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User / annkelliott
Anne Elliott / 16 items

N 8 B 948 C 6 E Sep 6, 2019 F Sep 6, 2019
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The quality of this video is really bad, but I see bears so rarely. Actually, many of the photos I took yesterday were blown out by the harsh light. Photos can be improved, but I have no idea if one can edit a video. Also, the bear was far away on a distant hillside.

"Black bears are efficient berry-eaters, consuming up to 30,000 berries a day in a good year. They gather berries quickly, using their sensitive, mobile lips and swallowing them whole. The berries enter a two-part stomach, which grinds the pulp off the seeds. The seeds pass through the digestive tract unbroken and able to germinate, making black bears important seed dispersers. Each summer, they spread the seeds of their favorite berries all over their home ranges."

www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/foraging-a-foo...

"Black bears are omnivorous animals, but mostly eat vegetation and fruits. Despite their tough appearance and long teeth and claws, 85% of a black bear's diet comes from plants. They also like to eat honey and can rip open a whole tree to get into a beehive. Black bears' thick coats protect them from stinging bees, meaning they can eat the honeycombs as fast or as slowly as they like. At night, black bears in the Pacific Northwest fish for salmon in rivers. A few enterprising bears also venture into human-populated areas to steal from trashcans or campsites. In the fall, when they are preparing for hibernation, black bears eat lots of bugs like ants and bees for their protein. Black bears also sometimes catch baby deer, cows and moose, but they are more likely to try to steal carcasses from more active predators like wolves, coyotes and cougars. The extra proteins help them gain fat for their long, annual hibernation." From www.whatdobearseat

Yesterday, 5 September 2019, friend Pam and I had a great day out in Kananaskis. It had been just over two months since I drove myself out there, but Pam had been only two days ago. There were a few different places that she wanted to stop yesterday, and she was hoping to see a bear - preferably a Grizzly, but we were out of luck for that. However, we were lucky enough to see two separate Black Bears, which was such a treat.

Our day started off really well, leaving the city at 7:00 am. Driving along a backroad SW of the city, a small, rather cute, old barn was our first find. It was set back from the road and easily missed, so I'm glad I spotted it.

Further on, we came across a White-tailed Deer feeding in a field, and it looked so beautiful in the early morning sun. Normally, I don't get out this early and I know I miss that special light.

Going to have to finish description, etc. later ....

N 6 B 3.4K C 3 E Aug 2, 2019 F Aug 2, 2019
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A few of the maybe 200 or 300 in total! Amazing.

Will have to add descriptions, etc. later, as I have a dental appointment to get to.

Later. Yesterday, 2 August 2019, was a day of a little bit of everything, which was fun. I only decided around noon to go for an afternoon drive west of the city. It was hot and there was a haze over the mountains. Both cameras took photos with rather blown out skies - because of the haze?

My destination was Forgetmenot Pond, out past Bragg Creek. Forget-me-not is the name of a flower. This weekend is a long weekend for a Civic Holiday on Monday, so I thought there might be far fewer people yesterday, Thursday. A lot of people seemed to have the same idea as me!

There was a good variety of wildflowers, some of which I will have to leave unidentified and post simply as "pretty pictures". So nice to find Prairie Gentians, which I haven't seen for a long time. A few others were Grass-of-Parnassus, Elephant's Head Lousewort, different Paintbrush, Alpine Bistort, and beautiful Yellow Mountain-avens. Love the small flowers of the latter and their beautifully twisted seedheads. The only birds I saw in the area were Barn Swallows who were nesting, and a calling Spotted Sandpiper, perched on a piece of driftwood the far side of the river.

After walking around the lake, I started on my return drive. Before long, I decided to take a quick look in a forested area, to see if there were any mushrooms, but only found the ones seen in one of today's photos. While I was there, cows were the furthest thing from my mind. I guess they are let loose in that area of forest, so they do a good job of fertilizing everything. When I spotted the two mushrooms, I was excited and didn't realize that my left shoe ended up in something that felt very soft and a little slippery! Sigh!

Maclean Pond was the only other place I stopped, just briefly, during my mountain drive, until I was closer to home. Thought I would drive along one of the roads that had given me a good variety of birds fairly recently. This time, absolutely nothing. I discovered that one road was blocked (maybe part of the major road construction going on for the Ring Road around the city?), Instead, I came back along a road I hadn't been along for quite a while - and what an amazing sight I saw. Way down the road, I could see some large brown animals on the road. My first thought was 'cows'. However, I pulled over and zoomed right in to check, discovering that they were Elk. Maybe two or three hundred of them - they just kept coming and when you thought they would be no more, another group appeared on the hillside. They were all constantly calling, which you can hear on the little bit of video I took. Will post another short, somewhat closer bit of video later. There were males, females and young ones. Fortunately, no other vehicles came along the road while I was there. An amazing thing to witness.

N 3 B 1.1K C 4 E Jul 26, 2019 F Jul 26, 2019
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The 10 photos and a video that I have just posted today, 26 July 2019, were all taken during a quick drive SW of the city, on 8 July 2019. Many of the 'usual' birds, though I was also happy to see a European Starling closer than I normally see them.

I have fallen behind again with editing and posting photos form walks or outings, and I have a few trips that are coming up in the next little while. Hard to believe that August is almost here and summer is flying by. Our weeks of endless rainy days seem to have come to an end for now, thank goodness.

"Though the long tradition of “snipe hunt” pranks at summer camp has convinced many people otherwise, Wilson’s Snipes aren’t made-up creatures. These plump, long-billed birds are among the most widespread shorebirds in North America. They can be tough to see thanks to their cryptic brown and buff coloration and secretive nature. But in summer they often stand on fence posts or take to the sky with a fast, zigzagging flight and an unusual “winnowing” sound made with the tail." From AllAboutBirds.

www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wilsons_Snipe/id

According to Fisher and Acorn's book, "Birds of Alberta", "the common Snipe is both secretive and well camouflaged, so few people notice it until it flushes suddenly from a nearby grassy tussock. As soon as the Snipe takes to the air, it performs a series of quick zigzags - an evasive maneuver designed to confuse predators. Because of this habit, Snipes were among the most difficult birds to shoot (in the days when shorebirds were hunted for sport), and skilled sportsmen were known as "snipers" - a term later adopted by the military."

youtu.be/Z16CUdX2g5Q

N 5 B 3.3K C 4 E Jul 17, 2019 F Jul 17, 2019
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"July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon on July 20, 1969 as part of NASA's Apollo 11 lunar mission." People are remembering this exciting, successful event this week. I was trying to remember where I was when this all took place, so I checked. In the week before, we flew from Seria, Brunei, Borneo, back to England for a short while. From Borneo, we spent 6th - 13th July in Hong Kong, then in Rome, Italy, from 14th - 18th July, arriving in Birmingham, England, at my parents' house on 18th July. We ended up in Holland in October 1969 and returned to Borneo about a week before Christmas 1969. So, I am guessing that we were with my parents when the Moon Landing took place. My parents never had a TV, and I can't remember if we watched it at any friend's house. So much packing, travelling and chaos : )

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This morning, 17 July 2019, I woke up to sunshine. It definitely feels like it has rained almost every day for weeks. "Risk of a thunderstorm" seems to be the norm these days.

The day before yesterday, 15 July, I just needed to get out for a quick drive, so, despite the forecast for rain, I drove SW of the city along several usual roads. I soon discovered that one of the roads I was going to drive had roadworks going on - oiling the road. With a car that was already covered in dead insect "splats", from my 12-hour drive south of the city, the last thing I wanted was to add oil to the mix. So, yesterday's drive ended up being very short; just a couple of hours in total. Amazing what one can come across in a short time, though.

A Wilson's Snipe was perched on a fence post, giving me yet another chance for a few photos. A Red-winged Blackbird was perched on another fence post, happily and noisily displaying its scarlet and yellow shoulder patches. Down a different road, a fluffy Tree Swallow fledgling sat on the barbed-wire by its nesting box, all alone.

"Though the long tradition of “snipe hunt” pranks at summer camp has convinced many people otherwise, Wilson’s Snipes aren’t made-up creatures. These plump, long-billed birds are among the most widespread shorebirds in North America. They can be tough to see thanks to their cryptic brown and buff coloration and secretive nature. But in summer they often stand on fence posts or take to the sky with a fast, zigzagging flight and an unusual “winnowing” sound made with the tail." From AllAboutBirds.

www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wilsons_Snipe/id

According to Fisher and Acorn's book, "Birds of Alberta", "the common Snipe is both secretive and well camouflaged, so few people notice it until it flushes suddenly from a nearby grassy tussock. As soon as the Snipe takes to the air, it performs a series of quick zigzags - an evasive maneuver designed to confuse predators. Because of this habit, Snipes were among the most difficult birds to shoot (in the days when shorebirds were hunted for sport), and skilled sportsmen were known as "snipers" - a term later adopted by the military."

youtu.be/Z16CUdX2g5Q

Leaving the area, ready to go home, I came across two Red-tailed Hawks, both perched on the same wooden beam at the top of a utility pole. Such beautiful birds.

Further on, I suddenly decided to drive up a road that I don't think I have ever driven before. What a treat I discovered - a gorgeous old barn! Absolutely made my day.

Tags:   Alberta Canada SW of Calgary video nature ornithology avian bird birds Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus adult displaying vocalizing call perched fence post field grass bokeh outdoor summer 15 July 2019 Canon SX60 Canon SX60 Powershot annkelliott Anne Elliott © Anne Elliott 2019 © All Rights Reserved

N 3 B 2.8K C 5 E Jul 6, 2019 F Jul 6, 2019
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Our weather forecast for today, 6 July 2019, from the Weather Network:

"A multi-day severe storm threat looms for the Prairies. This weekend is ripe with storm risk, with Saturday's thunderstorms set to fire for the afternoon and evening, along with some tornado chance on the table for southern Alberta -- something visitors to the Calgary Stampede should keep an eye on."

This morning, 6 July 2019, I am posting 7 more photos taken three days ago, on a drive south to Frank Lake. Yet again, when I checked the weather forecast, it said continuing rain for day after day after day. However, the sun was shining when I decided to drive south. The clouds were sufficiently photogenic for me to change my plans and, instead of calling in at the Saskatoon Farm, I drove straight to the Lake.

The previous time I was at Frank Lake, there was one Coot, two Canada Geese, and a Red-winged and a Yellow-headed Blackbird. Two days ago, it was so much better! The Barn Swallows were there, having built their nest a few feet away from their previous nest site. The Eared Grebes had their tiny, adorable babies, sometimes riding on their back, other times swimming separately. Same thing with the Coots - some had very young babies; others had somewhat older youngsters. One Coot adult and baby were walking in thick mud, searching for food. They both looked such a mess, as if they had rolled in the mud. A pair of Western Grebes could be seen far in the distance.

The sky began to change - the white clouds were taken over by rather menacing black ones and it became windy and the rain started. I really didn't want to drive back home on the very busy highway in pouring rain, but after waiting and hoping for it to end, I eventually had no choice but to risk it. As it turned out, there was hardly any traffic going north.

It has been raining on and off for something like three weeks now, and everyone is tired of the rain. The famous 9-day Calgary Stampede runs from 5-14 July this year and rain during Stampede makes things so unpleasant! Judging by my Stampede photos posted on Flickr, I haven't been since 2013, when I went with my daughter - surely it hasn't been that long? I know I haven't been the last few years, as it was feeling just too much to deal with. Happy to be away from the huge masses of people and the sickening smell of grease, ha, ha! Of course, not going means not getting any mini-donuts, too. Happy Stampeding, everyone! May the sun shine ....

Tags:   Alberta Canada Frank Lake SE of Calgary video nature wildlife ornithology avian bird birds Coot American Coot Fulica americana Rallidae adult baby walking searching for food copying Mom grass outdoor summer 3 July 2019 Canon SX60 Canon SX60 Powershot annkelliott Anne Elliott © Anne Elliott 2019 © All Rights Reserved


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