A Summer Walk

One of my favourite poems is William Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud. Here’s the first stanza:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Last week, that’s what I did. I followed a trail I seldom took and let it lead me to serendipity, like sighting this bald eagle. I didn’t see any daffodils, but lots of wildflowers which I couldn’t name.

Many, many summers ago, I was pondering about which subject to major in for university. Botany came to mind, for I was fond of plants. At the end, I decided on studying humans instead, hence, remaining illiterate when it comes to flora of all kinds, especially their technical terms. I must say, though, as you may well know, humans are much harder to decipher. Knowing names is the easiest part.

Here are some of the wildflowers I saw. If you can help me name them, so much the better. But let’s start off with this one which I know, and that’s our Provincial Flower: The Wild Rose.


Are these some kind of wild daisies?


Love the colour of these delicate blue petals:


A kind of Goldenrod?


Fuchsia isn’t a favourite colour of mine, but it looks stunning for flowers. This one particularly stands out, for it’s almost 6 ft. high:


I’d to stretch my hands way up to take this closeup:

A similar kind that’s a bright bluish purple. I caught it just when an insect was heading straight to it:


That’s when I realized, surely, for me these might be objects of natural beauty, for many, they are food and sustenance. Like these bees feeding on nectar:


And of course, berries for the birds:

I’ll let Wordsworth have the last word. Just replace daffodils with any of the above…

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

________________

Try it, dancing on the couch.

The Colour of Summer

To be technically accurate, here are some photos I took after June 21. Not that I’m partial to the colour yellow, but that’s mostly the colour of our summer woods, greenish yellow.

The Colour of Summer.jpg

 

Sometimes you can see dots of pink, the Alberta wild rose:

Alberta Wild Rose.jpg

or tiny red fruits:

Summer fruits.jpg

Golden cattails by the water before they ripen into brown candlesticks:

Cattail.jpg

The Pond in summer is quiet. In contrast, the woods host a cacophony of songs and calls, like the tuning of strings and woodwinds before a symphony concert, albeit finding the actual sources is difficult, let alone taking photographs of them. The blurry pics just show how hard it is to find them staying still in the clearing for more than 2 seconds.

Migratory songbirds too are mostly yellow here, like this Wilson’s Warbler with his black cap. You might be surprised, but we don’t have any red birds like the Cardinals:

Wilson's Warbler.jpg

The Baltimore Oriole:

The Baltimore Oriole.jpg

The American Goldfinch:

blurry Goldfinch.jpg

In the tree, there’s a tiny spot of silvery blue… the Tree Swallow waiting for lunchtime:

Tree Swallow.jpg

Some can’t wait, like this hungry Robin:

The Hungry Robin.jpg

or this Yellow Warbler. Whatever’s in your mouth, mosquito or fly, I’ve to say, ‘Thank you for eating!’

Hungry Yellow Warbler.jpg

The Hungry Warbler.jpg

What colour is your Summer?

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Golden Fall

Two years ago around this time, I drove across four New England states searching for fall foliage. Red was the colour I was looking for. It may surprise you, we don’t have red here in Alberta, no real Maples here. We might have some red from certain trees or shrubs, but not on a large scale as in Eastern Canada.

But what we have is gold, different shades of gold. Red can make the landscape more adorable, but gold is purity. Here’s the scenery in the past two days by the Bow River in my usual birding sites:

The Bow

Trees by the Bow

Trees 2

The scenes of a golden fall near the Pond, where layers of autumn foliage and evergreens make up the ripples of a boreal forest:

Golden fall

Golden.jpg

Golden 1

Golden 6.jpg

Golden 7.jpg

Even the path under my feet is golden:

Golden Path.jpg

I know, nothing gold can stay. Even as I type, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect. We’ll have snow overnight, and “Hazardous winter conditions are expected”.  So when this post is up on Monday, all the gold will likely be white, which makes these photos all the more precious. They could be the last of the fall memories of 2017.

But then again, if we can have winter in the fall, we can have summer in December. At least, that’s what I’m dreaming of…

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Related Posts on Ripple:

My New England Road Trip Starts Here

 

The Last Days of Summer

It has been noted that the drive from Lake Louise in Banff National Park up the Icefields Parkway north to Jasper National Park is the most beautiful drive in the world. I spend a couple of our remaining summer days driving that scenic route and immerse in the other-worldly environs of pristine Jasper National Park.

The cold rain and wet snow in sections of the road remind me that, yes, autumn is at hand. But once I reach the boundary of Jasper National Park, I throw away any seasonal distinction. Wether it’s summer or autumn is immaterial. What’s captivating is the present. Here are some glorious sights of Jasper National Park.

The mysterious, clouds shrouded Medicine Lake in the morning light:

Clourds Shrouded Medicine Lake.jpg

Hurricanes hit Texas and Florida, here we’ve been affected by the wild fires from B.C. all summer. At the shore of Medicine Lake I feel the effects:

Wild Fire effect

But the natural beauty remains. The charred remnants of trees along the edge of the lake would become rich organic matter spurring new growths.

burned trees.jpg

A short 30 mins. drive from Medicine Lake is the picturesque Maligne Lake, serene and reflective:

DSC_0116.jpg

For those who must do something to seize the moment, there are canoes for rent and scenic cruises:

DSC_0122.jpg

Before reaching the townsite of Jasper, the 93 Icefields Parkway leads to Athabasca Falls, where one can witness the power of Nature in an aesthetic mode. Who had turned the mighty torrents into Nature’s sculptors, carving quartzite and limestones into magnificent art installations?

DSC_0164.jpg

Nature's Sculptor.jpg

 

Hardened Ripples.jpg

 

DSC_0149.jpg

 

The Gorge.jpg

DSC_0136.jpg

In the Jasper townsite, even the man-made locomotive matches the scenery in the evening light. Like a watercourse streaming through the landscape, The Rocky Mountaineer passenger train passes through Vancouver and across the Rocky Mountains into Alberta’s Banff and Jasper National Parks.

DSC_0061.jpg

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Even a cargo CN train exudes poetry. I credit it to the spirit of the environs:

DSC_0065.jpg

 

Just like the animals preparing for winter, I’m gathering visual memories to feed the cold months ahead.

 

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Other Travel Posts on Ripple Effects:

New England Foliage Road Trip

Day Trip to Cambridge

Establishing Shot: A Visit to Toronto

 

 

 

 

 

Out of Hibernation

You may have roses in your garden but we still have the remnant of winter. And in Lake Louise, about 58 km (36 mi) from Banff National Park, it is still winter in full swing. This photo was taken just a few days ago:

Lake Louise

People were walking out into the frozen lake, with the glacier in the backdrop.

A snowy but cheery welcome:

Snow Hat

40 mins. drive south to Banff, it’s much warmer, and spring has arrived. The best sign is when you see a grizzly bear coming out of hibernation. See her?

Out of Hibernation

When I first spotted the bear, I was going to quietly walk away until I was told a group of people were already there, well protected and with a park ranger interpreting her every move. So I gladly joined them:

Well Protected

The ranger told us that was a five year-old she bear, officially known as Bear #148, just out of hibernation a week ago. Later I found she had been in the news for trailing a woman walking her dog a bit too close for comfort.

Here she is, still in good shape after a long hibernation:

She Bear 1

Closer

Closer1

Closer2

I slipped away quietly when she got just a bit too close. What’s the first thing you’d wish for after a long, deep sleep? A hearty breakfast of course.

What an exciting herald of spring.

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Saturday Snapshot July 2: Summer Visitors

Here at the pond, summer visitors arrive to my natural Air B&B in June from near and far. I admit up here above the 49th parallel, I don’t get as many varieties as I’d like to see, nor as colourful as many of you have down in the south. Still it gives me great pleasure to host them.

Here are some of the avian visitors in the past month. Glad they find my Air B&B suitable for their stay, taking advantage of the pool and the amenities, free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are usually shy to be photographed, so I got them in my Air Guestbook unobtrusively.

Some new guests, for me anyway, like Mr. and Mrs. Ruddy Ducks. Hard to get them to come closer for photos, so here’s a blurry snapshot from afar. How do I identify them? The light blue bill of Mr. Ruddy:

Male & Female Ruddy Ducks

A repeat visitor, although not always easy to find, so I’m delighted to host, the Greater Yellowlegs:

Greater Yellowlegs

Families are most welcome. Here are my regular visitors, the CG Family:

The CG Family

Always glad to see them make themselves at home. I got this pic as they took their morning stroll:

A morning stroll

The quiet Spotted Sandpiper soaking in the sun and the sight:

Spotted Sandpiper

And of course, who can beat the free meals while they’re staying here. That’s why they keep coming back, look at this Great Blue Heron helping himself to the buffet:

Buffet meal

 

Is that a big fish that Mrs. Pelican just gulped in?

Pelican.jpg

And finally, I’ve waited for them for so long, the Yellow Warblers. I know they like their stay. Just listen to their calls as they share on their social platform:

Yellow Warbler

Well, if you’ve got food in your mouth, you can’t call back. No instant messaging here at the buffet table:

No msg

More from my Air Guestbook next time.

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

 

 

If Winter Comes, Can Spring be Far Behind?

The English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley holds one view common with Balzac Billy, our Alberta Groundhog: an early spring is on its way.

Not to rub it in, but we’ve been enjoying a relatively mild winter, even a record high on Jan. 25, when the temperature reached 17C (63F).

These photos were not taken right on that day, but they all show how our ducks and geese shrugged off the icy river, spread their wings and echoed Balzac Billy’s prediction.

Here they are mass sunbathing:

Mass Sunbathing

The Mallards show their true colours:

Mallards show their colours

Compared to the Mallards, the Buffleheads are smaller in size, and are distinctly more playful. Why wait for spring to make a splash?

Playful Buffleheads

or try walking on water:

Bufflehead walking on water

The Common Merganser stands out among the crowd with their long, red beaks and eggshell white lower body with a yellow glow:

Male Merganser stands out

But my fave is the female Merganser. I like her roll-out-of-bed hairdo and natural mascara. For some reasons, she makes me think of Lucillle Ball:

Lucille Ball Merganser

Nature’s hourglass, every drip brings us closer to Spring:

Nature's Hourglass

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads

All Photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects

Do Not Copy or Reblog

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Saturday Snapshot November 22: The Woods are Lovely Still

How a couple of weeks have changed the whole landscape. The Boreal forest that’s my neck of the woods has turned into a winter wonderland.

The Woods are Lovely, Still

Snow-covered creek

Cattails in the late afternoon light:

Pussywillow Cattails

Snow may cover the ground, the woods are lovely still, teeming with life.

Official greeter, The Red Squirrel:

Red Squirrel

Winter’s friendly ambassador. Take a bow:

Official Greeter 2

But this baby deer doesn’t look too happy… of course, where’s mama?

Deer

A Red-breasted Nuthatch, beautiful against the evening sun:
Red-breasted Nuthatch

A seed in the beak is better than two in the snow:

Happy Downy

Seed or no seed, this Pileated Woodpecker is busy pecking up the right tree:

Pileated Woodpecker

Pecking up

But the most fascinating of all is my discovery of a Snowy Koala, a rare sighting indeed:

Snowy Koala

I’d rather be Down Under taking photos of his cousins, but this little tree hugger just made my wintry day more bearable.

The woods are lovely, still.

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

All Photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects

DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG

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Saturday Snapshot Nov. 8: Those that stay

Not everyone loves hot weather. Sure there are many who migrate to warmer climates, but there are also those who stay here above the 49th Parallel, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

A walk through the woods in the last couple of days allowed me to check out who my winter friends are. I say friends because, for some of them, they would fly straight to me, greeting and calling. Yes, I know, they all want treats. But hey, not many choose to stay. So, for those that do, they deserve a free lunch.

Here are some of my winter pals. We’re in it together, come snow and storm in the coming weeks and months. The Black-capped Chickadee:

Black-capped Chickadee

The White-breasted Nuthatch, like the Chickadees, official greeters whenever I visit:

White-breasted Nuthatch

So, a treat for you all:

Free lunch

Female Downy Woodpecker:

Female Downy Woodpecker

The Red Squirrel:

Red Squirel Breakfast time

Of course, there are those who’d want to strike out on their own:

Male Downy

The elusive Blue Jay. Yes I hear their calls all the time, but very hard to actually get a photo:

The Blue Jay

Here’s a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the evening light:

Red-breasted Nuthatch

But my greatest catch is this. From afar, a gigantic furry ball high on a tree:

Huge Furry Ball

I thot I thaw a pussy cat, but when he turned his head 180 degrees, almost, then I knew what I thaw was a Great Horned Owl! I’ve followed an Owl Family for a few years now, always thought they fly to warmer places in the winter.

Great Horned Owl

Of course, he didn’t care for my free lunch of sunflower seeds. Looks like he’s captured his prey, keeping it close by his side, uh… looks like a squirrel. His look speaks volumes. I know, I should have brought a bigger lunch:

Looking straight ahead

I can see there are lots of winter birding adventures ahead.

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

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS

DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG

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Here are posts on the Great Horned Owl Family I’ve been stalking every Spring:

The Parents

The Babies

Saturday Snapshot November 1: One Fine Day

Yes, it’s still fall. Other than the snow storm we had in early September, we have been getting relatively fine weather, considering it’s November already.

Just two days ago, it was one fine, fall day. The temperature reached 13C (55F) when I took these photos, which is very warm for us, especially with the sun bursting in full force. Joggers were wearing shorts and T-shirts.

The glorious golden yellow has changed to brown now, and tree branches are bare…

Fall but not fadingbut the sun remains the unwavering source of light and warmth:

Sunburst

and the river as blue as ever, matching the clear, open sky:

Beautiful Blue Bow River

Gulls linger, who’d want to fly south with weather like this?

GullsAt the pond, these Canada Geese agree. Just hanging out for a while longer:

Canada Geese

Too comfy here, this Bonaparte’s Gull is not flying away any time soon:

Bonaparte's Gull preening

Bonaparte's Gull

Nor the Lesser Scaup:

Lesser Scaup

Mrs. Mallard is having so much fun here… I don’t want to go, she yelps:

Female Mallard skimming over the water

And I add my voice, don’t leave just yet.

We’re not going anywhere, Dear, Mr. Mallard assures her.

MrCool. Let’s get cold together.

*Note: The Mallards are some of the birds I still see in the colder months. With others who stay, they make winter a bit more enjoyable.

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

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ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS

DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG

Saturday Snapshot July 5: Mountain Bluebird

Six summers ago, I stayed in an isolated log home for a few weeks in Cochrane, Alberta. That was before I’d acquired my iPhone, Nikon, and birding interest. A few days ago I drove back there and revisited the place.

Funny how I was seeing everything from a birder’s POV this time. I brought my camera with me and purposely look for any flying objects, identified or not. I saw this flash of blue fly by, too fast for a focused picture:

 

A Flash of Blue

 

Later the blue landed on a tree top. Here’s a slightly clearer view:

 

Blue Landing 1

 

 

Not until I got home and uploaded the photos did I have the chance to find out what bird it was. With a snack in his beak, here’s looking at you, kid. The Mountain Bluebird:

 

Here's looking at you, kid.

 

 

Bluebird in Cochrane 1

 

Another view, astounding colour:

Bluebird in Cochrane

 

Alas, Nature has not endowed the female with as much colour, yet in my eyes, she is an equal beauty (a commenter explained this is a juvenile… an equal cutie):

Another Beauty

 

A flash of blue, a place to land, a bug for snack, a good day.

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

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ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS, JUNE 30, 2014.
DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG.

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If you had not visited Ripple Effects six years ago, here are some older posts on my log home experience:

Summer Indulgence (2008)

Nature Photography

From A Country Garden

Music In My iPod

Saturday Snapshot May 24: Yellow Bird

Here’s another encounter of the ‘ordinary’ yet not so ordinary. A yellow bird is very common for those living in warmer climates. But for me, it’s a rare sighting. I was so excited to see something bright yellow moving among the branches. Can you spot it? Something yellow among branches A better view as I quietly got closer: Getting Closer but just for a short few seconds, and then it was gone, fleeing from a lone paparazzo: Fleeing from a lone paparazzo I followed the yellow bird from tree to tree for well over a half hour. I did not know what kind of bird it was; I did not much care. That would come later when I got home. At that moment, I was too preoccupied with fixing my eyes on it, to whatever perils may come. I was stalking high and low among last year’s flood debris of fallen trees along a damaged landscape, trying not to trip without looking down at my feet.

Finally, a clearing: Caught in a clearingYellow, black and red contrasting fresh green leaves and a pale blue sky in the backdrop, a colourful picture.

Eventually, he seemed to appreciate my tenacity, and rewarded me with a couple of poses: Pose 1   Pose 2   Only after I’d uploaded my photos later and checked the features did I identify what bird it was: The Western Tanager. This one is a male in breeding season. “These birds live in open woods all over the West…” so says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They may be common, but this one is unique because it’s the only one I’ve seen. That makes it special for me.

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

Photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, 2014. Please DO NOT COPY or Reblog.

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