Gravel and dust – a favourite road

Gravel and dust - a favourite road

Two mornings ago, on 30 June 2019, I woke up earlier than usual. Once I was on my computer, I checked the weather forecast and saw raindrop icons in the forecast for the next week, but the 30th was for sun. I knew what I had to do! Luckily, I had a tank full of gas, so I grabbed both cameras and a snack or two, and headed out the door. I must be the only person who hadn’t been to Kananaskis recently and taken photos of the tiny Pikas (Rock Rabbits), and that was my destination.

This was a long weekend for Canada Day, and my plan had been to keep off the roads, as I was sure they would be busy, making it more difficult to stop whenever I wanted, to take a photo or two. However, when I saw the weather forecast, it changed my mind. Sunshine, blue sky with clouds, made it a perfect day to be out – I’m sure you agreed, Bonnie : )

A day in Kananaskis is always great, but sometimes ‘great’ turns out to be fantastic! Can’t believe how lucky I was, not just in the mountains, but on the journey there and, at the end of the day, calling in at my ‘usual’ area closer to home.

I suspect the Pika is most people’s favourite – around 6 inches long and almost impossible to see against the mountainside of broken rocks that are the same colour as the Pika’s fur. Starting to believe that maybe I was going to be out of luck, the first one appeared, racing in and out and over and between the endless, sharp rocks. Take your eyes off the animal and you stand a good chance of not being able to find it again. Then a second one appeared, a baby. It perched itself on top of a rock and simply stayed there for a few minutes. Several of my photos show the eyes closing slightly. However, eventually it did move, and off it went. When it appeared not too far away, I caught sight of it and thought at first it was a mouse, ha. So tiny!

While I was searching for a Pika, a herd of Bighorn Sheep had come down the massive mountain side and, as they usually do, gathered right in the middle of the road to lick salt left by vehicles. After quite a time, there was an almighty BOOM that startled me and a handful of others. We hadn’t noticed a Park’s truck arrive, armed with ‘bangers’ to make the Sheep move from the road. Once the Park’s person had left, the Sheep returned to the road. There were several young ones along with the females.

It will take me ages to go through my photos, especially having to combine two cameras, but lots of images can wait till winter. More important, to me, is to continue editing and posting the remaining Texas photos, if/when I get time to do so.

Posted by annkelliott on 2019-07-02 21:08:25

Tagged: , Alberta , Canada , SW of Calgary , on way to Kananaskis , landscape , scenery , hills , rolling hills , mountains , foothills , field , farm , road , backroad , gravel , undulating , trees , outdoor , summer , 30 June 2019 , Canon , SX60 , Canon SX60 , Powershot , annkelliott , Anne Elliott

Birds on a wire

Birds on a wire

There was a family of several of these beautiful Mourning Doves the other day, 16 July 2014, along one of the gravel roads just within the SW city limits. I’ve never yet seen one perched on a fence post, but always way up on a high wire. Not as sharp as I would have liked.

"A graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America.

The Mourning Dove is the most widespread and abundant game bird in North America. Every year hunters harvest more than 20 million, but the Mourning Dove remains one of our most abundant birds with a U.S. population estimated at 350 million. The oldest known Mourning Dove was 31 years 4 months old." From AllABoutBirds.

www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/mourning_dove/lifehistory

Temperatures got up to around 32C or 33C three days ago. My desk thermometer said it was 32C in my computer room, so I knew I just had to get out for a while, to enjoy the air-conditioning in my car. The backroads SW of the city come in handy when I don’t want to spend too much time on a drive, and I can usually find something of interest to photograph. Didn’t see a whole lot this time, though I did see a Swainson’s Hawk perched on a high power pole and the gorgeous Wilson’s Snipe that I posted the day before yesterday. Think the Hawk must have been the same one that I have photographed before. It was just so laid back, letting me walk past it along the gravel road, so that I wasn’t looking into the sun. Now if only it would perch on a fence post instead : )

Today, the sun is shining, but there are some grey clouds up there. I predict rain – the reason is that yesterday, I washed my car for the first time in several months, and after I’ve done this, it almost always rains (or snows). My arms and shoulders have been just too painful to do this before, but I managed OK yesterday. I have two long drives coming up in the next little while (both of which I’ve never done before – yikes!), so I wanted to get rid of the awful build-up of dried mud and gravel dust. Driving the gravel backroads, which I love to do, means that I rarely have a clean car 🙂

Posted by annkelliott on 2014-07-19 16:29:47

Tagged: , Calgary , Alberta , Canada , rural SW backroad , within city limits , nature , ornithology , avian , bird , birds , two , Mourning Dove , Zenaida macroura , Columbidae , Turtle Dove , American Mourning Dove , Rain Dove , common , perched , wire , side view , Explore , explore2014July19 , dropped before Scouted , screen shot taken , annkelliott , Anne Elliott , FZ200 , Lumix