Somewhat limited mobility

18 May 2013

Flooding has started in some places in the province. Although some do not believe the flooding is going to be a big problem. Whoever you will want to believe (experience counts more for me than papers…) the La Salle river is going over the banks.

Flooded

It also goes over bridges and bird houses. Last week I decided to go to one of the parks slightly outside the city and was greeted with this sign. Usually you can still go somewhere once you have royally ignored it, but this time it was for real.

I left the car on the road, there were no other cars going to pass anyway. I got a little closer to the water and saw some birds that I had never seen alive before. Now I’m not going to write about birds all the time, I would start to look like a biologist. Some people in my life can attest that being a biologist is not in my line. I just enjoy shooting birds with whatever lens I have handy.

Belted KingfisherBelted Kingfisher

When I got close to the water, a bird flew up and settled on the other side of the flooded bridge on the power line. This turned out to be a new bird for me, a Belted Kingfisher. I only had seen one like this in pictures in my bird book. For once it was an easy ID for a bird.

WoodpeckerWoodpecker

The only other bird I could spot here was this fat Woodpecker, looking for insects caught in sap from the trees. My idea is that sap is not yet running much, and the poor bird is desperate to find insects anywhere, even in old logs.

FloodedFlooded

This little bird house is supposed to be at least 10 feet above the waterline. At least in normal times. As you can see, these are not normal times on the La Salle river. After having spent some time shooting the wind and empty branches, I decided it was time to go to a more bird-sure place. Fort Whyte Alive is always guaranteed to show something interesting.

Canada Goose with eggsCanada Goose with eggs

Arrived in FWA, the first thing you notice are the Canadian Geese. While many of them are still fighting or battling for their females, some of them have already done their job for this year. More Canadian Fluff balls are underway. This goose was sitting on her nest on a small island where nobody can come. Nice and quiet. But, to be honest, Canadian Geese start to bore me a bit, there are too many of them around, they are too noisy to be ignored. If you get too close to them they might even nip you in the fluffy parts as well. Not that I don’t like them, I do. But well… a little less. So I went to places where the geese don’t like to nest.

Common LoonCommon Loon

In FWA there are land tongues between the lakes. Those land tongues are wet, muddy and not really welcoming for geese. Ideal to take a look and see what else FWA has to offer. I was not disappointed. My first encounter with the animal we all have on our one-dollar coin: the Loon. Thanks to my decently long lens of 300mm, I could get close enough to them to get this picture of a pair of loons, Common Loons, found over all of Canada.

Horned GrebeHorned Grebe

The Horned Grebe is now also present at Fort Whyte. And just as skittish as the others I found elsewhere. As soon as I showed myself, they started to swim away. The above one was surprised to see me, it had just come up from a long dive and had no idea there was a big angry photographer waiting for him. I am still amazed by their bright red eyes…

Painted TurtlesPainted Turtles

But FWA also has other animals we often overlook. We are all collectors of birds, we often forget others are there too. And what’s even more interesting, they are way easier to photograph. They don’t fly away, make no noise and love to take a sun-bath. These Painted Turtles were soaking up the rays of the sun to get warm again after a whole winter under the ice and snow.

Prairie DogPrairie Dog

Inside Fort Whyte, the Prairie Dogs are also making the best of this time of the year. While I do have a few shots of the little ones, this one was more interesting, trying to scare that big photographer. It didn’t work, I took his picture instead. But a Nice Try anyway Smile.

As you can see, more and more animals are coming back to Spring/Summer Canada. Mobility may be limited by flooded riverbanks, but all in all there remains lots to be seen.

I’ll be back again with more… until next time…