Little did I know what I was going to miss when I went on a short drive SW of the city yesterday afternoon, 23 July 2018! Only when I checked the weather forecast for today did I see photos and videos of the severe hail storm that hit the city while I was gone! Of course, it may not have covered my part of the city. When I was taking photos yesterday, very black clouds did start rolling in, as seen in photo #5 that I posted this morning. However, I had no idea what was happening back in the city. It was windy, too, and COLD, which actually felt really, really good.
The forecast for today gives an 80% chance of thunder storms for this afternoon. I had planned on finally getting out on another botany walk with friends, but I'm not sure I want to risk getting soaked. The temperature at the moment is just 13C at 10:45 am.
Tags: Alberta Canada SW of Calgary nature ornithology avian bird Bluebird Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides Turdidae Sialia male adult side view perched fence insect food food for his babies outdoor summer 23 July 2018 Canon SX60 Canon SX60 annkelliott Anne Elliott © Anne Elliott 2018 © All Rights Reserved
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This youngster (?) had a quick leg and wing stretch before lying down and making itself comfortable. I was quite amused to see it bending its 'knees' (or is it "heels"?) in the process.
Yesterday, 6 September 2018, turned out to be a much longer day than I had planned! In the very early hours of the morning, I happened to check the weather forecast just out of interest, and saw that rain is expected on about six of the coming days (if it actually happens). Decided then and there that I had better get out for a drive, just in case.
My intention had been to just drive some of the roads east of the city, getting out there via 22X, which is definitely not a drive I like to do. On a previous trip, I had made two mistakes along this complcated highway, and ended up on Stoney Trail going north and, on the return trip, I was in the wrong lane and ended up heading far, far south of the city on the worst major highway. The latter happened again yesterday and, like on the previous drive, I ended up going to the Saskatoon Farm. Fortunately, I was in time to get an afternoon meal there and have a wander around the grounds taking photos. I love this place.
There were certain things I wanted to go and see again, including a few old barns and sheds. I was also hoping that I might just come across a beautiful hawk or two within camera reach. I even finally got to take photos of a few shorebirds. Throw in a butterfly or two and the odd flower, and I was happy.
On this trip, I really wanted to make myself use the Nikon P900 a lot. I always take a few of the same photos with my Panasonic and Canon point-and-shoots, too, as I am not yet used to the P900. One of my concerns about the latter is that it seems to blow out the white in an image, from what I have seen in quite a few other people's photos - didn''t seem too bad yesterday. My other - and main - concern is focus. I still have not been able to stand in front of a flower/something small at various distances, and zoom in. All I see in the viewfinder is a coloured blur. The other cameras don't do this, and I've been doing it easily for many years. Hope I can sort this out! I guess it's just a case of experimenting. So far, I think I am liking how the P900 takes photos.
Tags: Alberta Canada E of Calgary nature wildlife ornithology avian bird shorebird Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus juvenile? stretching wing standing side view close-up rocks water lake outdoor summer 6 September 2018 Nikon P900 Nikon P900 annkelliott Anne Elliott © Anne Elliott 2018 © All Rights Reserved
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I don't think I've posted any photos from 28 July 2014, when I drove along some of the dusty, gravel backroads SE of the city. It was another really hot day, so I just had to get out of the house and into the air-conditioning of my vehicle. Once again, I was lucky to come across a lone White-faced Ibis on one of the small sloughs in the area. Quite a distance away, but not too bad using 48x zoom plus a tiny bit of cropping. There were a few other Ibis flying over the area, but too far away to try and photograph. This one was hanging out with a family of American Avocets. I always think that these beautiful birds look like they have escaped from the Zoo.
Other birds seen that afternoon/evening included a Barn Swallow, a young Marsh Wren that was enjoying a dust bath, a single young Sora, several Coots including one young one, two or three different species of shore bird (will eventually post photos, but I may not have the IDs), American Avocets, a couple of Swainson's Hawks, and a Meadowlark (looking rather scruffy, so may have been a young one).
"A dark wading bird with a long, down-curved bill, the White-faced Ibis is a western replacement for the Glossy Ibis. Similar in appearance and habits, the two species can be distinguished only by slight differences in coloring of the face and legs. From AllAboutBirds.
In the book, "Birds of Alberta" by Fisher & Acorn, it says that, in Alberta, White-faced Ibis are very rare from May to September. Length is 22-25" (56-64 cm), wingspan 3'1" (94 cm).
I'm not sure, but there seemed to be no sign of the beautiful Maximilian's Sunflowers that I love to see each year. This species found its way here, I believe from eastern Canada, and this was the only location where I have seen it. I did notice a couple of large holes in this area, which looked like someone may have dug up the plants. If so, who knows if it was because they wanted the plants in their garden or because this species in a non-native plant here.
This is a long weekend here in Canada - Monday, 4 August 2014 is Heritage Day. Have a good, safe holiday, everyone!
Tags: Alberta Canada SE of Calgary Frank Lake area slough nature ornithology avian bird birds Ibis White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi Family: Threskiornithidae Genus: Plegadis wading bird walking side view water water plants pink bare face bordered with white feathers adult iridescent plumage very rare in Alberta Explore explore2014August01 dropped before Scouted screen shot taken annkelliott Anne Elliott FZ200 Lumix point-and-shoot
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With our autumn colour pretty much gone, it feels good to be able to look back to photos from 1 October 2016. On that day, I finally had my very first visit to the Silver Springs Botanical Gardens, thanks to friend, Sandy. I first heard about this beautiful place from my daughter, but I had never been, because it is way out of my city driving comfort zone. In the morning, it was raining, at least in my part of the city, and I wondered if going would turn out to be a big mistake. However, the rain stopped and stayed away while we were there and, though the sky was overcast, I was still able to photograph to my heart's content. I was surprised at how many flowers were still in bloom on the first day of October and I was extremely impressed with how meticulously these gardens are kept - every inch of them. So many different kinds of trees and plants, and it was very obvious that each area had been planted with so much thought and care. Amazing that dedicated volunteers have been, and continue to be, the ones to thank for these gardens.
Thanks so much, Sandy, for giving me the chance to spend an afternoon in such beauty and peace! We all knew that snow wasn't far away and about a week after this visit, Calgary had its first snowfall of the season, for the whole of the Thanksgiving weekend. At least I now have some bright, colourful photos that I will be able to post in between all the coming white, snowy images that will be taken during the long months of winter.
"The Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs is without doubt one of the Seven Wonders of Calgary, Alberta. It boasts 1350 square meters (14 600 square feet) of gardens which includes a spectacular Wall Garden that runs an uninterrupted 1300 feet. In the gardens you will find an endless variety of annuals and perennials ranging from artemisias to zinnias. Here indeed is a place to stop and smell the roses and the peonies and the delphiniums and the chrysanthemums and the …
What makes these gardens so very special is that they were created and continue to be maintained by a band of green-thumbed enthusiastic volunteers. These hale and hearty diggers, planters, seeders, weeders, mowers, waterers, pruners and community builders work two to three mornings a week to keep the gardens in primrose shape and their efforts are truly appreciated by the many walkers, joggers, and cyclists.
On any given day, hundreds of people walk the wall garden with their families, friends and out-of-town visitors. It has become a treasured destination site for many.
For anyone who has spent time in the gardens, it is hard to believe that they have only been here since 2006 when a humble ornamental garden (400 square feet) was developed within the existing BirthPlace Forest tree beds.
The BPF, by the way, saw 7000 trees planted in the area. The project was accomplished through a partnership of BP Energy, Calgary Parks, Regional Health and Golden Acres." From the gardens' website.
Tags: Calgary Alberta Canada Silver Springs Botanical Gardens Half Moon Garden nature garden plant plants flower flowers hedge statue figurine garden ornament outdoor fall autumn 1 October 2016 FZ200 FZ200#4 annkelliott Anne Elliott © Anne Elliott 2016 © All Rights Reserved tree trees
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We almost missed finding this really small Saddle fungus (macro photo), but luckily the sun was shining right on it. Taken when a few of us were botanizing Rod Handfield's property, south of Calgary and west of Millarville, on 17 August 2012.
Tags: Alberta Canada W of Millarville SW of Calgary Rod Handfield's acreage nature mycology fungus fungi log forest floor forest Saddle sp. macro close-up beauty in nature Panasonic DMC-FZ40 DMC-FZ40 FZ40 Lumix point-and-shoot P1470666 FZ40 annkelliott Anne Elliott
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