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Highway 40 Loop

Highway 40 Loop

Another amazing trip out in Kananaskis Country, I took the entire Highwood loop heading south out of calgary. Shortly after going over the pass I spotted a young grizzly bear on the roadside (almost in the same place as on my previous trip), and spent quite a while photographing it before it wandered off into the trees. By the time I finished with the bear the weather which had started out pretty crappy had blown through, and it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful night.

Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
2013 Flood damage to Highway 40, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Grizzly bear feeding on summer foliage, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Canadian Moose in the mountains in summer, Kananaskis Country Alberta
Wild Canadian Moose in the mountains in summer, Kananaskis Country Alberta
Columbian ground squirrel in summer Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Columbian ground squirrel in summer Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain views in the Summertime, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Emperor Falls Campground – Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Emperor Falls Campground – Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

  • Emperor Falls campground
    • Distance One Way – 16 km
  • Whole Trip
    • Distance Return – 46 km
    • Elevation Gain – 1028 metres

Mount Robson and the Berg Lake Trail is said to be one of the top backpacking trips in the country. Which in turn means that it also see more visitors than most other trails in the Canadian Rockies. It starts out a nice easy walk through temperate rainforest along the shore of a lake and then a easy climb takes you up into the Valley of a Thousand Falls, where we stopped for lunch. We had set a painfully slow pace on this first part of the hike, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake as a thunderstorm rolled in shortly after lunch and we ended up slugging our way up switchbacks in the pouring rain. Not only did this make for a long afternoon we missed out on some seriously beautiful scenery and opted not to make the side trip to Emperor Falls because of it. Overall the hike was a relatively easy one with a couple of good climbs but nothing too intense and some absolutely amazing scenery. The valley was pretty spectacular despite it being fairly dry time of year (there was not quite a thousand falls). I got a real kick out of the river on the opposite side of the valley running along the the top of a massive cliff, somehow it just seemed unnatural to see river running along that high above the ground.

We camped out at Emperor Campground which was alright, but the trail runs right through the middle of the camp so there was a fair bit of coming and going, and there is basically nothing there but a place to set up tents.

If I was to do it again I would choose to continue on further to one of the other sites. As we found out the next day continuing on to the lake is a easy walk with absolutely no change in elevation, and there is a lot more to see and do further on.

With two glaciers, one of the more impressive mountains you’ll ever see, and of course Berg Lake with actual icebergs floating around (and the sound of them calving off the glacier) was pretty spectacular, despite the cloudy rainy conditions. There is also a handful of other hikes and trails in the area. Which unfortunately we didn’t have time to do next time we’ll have to plan on a few more days to explore the area, and do a bit more research into all the trails before hand. After passing Berg lake, we continued on crossing back into Alberta to Adolphus Lake where we spent some time relaxing on the shore.

The weather finally cleared up in time for our hike out, and we made much better time, and were able to enjoy a bit more of the scenery. While it was a fantastic trip I can’t help but feel between the overcast rainy weather and the lack of time that we only caught a glimpse of all there is to see and do in the area, and I will jump at the chance to go back and do it again.

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American Black Bear feeding on summer grass, Jasper National Park Alberta Canada
American Black Bear feeding on summer grass, Jasper National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Alberta - BC Boundary marker on the Berg Lake Trail
Alberta – BC Boundary marker on the Berg Lake Trail
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Hoary Marmot in a mountain campground in summer
Hoary Marmot in a mountain campground in summer
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic mountain hiking views, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park British Columbia Canada
Jasper Camping

Jasper Camping

Spent the weekend camping in Jasper National Park. Saw lots of Black Bears, but no grizzlies. The cubs in the tree would have been a definite highlight, if it wasn’t a total shooting gallery with about a dozen other photographers lined up there in the middle of the road. Weather was really good, which was somewhat unfortunate because it made for a lot of situations with really bad light, ie. the cubs in the tree, and the mother and cub down on the lakeshore. There was a bunch of elk in and around our campsite, and I saw my first baby Elk that still had spots, but wasn’t able to get a shot of it. Overall it was a pretty typical trip to Jasper with lots of driving and a bunch of bears and other wildlife to photograph.

Frank Lake

Frank Lake

I had an amazing evening photographing flying Terns out at Frank Lake. The waterfowl was out in full force with Grebes and Redheads playing around by the blind. There was a bunch of White-faced Ibis off in the distance, and I saw my first couple of Black Terns. But the star of the day was most definitely the Common Terns which spent the whole time hovering and diving into the marshy area east of the blind. I think I shot about 800 photos of the Terns alone (a couple hundred of which were complete blurs, or more likely nothing but sky where I had missed the bird completely). One thing I learned for sure is that shooting birds in flight is not an easy thing to do and I could use a whole lot more practice at it. But it sure was a lot of fun..!

Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Ring-billed Gull in flight over a prairie wetland
Ring-billed Gull in flight over a prairie wetland
Redhead duck in a prairie wetland
Redhead duck in a prairie wetland
Redhead duck in a prairie wetland
Redhead duck in a prairie wetland
Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Redhead ducks in flight over a prairie wetland
Redhead ducks in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Eared Grebe in a prairie pond
Black Tern in a prairie wetland
Black Tern in a prairie wetland
White-faced Ibis in flight over a prairie wetland
White-faced Ibis in flight over a prairie wetland
Black Tern in a prairie wetland
Black Tern in a prairie wetland
Yellow-headed Blackbird perched in the reeds of a prairie wetland
Yellow-headed Blackbird perched in the reeds of a prairie wetland
White-faced Ibis in flight over a prairie wetland
White-faced Ibis in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Pair of Duck tails sticking out of a prairie pond
Pair of Duck tails sticking out of a prairie pond
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland
Common Tern in flight over a prairie wetland

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Tree Swallow on a barbed-wire fence
Tree Swallow on a barbed-wire fence
Fairmont – British Columbia

Fairmont – British Columbia

I got a really good deal on a week long stay at a place by the Fairmont Hotsprings and headed out for some R&R. I spent the whole day driving out, through Kananaskis and Banff and Kootenay National Parks, stopping first at Gap lake to watch a variety of small songbirds. The weather was beautiful and I had great time exploring the shorelines at various points along the Bow and Kootenay rivers.

Once I got to Fairmont the weather turned rainy and overcast for the next few days, and I spent a lot of time relaxing around the hotel. That’s not to say I didn’t do much, I did a whole lot of driving all over the area. I explored the forestry roads in search of White Swan Lake. Photographed Colombia Lake at sunset. Drove a dirt track on the south side of the river valley halfway to Golden (and then continued on the rest of the way on the highway). Went hiking down to a old gold miners camp along a small creek. Walked around Canal flats where an old canal had been dug between Columbia Lake and the river which is in a different watershed.

I had really been hopeful that I would see some wildlife, but it was a bit of a letdown. The marshes and ponds were strangely devoid of waterfowl (despite it being the annual bird festival in the area). I did spot a black bear about 2 kilometres from the hotel after driving all the way to Golden and back without seeing anything. I had on my wide lens and after it crossed the road in front of my car I watched it from a stand up and scratch its back on a telephone pole while I was fumbling around with my camera, and of course it was gone by the time I got my long lens on.

I spent a lot of time driving up and down some sketchy forestry roads, but apart from a couple of deer and a huge flock of Coots in one of the mountain lakes it was entirely unproductive.

The highlight was an afternoon spent in the reed beds near Canal Flats, which was full of  of Great Blue Herons. The light was pretty crappy so I was excited to go back the next day, but the Heron’s were mostly all gone.

As far as photography goes the way there and back again through Banff and Kananaskis was likely more productive than all the time I spent in BC, but I read an entire book about Coastal Wolves and spent more than a few hours in the jacuzzi tub. So I guess it was a successful trip.

 

 

Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country

Still waiting for spring….

I drove out to Kananaskis Country, taking the long way through Springbank, to exploring some of the backcountry roads to try and photograph waterfowl in the country ponds. It wasn’t very successful and the weather was beginning to turn rather ugly. By the time I got into Kananaskis Country I realised that spring was still a long way off in the mountains and headed back early, deciding not waste anymore time.

 

Snowy mountain scenery in early springtime
Snowy mountain scenery in early springtime
Snowy mountain scenery in early springtime
Snowy mountain scenery in early springtime
Snowy mountain scenery in early springtime
Snowy mountain scenery in early springtime
Ring-necked Ducks in a farmland slough
Ring-necked Ducks in a farmland slough
Frank Lake

Frank Lake

Winter seemed a big long this year and by April I was desperate to get out and do something. Despite it not being very warm, and a strong north wind blowing I thought I would give Frank Lake a try to see if the birds were migrating yet.

While the birds were starting to arrive (most notably the Northern Pintails) the lake was still partially ice covered. Most of the shoreline was free of ice, but it was completely flooded and I couldn’t actually get near the lake. At the trail to the viewing blind where I parked my car the water came pretty much right out to the roadway, the walkway was completely submerged, and the actual blind had water halfway up the railings.

I walked around the lake shore for a bit despite it being completely unproductive, but eventually the wind took it’s toll and I gave up and headed home.

 

Flock of Northern Pintail ducks on a frozen lake Alberta Canada
Flock of Northern Pintail ducks on a frozen lake Alberta Canada
Flock of Northern Pintail ducks on a frozen lake Alberta Canada
Flock of Northern Pintail ducks on a frozen lake Alberta Canada
Powerlines through the prairies with mountain views
Powerlines through the prairies with mountain views
Banff National Park

Banff National Park

I went out to Banff for my annual February weekend at the timeshare. The weather was icy cold, despite the beautiful clear blue skies. We did a lot of driving around looking for wildlife. The first night there I spotted a bunch of Elk up on tunnel mountain drive and nearly died of hypothermia (ok not really) trying to photograph them. The light was on it’s way out so I had to get out of the car to use my tripod, although I think my shivering negated most of its effects. The next day we spotted a coyote walking down the railroad track off to the side of the Bow Valley Parkway. We made the usual stops at Vermilion Lakes and Castle Mountain. But it was too cold to really do a whole lot and we spent more time in the hot tub and lounging around the hotel than we did out taking pictures.

 

Wild Elk herd, Banff National Park Alberta Canada in winter
Wild Elk herd, Banff National Park Alberta Canada in winter
Wild Elk herd, Banff National Park Alberta Canada in winter
Wild Elk herd, Banff National Park Alberta Canada in winter
Wild Elk herd, Banff National Park Alberta Canada in winter
Wild Elk herd, Banff National Park Alberta Canada in winter
Snow covered winter mountain views, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Snow covered winter mountain views, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Wild Coyote in a field of snow, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Wild Coyote in a field of snow, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Mount Rundle and Vermillion lakes in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Mount Rundle and Vermillion lakes in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Mount Rundle and Vermillion lakes in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Mount Rundle and Vermillion lakes in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Bow river and Castle Mountain in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Bow river and Castle Mountain in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Sun setting over snow covered forest, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Sun setting over snow covered forest, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Bow river and Castle Mountain in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Scenic Bow river and Castle Mountain in winter, Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Elk Island Nation Park

Elk Island Nation Park

After my experience at Elk Island National Park in September 2012 (http://photoboom.ca/wp/?p=4575) I had been wanting to go back for another visit, and more specifically was hoping to visit in the winter and photography some bison in the snow.

This trip was a fair bit less successful, while we did see the bison herd it was way off in the distance, on the other side of the lake. We saw, and heard a bunch of coyotes, but never really got close enough to get decent pictures.

We did however have an interesting and close up encounter with one bison. While driving around the back side of Astotin lake when we came around the corner to find a lone bison in the middle of the road. When he spotted us his behavior was, well amusing to say the least. He (I’m assuming it was a young male by it’s demeanour, but I really have no idea) was jumping around and dancing up and down the side of the road shaking his head around and throwing up snow with his horns. I think it was a bit of foreplay and he was seriously considering mounting our truck. Either that or he thought we were a dominant bull and was getting ready for a fight. Unfortunately we were in a bad position and I wasn’t able to photograph any of his antics, but eventually he calmed down and headed off across the lake.

 

Coyotes crossing a frozen lake, Alberta Canada
Coyotes crossing a frozen lake, Alberta Canada
Wild Plains Bison feeding on a frozen lakeshore, Elk Island National Park Alberta Canada
Wild Plains Bison feeding on a frozen lakeshore, Elk Island National Park Alberta Canada
Wild Plains Bison feeding on a frozen lakeshore, Elk Island National Park Alberta Canada
Wild Plains Bison feeding on a frozen lakeshore, Elk Island National Park Alberta Canada
Wild Plains Bison feeding on a frozen lakeshore, Elk Island National Park Alberta Canada
Wild Plains Bison feeding on a frozen lakeshore, Elk Island National Park Alberta Canada
Banff & Yoho National Park

Banff & Yoho National Park

I hadn’t really planned it, but after contemplating spending the weekend doing chores and cleaning the house I decided a weekend in the mountains was a far more appealing prospect. So I grabbed my gear packed a bag and headed west. My first stop was Bow Valley Provincial Park where I discovered an incredible view of Mount Yamnuska and sat basking in the sun on the shores of the Bow River for a long while, wishing that I had brought my fishing rod along and making a mental note to come back and try my luck on the river someday.

It had been late in the day when I left town and by the time I got to Banff I only had an hour or two of daylight left so I headed up to lake Minnewanka and then Mount Norquay for a look around before settling in to the hotel and a long soak in the hot tub.

Somewhere along the way I decided to give Yoho National Park a try. I think it was actually the hotel brochure that made me realize I had never been to Emerald Lake before, and although I have been to Takakkaw Falls I have never really photographed it.

Dawn’s light would have seen me racing west on the Trans-Canada, had there been any light coming through the heavy layers of overcast clouds that smothered the sunrise. I drove up the winding mountain road to the lake and wandered the shoreline for a little while. It really is a beautiful lake, but I found the effect slightly lessened by the hotel, and it’s residents out jogging around the lakeshore (despite the obscene hour) in bright neon clothes which really frustrated my picture taking. Still it would be worth another stop under better lighting conditions, although I would imagine it gets really crowded in the summer.

Apart from the people staying at the hotel I was the only person out on the road that early and spent a lot of time at the Natural Bridge area on the way back down, as well as chasing a couple of grouse up a tree and stopping in the middle of the road for a couple of wandering Elk.

Eventually I made it to Takakkaw Falls which made me very happy as I’ve been turned backed on a number of other occasions where they close the road for the winter, and I had no idea whether it would be open or not (turns out the road was scheduled to be closed the next day, so I just made it).

I spent a good hour or so crawling around on the rocks at the base of the falls. I had wanted to hike up a little ways, but the spray from the falls had coated all the rocks in a solid sheet of ice. So I had to settle with staying further down on the stream out of range of the spray. Which was probably good because it was plenty cold enough without having to face the falling water.

The weather was getting increasingly worse so I decided to head back a bit early, but couldn’t resist taking the long way up Spray Valley and back down Highway 40 in hopes of finding some wildlife, but apparently all the animals had already gone into hiding, and the drive was pretty uneventful.

Scenic Mount John Laurie Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic Mount John Laurie Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic Mount John Laurie Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic Mount John Laurie Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Banff Townsite in the Rocky Mountains Alberta Canada
Banff Townsite in the Rocky Mountains Alberta Canada
Canoe Dock, Emerald Lake in Autumn, Yoho National Park, BC
Canoe Dock, Emerald Lake in Autumn, Yoho National Park, BC
Canoe Dock, Emerald Lake in Autumn, Yoho National Park, BC
Canoe Dock, Emerald Lake in Autumn, Yoho National Park, BC
Scenic Kicking Horse River, Yoho National Park, BC
Scenic Kicking Horse River, Yoho National Park, BC
Wild juvenile Elk, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Wild juvenile Elk, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Spruce Grouse in Autumn, Yoho National Park
Spruce Grouse in Autumn, Yoho National Park
Takakkaw Falls area Yoho National Park British Columbia Canada
Takakkaw Falls area Yoho National Park British Columbia Canada
Takakkaw Falls area Yoho National Park British Columbia Canada
Takakkaw Falls area Yoho National Park British Columbia Canada
Takakkaw Falls area Yoho National Park British Columbia Canada
Takakkaw Falls area Yoho National Park British Columbia Canada
Scenic Mountain Views Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Autumn at Elbow Lake

Autumn at Elbow Lake

Another beautiful day at Elbow Lake…

A bit of a hike, a couple of fish. What more can I ask for…

I’ll spare you the details as I’ve covered Elbow Lake a few times already…

Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada
Scenic Mountain Views, Elbow Lake area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

 

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Bolton Creek – Camping

Bolton Creek – Camping

We were a bit slow getting out of town and it was mid afternoon by the time we got to the Bolton Creek Campground. The weather was pretty crappy and it was drizzling a little bit so the first thing we did was string a tarp up over the picnic table… Then it rained… and rained… and rained… and we sat for a couple of hours on top of the table under a tarp that leaked like a seive and was too small to cover the benches of the the table, and watched it rain.

Eventually it lessend a little bit and we were able to get the tent and the rest of camp set up before running down to the camp store to buy a new non-leaking much larger tarp.

On the way out of town we had stopped at the grocery store with no particular meal plan, and after a bit of discussion decided that beef stew should be fairly easy in the camp pot, so we bought;

  • one onion
  • two carrots
  • two potatoes
  • one bulb of garlic
  • one pack of stewing beef
  • one bag of mushrooms
  • one carton of Beef Stock

Back at camp we threw it all in the pot over the fire and let it cook nice and slow, realizing a good stew needs to be a bit thicker than just beef stock I toasted up a hot dog bun and crumbled it into the pot. Maybe I was just cold and wet and hungry, but by the time we sat down to eat at about eleven o’clock at night (do to the fact that it took all afternoon to get the fire going in the rain), it was quite possibly the best bowl of stew I’ve ever eaten.

The rest of the trip was entirely uneventful. That being said there is something strangely enjoyable and relaxing to spending an evening with friends while sitting under a tarp in the pouring rain.

Mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Pika at Rawson Lake

Pika at Rawson Lake

Rawson Lake 

  • 8 Kilometres Return
  • 280 Metre Elevation Gain

After my first trip to Rawson Lake back in 2011 (read my previous my more detailed post about the hike here.. http://photoboom.ca/wp/?p=3129), I’ve been wanting to go back for a number of reasons. The first of which was for the pikas. There is a huge talus field running along the south side the lake, and on my previous trip I could hear the high pitched whistles of the small rodents all over the mountain side. Although I know of a couple other places were pikas can be found (there’s a small colony on the way to Elbow Lake), but the one at Rawson Lake is far larger and more populated than most. The pikas are a small animal, and although I’ve been able to get close to some in the past, they are quite small and I was never able to get close enough with my 200 mm lens to satisfy me. So, armed with my 500 mm lens I was looking forward to getting some nice close up shots.

After lugging my heavy lens up to the lake we were not disappointed, they were literally all over place, running back and forth collecting foliage for their winter stores.

The second reason I wanted to go back there was to do some more fishing at such a beautiful mountain lake. That being said I ended up having so much fun photographing the pikas that I never really ended up doing much fishing.

I made two major mistakes on this trip up to the lake. The first was not bringing my tripod, it’s heavy and awkward, and I didn’t want to pack it the 280 metres of elevation up the mountainside to the lake. It would definitely have been worth the effort to bring it as they are fast moving little animals, and with the lake sinking into the shade of the mountain so early the extra stability in low light would have been helpful. The second mistake was to go so late in the day, Mount Sarrail towers so high and close to the west side of the lake that the sun slips behind it so early we didn’t have much time to enjoy the beautiful autumn day.

By the time we got back to the shores of Upper Kananaskis Lake, the sun was finally setting for real, and we were able to catch one of the most impressive mountain sunsets I’ve ever seen. Once again, I was left wishing I had brought my tripod.

Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Pika feeding on grass in a talus field, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Mountain views, Rawson Lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Mountain views, Rawson Lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Mountain sunset over Kananaskis Lake, Alberta Canada
Mountain sunset over Kananaskis Lake, Alberta Canada
Mountain sunset over Kananaskis Lake, Alberta Canada
Mountain sunset over Kananaskis Lake, Alberta Canada
Mountain sunset over Kananaskis Lake, Alberta Canada
Mountain sunset over Kananaskis Lake, Alberta Canada

 

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Bolton Creek Kananaskis – Camping

Bolton Creek Kananaskis – Camping

I headed out early to Kananaskis country to take pictures, and had after a run-in with a Ruffed grouse and a couple of deer, on the Jumpingpound road (Hwy 68?) I headed up along the #40 to the lakes and shooting pictures along the way. Eventually the weather turned and it clouded up and started to drizzle. So I thought I would stop by Bolton Creek Campground where my sister was camping with a couple of friends. I ended up staying the night (there are benefits to keeping all of your camp gear in the trunk of your car).

I woke the next morning to the sound of rain, which cleared up shortly after, so we decided we’d go for a quick hike, and headed out for the Mt. Everest Expedition Trail, which is basically just a 2 kilometer walk to a lookout point over Kananaskis Lakes.

I also spent a bit of time wandering and photographing the shoreline of the lakes and assessing the damage caused by the recent floods . Then after packing up camp I decided I might was well take the long route back down spray lakes trail, where I spotted a Great Blue Heron out on the lake standing on a old rotten tree stump a few metres from shore.

 

White-tailed deer in tall summer grass, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
White-tailed deer in tall summer grass, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Ruffed Grouse on a roadside in the foothills, Alberta Canada
Ruffed Grouse on a roadside in the foothills, Alberta Canada
Scenic mountain pond, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain pond, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain views, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Scenic mountain lake, Kananaskis Country Alberta, Canada
Great Blue Heron wading in a mountain pond, Alberta Canada
Great Blue Heron on a old tree stump, Spray Lakes, Alberta Canada

 

 

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Frank Lake

Frank Lake

Another evening out at Frank Lake…

I had my first experience with the Common Tern, and they may be one of my new favourite birds, I think I could spend hours watching them hover over the water searching for fish and diving down with a splash to catch them in their beaks.

While the Tern’s didn’t stay around very long there were ample other birds to watch and photograph, including the horrendously ugly baby Coots, and the tiny little Eared Grebe chicks riding around on their mothers backs. For the fist time that I’ve been to Frank Lake the light was better than just mediocre, and by the time the golden hour hit, it was just about the perfect way to spend a summers evening on the prairies.
[portfolio_slideshow id=5015]

Common Tern hovering in flight over a prairie lake
Common Tern hovering in flight over a prairie lake
Gravel backroad through Alberta Farmland at sunset
Gravel backroad through Alberta Farmland at sunset
Black-necked Stilt wading on the shores of a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Black-necked Stilt wading on the shores of a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
American Avocet Alberta Canada
American Avocet Alberta Canada
Common Tern hovering in flight over a prairie lake
Common Tern hovering in flight over a prairie lake
Black-necked Stilt wading on the shores of a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Black-necked Stilt wading on the shores of a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
American White Pelican on a prairie pond Alberta Canada
American White Pelican on a prairie pond Alberta Canada
Common Tern hovering in flight over a prairie lake
Common Tern hovering in flight over a prairie lake
Alberta farmland under stormy skies at sunset
Alberta farmland under stormy skies at sunset
Brewer's Blackbird on a Barbed wire fence post, Alberta Canada
Brewer’s Blackbird on a Barbed wire fence post, Alberta Canada
Juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird on a country road, Alberta Canada
Juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird on a country road, Alberta Canada
Marbled Godwit feeding on the shores of a prairie wetland, Alberta Canada
Marbled Godwit feeding on the shores of a prairie wetland, Alberta Canada
Wilson's Phalarope feeding on a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Wilson’s Phalarope feeding on a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
American Coot feeding young chicks on a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
American Coot feeding young chicks on a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Ruddy Duck swimming in a prairie pond, Alberta, Canada
Ruddy Duck swimming in a prairie pond, Alberta, Canada
American Coot (Fulica americana)
American Coot (Fulica americana)
Barn Swallow Perched on a sign, Alberta Canada
Barn Swallow Perched on a sign, Alberta Canada
Eared Grebe with young on a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Eared Grebe with young on a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Western Grebe swimming in a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Western Grebe swimming in a prairie lake, Alberta Canada
Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

(Pictures are in reverse orders… and it’s far to much of a hassle to rearrange them)

I took a trip down across the border to Glacier National Park in Montana to go camping for the weekend. My original plan was to stay at Many Glaciers, but after a three hour wait at the border, by the time I got there the only site still available backed onto the parking lot for a hotel or grocery store or something like that, so I decided to continued on to glacier. After driving over Logan’s Pass I ended up at Avalanche Campground which turned out to be a really neat area. The campground is in a area of rainforest right next to a grove of large cedars with a boardwalk hiking trail where I spent my first evening wandering around the river and forest (see map below).

I got up stupidly early the next morning and drove back up to the top of the pass in hopes of shooting some pictures. As beautiful as Going to the Sun road is it’s not very photogenic from the road, especially in the early morning when sun hasn’t made it up above the mountains and half the range is still in shadow. I almost hit a Mountain Goat with my car coming around one of the really tight corners near the top of the pass, and was able to snap a picture of it on the way day but with its winter fur still being shed it wasn’t a very pretty one.

After failing to get any good pictures up on the pass I thought I would try going the other direction. I ended up doing a lot of driving allover the place following the river out of the park and doing my best to get lost on some terrible gravel roads. I had been told by someone that there was a lot of wildlife in the park, which was my main reason for going down there, but other than the goat on the pass and a Snowshoe Hare in a parking lot I didn’t see a single thing.

Eventually I made it back to camp and feeling a bit defeated decided I had enough driving for the day. The campground I was staying at was also the trailhead for a hike to Avalanche Lake so I thought I would give it a try.

The hike up to the lake was a really nice change from all of the time I had spent in the car over the last couple of days.

The hike is a basic forest trail climbing steadily over the 4 kilometres and gaining about 200 metres in elevation to the mountain lake. The lake was quite beautiful and I was really wishing I had my fishing rod with me as the fish were jumping and surface feeding all over the lake. I didn’t get to stay at the lake nearly as long as I would have liked, but it was evening when I started, and completely dark by the time I got back.

On the way back I decided to go through Waterton in hopes of seeing some wildlife. I was not disappointed. Within a kilometre or two  of crossing the border back into Canada I spotted a moose but didn’t have time to grab my camera, a couple kilometres after that a grizzly crossed the road in front of me, but was gone by the time I got there.

A bit further on I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye and pulled over to have a look. I spent a good ten minutes sitting in my car catching occasional glimpses of movement before I finally figured out what I was seeing. It was huge funny looking bird out in the tall grass, my first Sandhill Crane. Once I figured out it wasn’t a bear I climbed out of the car and went stalking through the grass and bushes to try and get a picture of it. It turned out there was actually two of them, and they move fast, seaming to disappear completely in one place and popping up in another a few moments later. I only manage to get one or two clear shots, but the sighting was enough to make me feel better about the previous lack of wildlife.

Once in the main part of Waterton I drove the Red Rock Canyon Parkway and spent ten minutes watching a cinnamon coloured black bear at a distance, then checked the flats looking for Elk but didn’t spot any. Leaving Waterton I opted for the slower route home through Glenwood so that I could make a quick stop at the windmill farms.

 

Windfarm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Wind farm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Windfarm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Wind farm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Windfarm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Wind farm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Windfarm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Wind farm in the scenic prairies, Alberta Canada
Farm country in the foothills of the rocky mountains, Alberta Canada
Farm country in the foothills of the rocky mountains, Alberta Canada
Farm country in the foothills of the rocky mountains, Alberta Canada
Farm country in the foothills of the rocky mountains, Alberta Canada
Wild black bear, Waterton National Park, AB.
Wild black bear, Waterton National Park, AB.
Wild Sandhill Crane, Waterton National Park, Alberta Canada
Wild Sandhill Crane, Waterton National Park, Alberta Canada
Chief Mountain
Chief Mountain
Scenic mountain views, Many Glaciers National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Many Glaciers National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Many Glaciers National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Many Glaciers National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park Montana USA

 

Hike to Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

  • Distance – Return (with some walking along the lakeshore) – 8.1 km
  • Elevation Gain – 227 metres

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Snowshoe Hare in summer colours feeding on grass
Snowshoe Hare in summer colours feeding on grass
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Mountain goat, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Mountain goat, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenicriver views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic river views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA
Scenic mountain views, Glacier National Park Montana USA

Rainforest Boardwalk, Glacier National Park, Montana

[map style=”width: auto; height:400px; margin:20px 0px 20px 0px; border: 1px solid black;” gpx=”http://photoboom.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/Rainforest Boardwalk, Glacier N.P. Montana – 06_28_13.gpx”]

 

Random Driving Tour around Glacier National Park and Home to Calgary

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Sibbald Meadows – Heron and Osprey

Sibbald Meadows – Heron and Osprey

I spent the afternoon fishing and chasing birds around at Sibbald Meadows pond…. (that’s really about all there is to say about that).

Great Blue Heron in flight over a mountain pond, Alberta Canada
Great Blue Heron in flight over a mountain pond, Alberta Canada
Great Blue Heron perched in a pine tree over a mountain pond, Alberta Canada
Great Blue Heron perched in a pine tree over a mountain pond, Alberta Canada
Great Blue Heron wading in a mountain pond, Alberta Canada
Great Blue Heron wading in a mountain pond, Alberta Canada
Wild Osprey perched in a pine tree, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Osprey perched in a pine tree, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Osprey perched in a pine tree, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
Wild Osprey perched in a pine tree, Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada
McKinnon Lake

McKinnon Lake

Headed out to McKinnon Flats southeast of Calgary to do some fishing on the Bow river. On the way there I made a quick stop off at the lake (which doesn’t appear to have a name so I call it McKinnon Lake) that is a little bit down the road and across Highway 22 from the turnoff to the flats.

Although I didn’t find anything especially exciting, the usual suspects (yellow-headed, and red-winged blackbirds) were out in full force and I was able to get a few worthwhile shots.

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)
Black-billed Magpie  on a fence post
Black-billed Magpie on a fence post
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
Frank Lake

Frank Lake

I spent another great afternoon out at Frank Lake photographing birds…

The Black-Crowned Night Herons and Western Grebes were the definite highlights of the day.

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) American Avocets

Swans

Swans

There is a pond on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway just before the Jumping-pound exit, that for whatever reason draws a group of Trumpeter Swans every spring. While most of the time I’m speeding by on the highway and just get a glimpse of them, today I thought I should take the time to try and get some photos.

To put it bluntly, it was so cold and windy that I could hardly hold the camera still, the light was terrible, the Swans were filthy, and they swam off to the far side of the pond as soon as I pulled up.

Not my best photo stop, but at least I tried, and well there’s always next year.

Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator)
Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator)
Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator)
Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator)
Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator)
Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator)
Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator)
Trumpeter Swans