Canada

All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

 

We know who the great creatures are at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. Bucks accompanied by does and even fawns, the occasional coyote. And, flying by, the big birds, hawks, owls and osprey. But what about the far more secretive yet abundant small ones? A diverse group of songbirds make their home at the park in the summer. They migrate up from southern climes to breed and feed off insects and other northern hemisphere delicacies.

In Alberta, Clay-coloured Sparrows’ most common occurrence is in the prairies and parklands, not treed areas. A walk along a park trail can have them flitting out of the grasses every hundred feet. Listen for the insect-like buzzy calls of the male Clay-colored Sparrows from May through July. They can be distinguished from some other sparrows commonly found at Glenbow, the Vesper and Savannah, by their relatively unstriped buff breast. They search out insects in the shrubbery and seeds in the grass. Nesting habitat is typically a shrubby area with wild grass, situating the nest on the ground or in a low shrub above ground. They build open cup nests out of grass, weeds and twigs, lining it with rootlets, fine grass, and hair. This is another reason to keep dogs on leash in the park to avoid disturbing these or any wildlife shelter.

Spring after spring, Mountain Bluebirds return to nest boxes placed at strategic locations in the park. They can arrive in Alberta as early as March while fall migration for many migratory birds is an extended affair from mid-August to late October. Bluebirds can’t resist the open country with occasional trees for shelter offered at the park.

As members of the Thrush Family (such as American Robins) they feed mainly on insects, spiders or other invertebrates, which they glean from short ground vegetation. Nest boxes are paired, with Tree Swallows often taking one box, and the bluebird occupying the other. The former seeks out insects flying high and the Bluebird will not compete with its ground watch. Unlike other Bluebirds, they often hunt by hovering, obviously inspecting the ground below for any potential food item. The striking turquoise blue is unmatched against the prairie setting.

The next time you see an insect at the park think of the food source and protection it is offering our beloved small avian creatures.

For these and other nature sightings at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, see also:

 

Glenbow July Floral Show

Glenbow Kaleidoscope of Summer

Summer Colour at Glenbow

Mother Nature Human Nature

 

songbird wildlife photography
Hermit Thrush, Beloved Singer                                                                           © heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird outdoors Glenbow
Bird Photography at Glenbow Ranch                                                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

prairie photography wildlife
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park Late Spring Fenceline                                   ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird wildlife Glenbow
Sparrow with Insect                                                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Female Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                              ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Waxwings Love Berries                                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

bird Glenbow wildlife
Male Mountain Bluebird with Insect                                                        ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Canadian wetlands dragonflies nature
Dragonflies are Tasty to Avian Creatures                                                         ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Black and White Glenbow Park, Alberta

Black and White Winter

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, Alberta

 

Monochrome and a nature park do not always dance together. But sometimes the palette begs it. Take black and white Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park (west of Calgary, Alberta), toss in a fresh dusting of snowfall and the prairie paradise is dressed in it’s grey scale finest. There are trails to discover so don your booties and venture into the black and white world of western Canada’s best.

Meditate on your surroundings and drink in the cold season’s best. Lily Loop will not disappoint as the poplar boughs bend to frame your route. While heading down the drifting path, other sets of eyes may be on you so pay attention if only for the pleasure of sighting wildlife curious about you. It is not every day you are so popular. Moose would be rare in these parts but Mule Deer or White-tails often venture to the edge of a human encounter. And coyotes are always watching.

Fence lines defining natures’ borderless panorama. Meandering trails lure your athletic prowess with deer springing across the landscape, anywhere and everywhere, and spooky poplars with fingers grabbing the sky. And possibly you. All awaits your inquisitive wonder.

Mind the slippery ramble back up the hill to wind up your adventure. All roads lead up at Glenbow park. Before departure, be sure to amble your eyes west, drink in the Rocky Mountains creeping up behind the foothills vista. Can you imagine all of this in monochrome, a black and white Glenbow?

 

For more on Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park in winter, see also:

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park- A Park For All Seasons

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park in Monochrome

Winter Landscapes at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

November Monochrome Musings

 

Black and White Glenbow
Black and White Glenbow ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Black and White Glenbow
Black and White Glenbow                                                                                                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Black and White Glenbow
Black and White Glenbow                                         ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Black and White Glenbow
Black and White Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

Black and White Glenbow
Black and White Glenbow ©heathersimondsphotography.com

Yukon Gold In Fall Landscapes

Yukon Gold In Fall Landscapes

A Modern Gold Rush

 

There is gold in them thar’ hills. Yukon gold. And it is free for the taking, once you discover it.

The gold rush of the past still haunts the other gold rush that has long outlasted the mineral quest of the last century. But unlike the former, wherever you venture in the fall are golden poplars, smattered with red shrubbery and purple hills and, if you are lucky, blue is in the skies reflecting off of the water. The yellow and blue make a colour palette marriage known by artists to create interest. Complementary colours. Intrinsically high contrast, warm yellow and cool blue. In the Yukon, at the beginning of September, warm may be the days but cool is biting the back of your neck and crawling down your spine as soon as the heat of the sun fades.

Head to the rivers and lakes and bogs and ponds for the most dramatic gold and blue landscapes. There you can reflect in the drama of early morning mist or late afternoon sunset, ideal for the sweetest light. As you scout locations for these warm hours, be mindful of the critters that can give you a bad time when you are least expecting them. Even in Whitehorse, with its far reaching suburbs, a grizzly sow and cubs are known to wander through the hood, giving no one any notice.

The essence of the north, breathtaking, dramatic and wild. Always a rush!

For more on the Yukon and golden fall landscapes, see also:

Mont Tremblant Turns On The Fall Colour

Fall Foliage Photographer Is Not Foiled

Yukon Sled Dogs – Tenacity And Focus

 

Yukon Gold Landscape

Yukon Fall Landscape                                                                          ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

Yukon Gold Landscape
Yukon In The Fall                                                                   ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

Yukon Gold Landscape
Yukon Early Morning Landscape                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Yukon Gold Landscape
Yukon Gold Sunrise                                                                     ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Yukon Gold Landscape
Yukon Gold Sunrise                                                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

Life In The Woods With Deer and Moose

Life In The Woods With Deer and Moose

 

Deer and moose. You know they are there. You just do not always see them. And sometimes you don’t even hear them although the latter is more often the case. Heard but not seen. Deer and moose in the North American hinterland.

Twigs breaking, leaves crackling, ever so quietly. No alarms for these critters. Their instinct has been honed since the arrival of white man with metal sticks of fire. They are aware of the deadly consequences when fall hunting season descends. Meanwhile, it is spring, the cycle of life is revolving, and the next generation is showing up behind bushes, under deadfall. In the crevices and hideaways that only the woods knows. Mamas are on high alert for mammalian predators of the furry variety.

“Heads down kids. Do not lift them until I get back”, urges the doe as she nuzzles her newborn. It arrived at dawn, a sharp barking pierces the first light of the morning as a red fox made the birth announcement. 4 AM strikes with Savannah Sparrows followed by dependable American Robins joining in the exaltation. The doe will spend most of the daylight hours foraging back to recovery and the challenge of keeping her fawn alive the first few days of its life. Twin moose do not require such rigorous instruction as their parent will not be abandoning them. They follow her instinctively. A cow moose with babes in tow can take care of just about anything that comes their way this time of year.

A new day is breaking, instincts kick in, and all is well with the world.

For more on deer and moose and other life in the woods, see also:

Wildlife Portfolio

Rocky Mountain Marmot Magic

Chasing Studs At Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

 

 

Life In The Forest      © Heather Simonds
Life In The Woods                          © Heather Simonds
One Day Old Moose      © Heather Simonds
One Day Old Young Moose                                 © Heather Simonds

 

Half Day Old Fawn      © Heather Simonds
Half Day Old Fawn                                   © Heather Simonds

 

Moose Twins      © Heather Simonds
Life in the Woods with Moose Twins                     © Heather Simonds