May your year be full of awe inspiring landscapes, remarkable wildlife sightings and an even greater appreciation for the natural world!
All the best,
Continuing with the theme of unusual animal sightings, this one occurred earlier this year. Unlike in Newfoundland, moose generally live very solitary lives in Alberta. Prior to this day, the only time where I have seen more than two unrelated animals together was during the breeding season. So it was very surprising to be driving along a back country road and come across this scene! We immediately slammed on the brakes, grabbed our cameras and started taking photos. In total there were 11 moose in this one meadow, with 7 in this frame. There were two mothers with calves and several yearlings and two-year olds. With hunting season just over they were still a bit skittish, so we grabbed a few photos, got back into the car and continued on.
For a plant to eek out a living in the rockies requires a lot of adaptations. With cold temperatures and harsh winds throughout much of the year, they must find suitable micro-climates that can support them. The winds bring with it just enough dust that settles out over time in any nook, including rock crevices. This creates a foothold for the shallow roots, while the small lip in the rock shelters the plant from the harsh winds, radiates the heat from the sun back onto the plant and funnels water to the roots. A perfect spot for a miniature plant.
A pika takes a quick break from collecting food for the long winter to scan for predators.
A beautiful day in K-country. Big blue skies, amazing mountains and a herd of big horn sheep near the Highwood Pass.
Most wildlife I see outside the national parks almost always runs off into the forest to get a safe distance away from people. Coyotes are no exception. They are incredibly smart, and so adaptive that some have learned to live exclusively in major cities preying on urban wildlife (and the occasional cat or dog). Efforts to rid them from the country side have failed and in fact it usually results in the coyotes adapting to the point that their numbers increase. This lone coyote was sleeping on the shoulder of the road. I slowly approached then stopped my car and turned off the engine. The coyote continued to sit on the road but eventually got up, stretched and yawned and then proceeded to howl. It did this several times, but without getting a response back, it slowly wandered off in search of some unsuspecting ground squirrels.
Spring in K-country is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! It certainly makes up for the long, harsh winters. Thousands of wildflowers (mostly indian paintbrush in this photo) in the valleys with the backdrop of mountains and coniferous trees. The best part…only an hour away from where I live.