Sunny days with risk of frost overnight, lows down to minus 2 C. Chance of showers and possible thundershowers. What kind of a forecast is this for late May? Better still, what season is this? Late spring in the foothills at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, offers up cool temperatures and unsettled weather and landscape photographers are outside. Fooled by the date, often fingerless mitts have been filed away in the basement under “Winter”, they persevere through the late spring date. Just remembering it is actually late May will keep thoughts away from what the temperature actually is.
Just south of the Information Office at the park the tree swallows take advantage of a break in the two days of on again, off again, spring and summer weather taking turns on the stage. They dip and swirl and scold and swoop and fight and do what tree swallows do in May. Dressed up in a handsome, iridescent tuxedo of blue green and white they will let the casual observer into their lives right out in the open where they can be easily seen. Slender, streamlined with wings long, dark and pointed. To describe their behaviour as active and eager is an understatement – they perch, fly with highly-maneuverable skill, dodge and dip, catch snacks of insects in flight, soar, hover, dash and squabble, all incessantly. They are snaffling insects in flight, mostly mosquitoes, humanity’s arch enemy. The bone chilling wind can’t be offering up many of those little morsels tonight but the instinctive behaviour continues – swoop, swoop, snaffle.
After four evening hours at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, numb fingers can’t turn the keys in the truck. Sitting on hands to warm them up staring at the remainder of an incredible prairie sunset works wonders. This isn’t a spring evening, it’s freezing, but the box is full of gems so hang in there. Summer’s just around the corner.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park lies between Calgary and Cochrane, Alberta east of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.