As winter slowly transitioned to spring, we enjoyed two relaxing weeks in Canmore: daily walks, lots of photography and plenty of time for cooking and reading meant we came back to Calgary well-rested and ready for the push to the end of the school year. In addition to a short hike in Banff and our first bike ride of 2015, highlights included:
Our birdwatching is opportunistic. I think we’ve gone out specifically for birdwatching exactly two times: a year or two ago to search for an owl in Griffith Woods and more recently to search for a pair of owls in Carburn Park. Mostly we just stay alert for birds and other wildlife when we’re already out and about. But since Mr. GeoK has added a telephoto lens to his gear bag, we’re inclined to pause a little longer when we spot a bird that isn’t a raven or a magpie. As a result, we spotted an identified a pair of Common Mergansers on the Bow River, a male Mountain Bluebird, a Northern Flicker, a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneyes, a lone Oregon-coloured Dark-Eyed Junco and lots of American robins, mostly male. The behaviour of the robins was interesting in that they were in a flock. We are more accustomed to seeing individual males or nesting pairs, which prompted me to learn that robins more typically flock in the winter, the better to spot food sources. We managed to photograph them all: some just well enough to confirm our in-the-field-tentative-identification and others well enough to share here.
The majestic mountains draw people west from Calgary to Canmore and Banff, whether for skiing, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking or just taking in the scenery. The towering peaks also remind me of my insignificant role in the grand scheme of things. I try to observe how different seasons, the nature of the light and weather systems change the appearance of now familiar mountains (such as Grotto, Lady MacDonald and Rundle) to preserve that sense of perspective (which helps keep my overall stress level down).
Changing of the Seasons
It’s a joy to witness the tug-of-war between winter and spring, because I know that spring will eventually win! When overnight temperatures dropped below freezing, a wide range of ice patterns awaited discovery before the noon sun weighed in on the side of spring. More shaded spots suggested we’d see at least one more fresh blanket of snow in the Bow Valley before putting away the skis and ice cleats until next winter (and we did!). And a few branches of pussy willows implied it’ll soon be time to scout for Calypso orchids and Lady slippers.
Did you have the opportunity to enjoy nearby nature over spring break? What kinds of things did you find interesting?