Year end review

It has been a while since I added to my story.   My adventures have been fewer this year due to a new position with Cochrane Tourism!  I did have some amazing adventures, so thought I would share a review of the year and the amazing nature I was able to capture!

It was a good year for owls – Great Grays, Great Horned, Snowy:

Lots of eagles – including three eaglets this year that all survived and grew up so fast:

Hawks were abundant, this one being my favorite:

Ospreys as usual, so many great pictures this year, with these 2 top picks:

Top pick for songbirds include:

We had a new fawn in the backyard again this year:

Favorite captures with antlers/horns:

The Alberta wild horses:

A few other favorite birds from this year:

And my favorite baby shot of the year:

Goosling peeking during nap time wm

I hope you enjoy the review!  Looking forward to capturing more amazing nature in my backyard in 2019!

Lucky last stop…

Over the Christmas  holidays, the weather was frigid, but we had a guest who needed to see the Rockies!  We were on the look out for animals,  but no owls to the west, no elk at Two Jacks and everyone was getting hungry.   I said, one more stop…there is usually a herd of Big Horns near Norquay…and they didn’t disappoint.   It was a big herd and the first time I saw several males with the herd….Male Big Horns Norquay cropped wmThis big male was busy checking out the females…very focused….Focus BHS Norquay wm

The light was amazing and although it was freezing, I was memorized by the activities happening in front of my eyes!   Digging for food…Male BH good spot Norquay cropped wmwatching each others backs….Herd at Norquay cropped wmplaying in the snow (at least that what it looked like as this youngster bounded down the hill)…Playing in the snow BHS Norquay cropped wmpondering where the best spot to find good food…Pondering BHS cropped wmSo happy the last stop was a lucky one!

 

Highlights of the Fall

Happy New Year!  It has been awhile since my last adventure story…sad to say, I have not had any time to post due to a very busy fall schedule.  I thought I would combine some of my favorites to share the highlights of the past season…

bees, butterflies and dragonflies…

…the last few hawks of the season…Hawk in flight north of Airdrie cropped wmHawk near WG ranch 2 cropped wm…a fall trip to Kananaskis, filled with beautiful colors and a herd of big horn…

…a hike to Troll Falls to see the waterfalls change with the season and…

…a Spruce Grouse trying to stay camouflaged in the trees…

…birds of course…

…and the last of the greens to a carry us through until spring…Mount Kidd glowing in the sun wmLooking forward to many new adventures in 2018!

Humor in the herd…

I was out with a friend on a tour of the Rockies a few weeks ago and we came across a herd of Big Horn Sheep on the way up to Norquay.  I was with this same friend this week and she helped me with a little perspective….which was the inspiration for this blog! When I was processing the photos from this outing…I was a originally disappointed…no “money shots” as they talk about in wildlife photography…

…but after looking at the photos in a different way…I found some great humor in the adventure…

Bottoms up cropped wm

Bottoms up!!

Big Horn sheep lamb hairstyle cropped wm

Hey dude…check out my “rad” hairstyle!!

Big Horn sheep lamb hairstyle cropped 2 wm

Big Horn ewe sticking out her tongue cropped wm

Na-nana-naa-nah!

The perspective my friend provided was….

“Give yourself permission to get out of your busy mind and allow yourself to have some fun!!”

Sending out a big shout out and thanks to my friend…just what I needed!  Hope you enjoy the humor!!

Kananaskis country tour…

We had an amazing day on the camera club outing!  Many in the club had never hiked Grassi Lakes.  If you have never been…it is an amazing place to check out!

After the hike we started up the Smith – Dorrien Trail and before we even left the Grassi area we spotted a Big Horn Sheep with her lamb on the cliff side of the road…Big horn baby on rock ledge Grassi Lake cropped wmBig horn baby on sure footed rock ledge Grassi Lake cropped wmMom jumped the fence and climbed the cliff on the opposite side of the road…calling and coaxing her lamb to follow…Big Horn mom on rock wall waiting for baby cropped wmIt took some work as the little one couldn’t make it over the fence…but eventually figured it out and scampered across the rock face with amazing agility and speed!Big horn baby jumping across rock wall at Grassi cropped wmBig horn baby jumping over rocks Grassi cropped wm - CopyThe Smith Dorrien has some amazing spots for landscape photography…I was testing out the panorama function on my phone…not bad for a cell!Spray Lakes Panarama wmWe didn’t see much for wildlife on the trail but the scenery was incredible.   After lunch we decided we would head up to the Highwood Pass before heading home.  It was a great decision as we spotted a grizzly feasting on dandelions!

My favorite picture of the day…Grizzly Highway 40 with dandilion bouquet cropped wmWe made it to the Highwood Pass and it started to snow…always be prepared in the mountains…so it was time to head home…Highwood Pass cropped wm

My camera club friends inspired me to capture some of the amazing wild flowers on our journey!  Another great photography adventure!!

Kananaskis Loop Adventure

It was such a beautiful weekend, we needed to get outdoors to enjoy it!  Highway 40 south off the Trans Canada, is am amazing drive that ends at Longview.  The 160 km drive is always an adventure!  There are many places to stop along the way for a picnic, hike or just to take in the amazing views of the Rocky Mountains.    kananaskis-lakes-turnoff-view

Just a note…this highway closes a at the Kananaskis Lakes turnoff from December 1st to June 15th each year.  There are 2 reasons for the closure, first – it is a winding road and can be quite treacherous in bad weather and secondly, it gives our wildlife neighbors some quiet time in their natural environment.

 

At the Kananaskis Lakes Turnoff, this guy was on the side of the road taking a drink!big-horn-taking-a-drink-wm

He had a look up at the few of  us that stopped to take in the moment of his majestic presence and then he turned and ran off into the meadow. More photos in the Gallery.

big-horn-staredown-wm

A few weeks ago, we took a drive to Upper Kananaskis Lakes.  On our way home, we stopped at the Peter Lougheed Discovery & Information Centre.  If you have never been here, it is worth the trip!    The Centre has a sitting area with floor to ceiling windows that looks out over a meadow lined with forest.  You will often see Grizzly’s digging in the meadow for food.  The day we stopped, the Centre was closed (so make sure you check the website for hours before you go).   The parking lot was posted letting us know there was bear activity in the area … and as we drove around the parking lot to exit we spotted a Grizzly mother and her cub digging for roots in the meadow.  This  photo was from the parking lot, through the trees and out the sunroof of the car…a safe distance with a large zoom lens!!

grizzly-at-peter-lougheed

Back to the current trip… the sun was shining and the mountains were beaming!  You really do need to pay attention if you are the driver as the scenery can be quite distracting. We are so fortunate to have this amazing place in our backyard.   We drove up through Highwood Pass, the temperature dropped 10 degrees and there was snow everywhere. I can see why this road gets closed for the winter.  Coming down  the other side,  we had to stop for a herd of Bighorn sheep crossing the road.

big-horn-herd-wm

big-horn-baby-snacking-wm

 

Another great day of adventures … capturing Nature in my Backyard!  More photos in the Gallery.