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Posts tagged “nature

Two Favourite Locations

After going into town for a yummy muffin and Latte from The Other Paw, I headed about 20 km south on the Icefields Parkway to a most wonderful lake. There is a small parking area here and no signs except for the board at the trail head. It is just a short walk through the woods, to a creek. Cross the creek and follow the trails -there is one that goes straight ahead and one that goes left along the creek then into the woods. Both ways are short walks that take you to different parts of the rocky shoreline that has, in some spots, emerald green waters and if you time it right , amazing reflections of the water and cliffs across the way.

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This is a place where I can spend hours pondering the scenery and on a warm day, soaking up the heat from the rocks.

Just down the road is the junction of highways 93 and 93A. I turned right  here to go to Athabasca Falls.There are short walks to various viewpoints of the falls and the gorge. You can feel the energy as the water rushes over the rocks and through the gorge.

I have been to this spot in spring , summer and fall -never the same and always exciting.

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Next was Medicine Lake where there was a forest fire earlier this season and further up the road, Maligne Lake, an almost 40 km drive. I will save that for my next post.

A Refreshing Walk in the Woods

It was a full day, starting with the last part of a church service (yes, I slept in), a committee meeting, a fashion show fundraiser at a local hospital where they let me take photos, then finally a trip to Elk Island National Park. Enjoyed the calm, the fresh air and feeling my body and mind relax. As you can see, there were times of overcast skies and bright sun.

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Let’s look at Nature in Her various Forms

I have been working shifts and not getting out much but I am taking the time today. First I will look  back and post some shots that I like. i don’t want to take too much precious time so my apologies if I have some repeats here.

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Take the Time

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18 mm, 1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 800

Take the time to go for a walk. You will never know what is out there if you don’t. After the sun sets, take the time to see what happens next. it is worth the wait.

Some More Cuteness

It is a pleasure to go to this city pond, one of many, and see the young ducklings.Some are Lesser Scaups, some American Widgeons, and the  Mallards.

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Mother Scaup with her two balls of fluff.

A Big Swallow

No, I am not talking about a large size of bird species, I am referring to the large chunks of bread that was thrown to the birds at the park. The people were happily feeding their feathered friends but I wonder if they would have shown some restraint if they saw this one struggling with its bounty.This young Ring-billed gull got the prize but I am curious what it was thinking as it seemed uncomfortable with the morsel it caught.Bread is not good for birds, but tell that to the birds, or to the people who feed them.

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Crow Talk

This crow was by itself in the lower branches of the tree, observing the ducks, geese and myself. It was  muttering under its breath, making all sorts of vocalizations as if talking to itself. Once in a while it cawed back and forth with its clan in nearby trees, even matching the number of caws, then there would be a lot of noise as they all excitedly called back and forth to each other.

I tried to capture this in these photos as I snapped happily away and it seemed quite obliging in the process.At one point when it was talking to itself, there was a scolding squirrel above it and the crow took this in stride but did did keep a series of mutterings going on with its head down and the eyelid semi-closed, perhaps protection from the debris that was coming from the squirrel.

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Some Close-ups of Babies at he Pond

pictures 084First are the grown-up babies. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Click to see enlargements.

Close-up of Field Flowers

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Since the flowers in my field guide are not always as clear as I would like, as are my photos,  I am guessing that rather than lupine, this might be Tufted Vetch. Gosh, I could start another blog on this topic of wild flowers alone, but not sure that I have the patience.

Oh, Just a Couple More

When the ruddy duck showed up at the pond, I was clicking away, if not always focused, but getting some good shots. When you get close to a bird, or it gets close to you, it is always, “Oh, just a couple more…”

So bear with me as I continue to show off the male Ruddy Duck after he came closer.

Interesting Display from a Male Ruddy Duck

I had no expectations of seeing this fellow but on this day had great luck with spotting the Ruddy Duck.He not only appeared, but also gave quite the show with splashing and sputtering , even coming closer than ever before.

I did not see the reason for this display until I looked at the photos after downloading them. It was then that I saw a female Mallard possibly on a nest.

See for yourself,as this male Ruddy gives quite the performance in this next sequence of photos.

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Florals of Early Summer

While I have posted some photos of blooms in other posts, I will try to post here what I have not included yet. I love the effort and creativity that people  put into their lawns and gardens and enjoy capturing the shapes and colours.Timing is so important because so many of these blooms do not last long. I appreciate the planning that goes into a garden that continually has colour so that when one flower fades, another rises to take it’s place.

I find it a challenge to capture an image of flowers and blossoms, especially lilacs, and come up with a pleasing composition.This is dedicated to all the gardeners and all the people who appreciate them and their work. Maybe I should give back by helping with the weeding once in a while…


















A Well-Deserved Drink

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Baby Magpie

It has the same magpie squawk, but with a smaller voice. It was outside my door this morning, the first day of summer. I suspected it was a baby and knew this for a fact when I could get so close to it. The feathers are still coming in. I snapped a few quick ones, obviously poor quality with big shadows but it is a cute sequence. I hope the little one can get back to the nest and/or survive.



Parent bird swept down and jammed the food down the young one’s throat so fast that I only caught the aftermath, then flew away and the baby ran for the cover of the bushes. Look at that iridescence!


Alberta Rose

Alberta Rose

Took this during a walk when it was drizzling outside. The Wild Rose is the provincial flower of the Province of Alberta.They are blooming now or like this one, about to bloom.

Birding Heaven

Had a brief but refreshing respite from the city and enjoyed the company of a friend as we went on a photo-shooting and birding binge. Here are some of the things that we found in Central Alberta on our first rainy day.

Lacombe 006-2Alberta Rose-the flower of the province of Alberta

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Wolf Willow Bushes

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Osprey Tending to Her Young

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Male Yellow Warbler

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Female Warbler

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Catbird Feeding the Other-fledgling perhaps?

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Song Sparrow

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Cedar Waxwing

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Rainy Green Reflections

A Call to Cull

Ah, back again. I needed to take pause to pay respect to the events of yesterday’s funeral after the violence against the police resulting in their deaths and injuries. Hope lies in its midst, as a community of heart assembles to support one another in caring, healing and recovering.

My computer is full and since I cannot afford a new one, some images have got to go. It is enjoyable to revisit  much of what I have forgotten, sometimes making me pause in reflection, sometimes making me groan with “What was I thinking?” or just plain laughing out loud. I like this  one from April of last year, so am keeping it for now.

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1/15 sec @f/6.3, ISO 100, 170 mm

What is that Call? What is that Bird?

I went on a bender of birding visits to local ponds and truly enjoyed my time. Now I am broke and staying put until the next pay check.Though the visits were not always successful in the way that I wanted, there was always something to discover. At one point, I heard a call that I knew was somewhat familiar, a kind of “witcha-witcha-witcha, whitcha” and I kept trying to spot whatever it was. The sound came from the  thickets surrounding the marsh. This is what I captured-can anyone help me to ID it? I live in central Alberta, Canada. Not a great shot  and not sure that the sound belongs to this particular bird. Any suggestions?

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First Ruddy Duck this Year!

As I approached the pond , there were two photographers shooting away at something. Slowing down so I would not disturb them or their subject,  I waited and watched for what they were focusing on. Oh yay, it was a Ruddy Duck! Aimed my lens and took a couple of shots-oh no, things in the way.  Aim again. Better!

Checking the results later, the first couple were out of focus. My heart dropped. Then there were some more that were in focus. It sure gives me a lift to spot and capture the  first images of this duck every year. Some of you may remember this was the duck that got me hooked on birding and I regularly went out with a friend, now passed, searching for our first look every spring.

He is a small duck but more than makes up for it with his machismo. When he got close to  the Coot, his tail rose and he sputtered, which shook his whole body. At this pond there seems to be no mate but maybe she is nesting out of sight.

Shot in the late afternoon with a hand held camera.With so many patterns it is easy for the camera to go out of focus.



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What to Do

This Chickadee seems perplexed, as if it is not sure what to do with this insect. It would seem to take a bite, then stop and look at the insect. Maybe it didn’t taste so good.





First Blush of Spring

It gives me such pleasure to see the leaves coming out of their buds and the valley is getting greener.Here are pictures that I took of the trail that weaves along side of the golf course.








Woodchuck Observations

This Woodchuck or groundhog is famous in these parts, a bit on the tame side, or at least tolerant of humans. His head popped out of the ground at two points along the river and he was enjoying the fresh shoots of grass as well as taking a look at the steady stream of people passing by. Shot in aperture priority.


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Black Bird and American Crow

I came face to face with this black bird sitting on a fence when there was a slight drizzle which I think helped to accent the detail in its feathers.Shot at 1/60 second, f/9, ISO 800, 280mm (well, not QUITE face-to-face)



This is a photo of an American Crow for comparison.Maybe they are the same. The latter was captured  at 1/200 sec. f/9, 800 ISO.


Still Life in Nature








Hand held for 1/60 sec at f/ 9, 300mm, ISO 800