Serendipitous Finds: Bambi, Weasel, and Whatchamacallit

This is a mixed bag, but with one thing in common. These are all unexpected encounters.

First off, there are lots of deer in our neck of the woods, white-tailed deer, albeit I usually come across adults or at least teenagers. Seldom do I see a young fawn, pure and fresh, like Bambi. He was scared to see me, of course, he was all alone.

For this little guy in the following pic, at first I thought it was a gopher but the shape was long and slender. When I uploaded the photo on my laptop did I realize it was a weasel. So, this is my first time seeing a summer weasel. Taking this snap shot is easy and fast, serendipitous. My winter weasel was totally different. I hid behind a tree in -20C temp. for over an hour. But well worth it. Here are the two seasonal coats:

And I caught sight of this tiny inch-long critter crossing the road. Yes, I give my neck full exercise when I walk, look up for birds and down for bugs. But what is this?

Here’s the head. The white spikes are like bristles of a bottle brush. Later I find its name to be Lophocampa maculata, a caterpillar that will turn into the Spotted Tussock Moth or Yellow-Spotted Tiger Moth. It was first described by American entomologist and botanist Thaddeus William Harris in 1841. I’ll just call it bristle head. No offence. Love the colours.

And finally, on a crazy, windy afternoon. I was walking by the river and it felt like a storm looming. Suddenly I was the spectator of a Merganser Race, the mood exhilarating. I can see what Wordsworth mean, ‘My heart leaps up.’

And sure enough, the gulls followed. All of a sudden, hundreds of them took to the sky, maybe a premonition of an imminent change in weather:

Serendipity. That’s one of my favourite words.


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




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.


Saturday Snapshot June 27: The Busy Beaver

It is on the face of our 5-cent coin, an emblem of Canada. And thanks to conservation and the lack of demand in the pelt hat, the Beaver – at one time endangered – is now safe in numbers.

the nickel

However, we seldom see one, definitely not an everyday sighting. As for me, I’ve never seen one on land like the image on the coin, busy with its chore. But they are around; surely we can see the aftermath they leave behind. Here are evidences of their presence:

Work of a Beaver's

Beaver's aftermath

That’s why we have these:

Wired protections

I’ve had the chance of seeing a beaver recently at a pond, taking a break from its busy schedule:

The Pond


Beaver in the pond

Sure looks like a bear is swimming towards you:

Beaver 3

Beaver 1

A closer look and you can see its long and robust body:


yet agile, diving in and speeds away underwater:


But what I find interesting are the ripples it makes. Look back at the above photos and below:

The Beaver Close-up


More Ripples


Ripples 3



Or is it just me, watching out for ripples everywhere?

((( *** )))

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




Saturday Snapshot Dec 6: Porky and Wess

I met them just this week.

Porky the baby porcupine was a serendipitous sighting. He (I assume) was going in circle in the snow, apparently lost or disoriented. Poor guy, I wanted to go up there and give him a big hug but restrained myself. Instead, got these sequences of shots.

Porky from afar. See the circling tracks? They are all Porky’s:

Porky going in circle

A bit closer in:

Porky disoriented

So cute and cuddly:

Porky close-up

Don’t you want to give him a big hug too?

Porky close-up 1


As for Wess the weasel, we’ve been waiting for her appearance for days like paparazzi. Some set up their huge telephoto lens on tripod and stood in the cold for hours. Our perseverance were rewarded with a quick dash of a photo shoot:

Wess the weasel poking out of her hole:

Wess poking out

Donning her designer fur coat. See her long, black-tipped tail? No wonder she’s officially called the Long-tailed Weasel.


Dashing through the snow:

Wess dashing

And here are the shots that make us weasel waiters feel all worthwhile. Wess posing for us in her professional style on the white carpet:

Wess posing 2

Wess posing

There they are, Porky and Wess, warming every heart in the cold of day.


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