Saturday Snapshot July 13: Where are they now?

** You’re most welcome to browse and throw in your two pebbles, make some ripples or make a splash. But PLEASE DO NOT REBLOG OR COPY **

***

A few weeks before the worst flooding in our City’s history, I saw these baby Mergansers having a great time by the Bow River with their Mom. Where were they when the flood came? And where are they now?

Here, let me get closer for you to hear what they were saying that one fine day…

“Ok, our goggles on, we’re ready.”

Ok guys, got your goggles on?“Let’s get going.”

Let's get going“Hey you with the camera… what are you looking at? Don’t you know she’s a tough act to follow?”

Hey you with the camera, what are you looking at“Ok kids, do as I do. I dive, you dive.”

Mom's a hard act to follow“I skim, you skim.”

I skim, you skimHope they’re still skimming and diving in some clear, calm water.

**

The following photo was taken just a few days ago. Somebody had the good sense to lighten up in the aftermath of the disaster. I shot this looking down from a high bridge onto the muddy bank of the Elbow River . At first I had trouble spotting exactly what we were supposed to be happy about. But later, my heart lifted as I silently thanked the anonymous rock gatherer(s). Yes, to all:

HAPPY SUMMER!

HAPPY SUMMER

And the well wishes extend to all those Down Under as well… a safe and happy winter!

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

RELATED POSTS:

Saturday Snapshot July 6: After the Flood

Saturday Snapshot June 22: The Two Faces of a River

***

Saturday Snapshot July 6: After the Flood

** You’re most welcome to browse and throw in your two pebbles, make some ripples or make a splash. But PLEASE DO NOT REBLOG OR COPY **

**

What happened to the birds during the flood, I can’t say. But after the most serious flooding had passed, these were some of the sights.

Downtown view one day after the heaviest rain:

Downtown View 1 day after

The Glenmore Reservoir, two days after. Yes, that’s where our drinking water comes from. The heavy silts in the water made a peculiar sunset scene. You can see the muddy water in the foreground:

Muddy Sunset over Glenmore Reservoir

Due to flooding, the Weaselhead Natural Area was closed for some time. Two weeks after, I went to survey the aftermath:

Weaselhead Natural Area- Debris & Mud

From the mud on this bench, you can see how high the water came up to:

BenchAmong the rubbles of dead trees and debris, what I found amazed me. Do you see what I see? Look, right in the middle:

Do u c what i c?

Not just one or two, but half a dozen Cedar Waxwings frolicking among the ruins:

Cedar Waxwings frolicking

Absolute serenity:

Serene stance

Cedar WaxwingA closer look at the beautiful silky plumage:

Silky WaxwingNot just the Waxwings, hoards of Cliff Swallows joined in the natural chorus. But they were too fast for me to capture on camera. I could manage just a few shots. In most of the photos they came out too small and blurry:

Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow 1

Lots of Wild Roses among muddy leaves. See the bud?

See the bud?

Berries too, red defying brown:

Little red spots

And this little guy came out to greet me on the flood-swept path now dried:

Squirrel

As I was leaving the area, a Small Blue butterfly ensured me…

ButterflyLife goes on.

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

***

Saturday Snapshot June 22: The Two Faces of a River

Household items, children’s toys, swing sets, and the roof of a house should not be flowing down a river. And yet they did. It was painful to watch, even just from a TV screen. You probably have heard about it on social media and in the news, the unprecedented flooding of Southern Alberta, and right here in the City of Calgary.

Record rainfall downstream from the Mountains gathered forces into torrents so fast and furious that caught many off guard. In just a matter of hours, 26 communities in the City had to evacuate, that’s 100,000 people leaving their homes, some had to be rescued by emergency responders in boats. In other towns, many had to be plucked from the rooftop by helicopters.

No I don’t have snapshots of the devastation. Yesterday, I was tense but relieved I didn’t have to evacuate. I was in no mood to head out and snap photos, however rare and newsworthy they could have been. I didn’t want to add any more sensationalism to a dire reality.

The two faces of our rivers. I’ve been birding close to The Bow all this time, knowing it is the lifeline, home and playground for many species of shorebirds. But yesterday, I saw its ferocious side.

For my Saturday Snapshot, I’d like to remember its calm and peaceful face. These photos were taken three weeks ago by The Bow River.

Baby Mergansers’ Day Out with Mom:

Mother Mergenser & Babies

Mom Merganser and Babies

Babies day out

This Canada Goose family had also come out in that beautiful afternoon:

Family Time 1

Canada Geese outing

This is the face of the river I like to remember:

The Calm Face of The Bow

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

***

Saturday Snapshot June 15: West Coast Birding

Spent a few days in the Metro Vancouver area last week. Didn’t see a lot of variety of shorebirds, but just catching sight of some Great Blue Herons was gratifying enough.

About half a dozen of them, far from where I was standing. They were peaceful and enjoying themselves until a Bald Eagle headed towards them, in a not-too-friendly manner. What was he thinking? He was alone and there were half a dozen Herons. An altercation soon followed, I could only hear the battle cries from afar but couldn’t snap the photos quick enough. But I can tell you, the Bald Eagle had to fly away subdued.

Here’s the approach. Whatever happened next you’re free to imagine:

Bald Eagle approaching Great Blue HeronsAnother time I got the chance to see a solitary Great Blue Heron up close and personal. It was a mesmerizing moment:

Great Blue HeronTakes flight:

GBH takes flight… landing:

GBH landingAnother day at dusk, above a pond were Swallows mingling in the evening sky. They were flying so swiftly that I could hardly capture them on camera. But after I uploaded the photos, this is what I saw… looks like another mid-air altercation. But since they are of the same species, shall I say this time, a little domestic dispute? Or perhaps just friendly frolicking…

Swallows mid-air disputeHere’s a more serene Canada Geese family outing, a quiet evening swim before bed:

Quiet evening swimDay is done:

Day is done

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

***

More Herons photos here:

Sign of Spring: Nesting

***

Spring Babies and Parenting Styles

I’ve been following this Great Horned Owl family for a few months now. At first I only spotted Papa, later I found Mama nesting nearby, now the two Owlets had come out too. Here’s my recent visit, the first Owlet I saw:

Owlet 1

Here’s the second one. Took me some time to spot:

Owlet 2

I didn’t have the chance to take a family photo, since each of them was on different branches, two adults and two young ones, but never far from each other though. Here you can see one parent (not sure if it’s Mom or Dad) keeping an eye on the owlet from a distance. Can you spot them both?

Parent Owl and Owlet

I love this… staying together, but also giving each other room.

**

Here’s a family photo I did manage to take, albeit from afar. Two Canada Geese with their Goslings close by:

Canada Geese with Goslings

Ah… the different parenting styles.

**

Saturday Snapshot is hosted on a new site now: Melinda of West Metro Mommy. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

**

Related Posts on the Great Horned Owl Family:

Saturday Snapshot March 9: The Great Horned Owl

Sign of Spring: Nesting

***

A Long Farewell to Winter

It got up to 27C (80F) today, almost a record high. Looks like we’ve skipped spring and bounced right to summer.

In a previous post, I mentioned I missed snow for some reasons. Seeing the remnants of winter fade away gave me a sense of loss. Many of you responded with disbelief. Why would I miss snow? I couldn’t say why either. But just two days ago, I went birding at our local lake (reservoir) and saw these sights. Again, my sentiment was confirmed.

Ice melting in the water. Birds congregated. Open nature welcoming a change in the season, or, was it lingering a bit more in the passing moment? Part of this photo has now become my new Header picture on Ripple Effects:

Melting Ice on Glenmore Reservoir

Seems like these Mallards wanted to hang out a bit longer among the shimmering ice. When the ice all disappear, the water will lose a bit of glitz and glamour:

Shimmering ice

The distant Rocky Mountains are evidence of the glory of snow… a beauty that is appreciated more from afar.

The Snowy Rockies

However, what made my day was another first. Since I started birding last September, there had been many ‘firsts’.  Yes, the Pheasant was a pleasant surprise for a life-long city dweller, but it was seeing my first Loon up close that made it personal for me:

Loon

And hearing its call… simply mesmerizing. Couldn’t capture it here in the photo, except the serene, solitary existence:

Loon 1

Loon 3

With the sighting of the first Loon in spring water, I’ll say farewell to snow and ice, willingly. If I want to see snow, I know where to go… my photo files.

***

All photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2013. Do not copy or reblog without permission.

***

Sign of Spring: Melting Snow

These are photos for Saturday Snapshot April 27.

Snow has mostly melted now, but there are still remnants of winter. Strangely, I feel a sense of loss. That’s why I treasure these photos, chronicling the fading of another season.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in our City a couple of weeks ago…

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary 1

It was a pleasure to watch this pair of Mergansers enjoy themselves in the icy water. For me, I was in full winter gear… down jacket, toque and gloves:

Male & Female Common Mergansers

They were beautiful to look at. Seems like you can tell right away which is male and female:

Female and Male Mergansers

A few days later, in another part of the City I captured the last scenes of winter:

Melting snow

Finally this one, I just can’t resist naming it: “Doolittle Reflection”. It reminds me of Bev Doolittle’s paintings, Click Here and see what you think.

Doolittle Reflection

Snow… why am I missing it?

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.

Sign of Spring: Nesting

Here are my photos for Saturday Snapshot April 20.

Spring is always a slow emergence for us. There’s still snow on some trails, and no green leaves or flowers for another month. But a sure sign of spring is birds nesting.

Canada Geese scouting for nesting spots and guarding them closely:

Guarding the nest

And here’s one well nestled inside a tree:

Canada Goose inside tree

This one just wants to show off as spring spirit unfurls.

Showing off

Remember the Papa Great Horned Owl I spotted a month ago? Just last week I saw Mama Owl nesting in the cavity of a dead tree, poking out just enough for me to take her picture. Other birdwatchers told me there were several young ones. Hopefully soon I’ll get to see them come out.

Owl nesting

But nothing compares to the utter joy of seeing the Great Blue Herons yesterday. I had never thought I would see them right here in Alberta. But I found them following some directions to their nests, had to watch them from afar though as we were separated by The Bow River:

Great Blue Heron nests from afar

About a dozen nests high up on the trees:

Great Blue Heron Nests

My patience paid off as I waited and finally saw the Herons come out of their nests. Just to stretch their legs:

Great Blue Heron Flying

Just stretching

Just stretching the legs

Again, from afar, they were black against the pale blue sky, too far for me to see clearly. Not until after I uploaded onto my computer and cropped them could I see a bit of their details. They look magical, albeit still blurry.

And yes, they are blue:

Pale blue

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. Click Here to see what others have posted.

***

Saturday Snapshot April 13: Bohemian Waxwings in Flight, Defying Grey

I had the chance to see the elusive Bohemian Waxwings converge in the past weeks. Now they are gone. From afar, they may evoke images from a Hitchcock movie:

Flocks of Bohemian Waxwings

But just a closer look would change your view… Avian Cirque du Soleil, acrobats of the sky:

Avian Cirque du soleil

Or… flight aesthetics, mesmerizing to behold:

Avian Aesthetics

I would have wanted a clear blue sky. But the grey offers a deeper fascination. These energetic Waxwings seem to defy the overcast dreariness, exuding a spirit and an aesthetics that colour cannot bring.

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.

All photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, 2013. All Rights Reserved.
I regret the obtrusive watermarks. I could well have positioned them down in a corner to enhance aesthetics. But practicality took over… hopefully they are deterrents of copying.

***

Saturday Snapshot March 23: Bohemian Waxwings

I came looking for them… Bohemian Waxwings, nomadic passerines, and I wasn’t disappointed. From a distance, I could hear their calls even before seeing them, buzzing, chirping, echoing, convivial. Flocks of them, maybe even a couple hundreds.

From a distance, I could see them congregate on tree tops, the sight could not match the sound. If not with intention, one could well dismiss them from afar, those ‘blackbirds’ on the trees, common sight, right?

Flocks of birds

But no. A closer look could tell they’re not ordinary at all. Their pose is elegant. And they’re not blackbirds. Here’s just a small corner of a tree, reminiscence of images on quilts and tapestry:

Image for quilts and tapestry

And a little more up close, one could sense their gregarious and convivial nature:

Convivial

Not until I went home, uploaded and cropped the photos could I see their silky plumage, fine and translucent, their pointed crest, the colourful markings on the wings, the yellow-tipped tails:

Bohemian Waxwings

Waxwing

Because of their nomadic nature, they can be here today, gone tomorrow. No wonder… they’re one of the birds included in the bucket list book: 100 Birds to See Before You Die. 

1 down, 99 to go…

***

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.