A favourite park of mine to visit is in Hinton, and it is called the Beaver Boardwalk. Walking the boardwalk over the water and into the forest is a wonderful experience and it is quite beautiful. I’ve seen beaver in the park on a previous visit, but unfortunately not this time. This time I was there in the middle of the day, which is not a time beavers like to be active, but was a beautiful day for both a walk and taking some photos.
Here’s a picture showing the beaver lodge:
Here’s a showing another dam. The water is held back to a height of about 3 feet:
And lastly, I wandered through the forest on the boardwalk and discovered another beautiful, crooked path:
My friend and I went for a trip to the University of Alberta Botanical Gardens on Friday. We had a lovely visit. The gardens are much improved since I was there last, and with all the rain we’ve had recently, the gardens are in top form. The Aga Khan garden was the highlight of the visit for me as I’ve never seen it before and it was beautiful.
An old favourite of mine is the Kurimoto Japanese garden.
A few days ago, I was shocked to see what looked like an over-grown gopher in our roses. When I moved, the critter took off and I managed to snap a few pictures on my phone. I do believe it is a prairie dog, which I didn’t know we had in Edmonton.
My last trip to the Whitemud ravine with my camera brought me a couple of good luck shots. The first was looking across the pond straight into the eyes of a deer. This was the second time I’ve encountered a deer there, and first time the deer was still enough to photograph.
The second good luck photo was of a yellow bird I occasionally spot, always flying away from me at top speed. This time it landed on some branches ahead of me and stayed just long enough for me to get a picture. I think it is a yellow warbler.
My third photo is kind of a bad luck shot. I was figuring out how to capture some pretty white flowers, only to realize each one had a bug on it!
This spring, when I learned about Great Horned Owls nesting in Edmonton’s parks, I immediately took interest. I’ve only ever seen owls in captivity and really wanted to see one in the wild. So I took my camera and set about finding the owls in Rundle Park. With some assistance from a person who looked like a bird watcher, I located three juvenile owls that had already left their nest in a tree with a parent hidden further up the tree. They were bundles of fluff and it gave me a lot of joy photographing them.
With this experience behind me, I went looking for owls along the trail system of the Whitemud Ravine. Shortly after I entered the Ravine, I had an incredible stroke of beginner’s luck – my first time out, I actually heard an owl hooting and was led by the sound straight to an owl!
The owl I found was a Barred Owl. It is famous for its distinctive “Who cooks for you” call that I was listening to: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barred_owl/sounds Over a number of visits, I learned from others that this owl had lost its mate and thus was likely vocalizing more than usual in an attempt to attract a new one. In the early spring, the owl had a couple of favourite perches right next to the trails and was easy to find. Now, it likes to hide in the bush and is more difficult to find.
Talking to birders while checking out the Barred Owl, I learned the location of a Great Horned Owl nest along another part of the Whitemud trail system. I found the location and was pleased to find two juvenile owls still in the nest with a parent. Every now and then a little owl would very cutely pop up its head and look out the nest. The little owls grew with each visit, until I came back and they’d moved out.
I went on a morning walk today without my camera, so naturally, I find the barred owl and the duck with ducklings I’d been looking for over the past week. So I made do with pictures from my iPhone.
The owl I listened to from the path as I walked, and when I was close, I went into the bush to look for it. I’d been hearing the owl off and on for about 10 minutes, but the owl quit hooting upon my entering into the bush. Fortunately, it was cool out and so I was covered from head to toe, since the mosquitoes were out, full force. After searching for a bit, I had pretty much gave up on finding the owl, and diverted to looking for a strange sounding bird. It turned out the strange sounding bird was a regular small bird harassing the owl. Because I locked eyes with the owl at about the same time I found the little noise maker which looked to be a nuthatch.
The ducklings were almost black with spots the first time I saw them, extremely cute but in a distance and the water was reflecting so it was hard to get a picture of them. This time they were close but I only had my iPhone on me. The photos turned out poorly, but I’m posting them anyways, along with the first chipmunk I’ve ever seen in a tree.