusiasm and keep a safe distance.
Wait until the next post to see the beaver that I saw.It was a stroke of luck.
Outdoors with the Birds
I went out a couple of times during the Easter weekend to shoot the birds with my Canon.Here is what I saw , including one “lifer.” Getting outdoors makes me feel complete and I am so grateful to be able to take photos, smell the fresh air and watch and listen to the birds and wildlife.
Did I tell you that I booked a seat on the “Wild Goose Chase” tour? We will be going to see the snow geese migration, possibly owls, cranes, bluebirds.. I haven’t done this in years so am looking forward to it. The trip is on May 3rd and of course I will be taking photos and posting them!
But back to the birds, etc. from this past weekend…
It is always a sign of spring to see the gulls return. Here is a resident Ring-billed gull.
I got a kick out of the Canada Geese lined up at the open side of the pond.
The House Finches are back in the neighbourhood. I like their songs, although my neighbour hates them since they nest right outside his window.
Here is a shot of a Handsome Canada Goose gander.
And you know who had to make an appearance, always helping himself to the spoils at the bird feeder.
I had been trying a number of self -portraits when this beauty showed up. I quickly grabbed the camera off the tripod and changed my settings from timer to bursts.
Both the male and female Downy Woodpeckers showed up This is the male.
This is the female Downy Woodpecker.The Black-capped Chickadees.
And my “lifer” the American Tree Sparrow. Yay!
A Ruckas in the Back Alley
It was quite noisy in the back alley this particular morning. The fighting between two couples was echoing off the buildings and was loud, attracting people’s attention from the surrounding apartments and condos.. I went out to investigate, taking my camera with me. Turns out that one couple is trying to set up house on the balcony of someone’s apartment (the owners must be thrilled) and the other couple were loudly protesting from the parking area.below. At one point, one of the mates flew up to the balcony but bounced off the wall, not quite hitting the mark.In the last photo the couple seem to be perplexed, maybe giving up. It has been eerily quiet since then and I wonder whether someone took the matter into their hands in a lethal way.
That’s Got to be Cold
We had two little snow falls lately and i was wondering how the geese were faring. I admit I felt sorry for them as they walked on top of the puddle then broke through, half walking, half swimming.When they came out of the water, there was ice on their bills and feet. I am sure the feathers will keep them warm but the feet? Oh, that must be cold!