Ingham Nature Photography Inc.: Blog https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog en-us (C) Ingham Nature Photography Inc. (Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) Wed, 28 Sep 2022 02:46:00 GMT Wed, 28 Sep 2022 02:46:00 GMT https://www.inaturephoto.com/img/s/v-12/u812883816-o112298866-50.jpg Ingham Nature Photography Inc.: Blog https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog 120 91 "FEELING A LITTLE SQUIRRELY COME FALL" - Red Squirrel (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-feeling-a-little-squirrely-come-fall---red-squirrel-north-american "FEELING A LITTLE SQUIRRELY COME FALL"

Red Squirrel (North American) - 7 Photos

 

So here's another Red Squirrel for all those "gingers" out there.

 

Am happy to report that it was in a different area much further south than the other Red Squirrel in the September 20, 2022 blog, "NOT A KNOTHOLE". So hopefully their numbers are increasing and the native species is making a stand against the Eastern Gray Squirrel. I had spotted something "tawny" with a tail up scampering off a log and made a rapid walk, thinking it was a Long Tailed Weasel. No weasel, but I was not disappointed to see another Red Squirrel.

 

To put it mildly, this squirrel was literally "nuts"! (Pardon the pun.) It did take some time to groom and catch its breath on a log but then it was off helter skelter looking for food. Twice, it made gigantic leaps from tree to tree that would have impressed a flying squirrel. Supposedly, this is the time of the year that squirrels are searching for food to store in their pantries to tide them over during the winter months. Pine cones are a favourite and there are definitely plenty of fir trees laden down with cones for a squirrel to choose from. 

 

The expression and position of the squirrel in Photo #1 brings to mind those times, when we have all delved into our pockets looking for keys and thought, "I'm sure I put it them in here." :)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-feeling-a-little-squirrely-come-fall---red-squirrel-north-american Thu, 29 Sep 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"BIG BLUE" - Great Blue Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-big-blue---great-blue-heron "BIG BLUE"

Great Blue Heron - 11 Photos

 

From the size & demeanor of this Great Blue Heron, I would say it's a male but male or female, it still is one striking heron, feathers and all. And because of its stature, etc., I have named it "Big Blue".

 

It is the same Great Blue Heron that caught the Jumping Mouse (see Blog of September 4, 2022) and was terrorized by the muskrat. 

 

This particular day it kept its diet to fish and managed to catch some large ones, one fish in particular. And when I say catch, I should say spear. If you look closely at Photo #7 through to Photo #8, that small black object/marking directly right of the fish head, is the tip of the heron's bill. No wonder herons are such great fishermen when they have all the tackle they need incorporated into their bodies.

 

Photo #1 through to Photo #6 illustrate the magnificence of this bird's feathering, while it groomed and took everything in.

 

And yes, I've included a photo of that muskrat (Photo #11) patrolling the pond (MOP or Muskrat On Patrol) prior to the heron's arrival. Lucky for the heron, this time it went back into the beaver lodge before the heron flew in.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

 

PHOTO #11

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-big-blue---great-blue-heron Tue, 27 Sep 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"THE BOY IS BACK IN TOWN" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-the-boy-is-back-in-town---mink-north-american "THE BOY IS BACK IN TOWN"

Mink (North American) - 13 Photos

 

 

I try to be the eternal optimist when it comes to looking out for those mustelids, the mink and weasel. They can be quite elusive.

 

But yes, I finally managed to catch Sparky on one of his expeditions. He certainly is quite the boy, being extremely large (by mink standards) with a bravado attitude. He still goes about his "minky" business but he really doesn't give a monkey's whether I am trying to photograph him or not. Now that being said, it still is challenging. Minks move erratically and it can be "don't blink, there goes the mink". 

 

He re-appeared at the creek not at his usual time, but much later. And he wasn't just fishing. He was searching the tall grassy areas surrounding the creek as well, looking for rodents. And as you will see from Photo #1, Sparky took up that "bring it on stance" and literally returned my stare. I recently had a tweet exchange with an ecologist & a camera trap lover from the U.K.  about a stoat he caught on a trail camera, taking his stash up into a tree. I thought "size of a kitten but the heart of a leopard" and we both agreed that wasn't it a good thing these little mustelids aren't large predators. I certainly wouldn't be hovering over a creek looking for my latest catch!

 

In Photo #10 through Photo #12, Sparky did one of those dog water shakes to remove excess water. I have put the three photos in reverse. You can just make out an outline of the mink under all that water flying from his thick coat in Photo #12.

 

And on a final note, I had tried the creek earlier in the week. Unfortunately, Sparky didn't show but I believe he sent his cousin with his regrets, albeit briefly! :) See Photo #13

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

PHOTO #12

PHOTO #13

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-the-boy-is-back-in-town---mink-north-american Sun, 25 Sep 2022 01:38:07 GMT
"THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS" - American Bald Eagle https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-the-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts---american-bald-eagle "THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS"

American Bald Eagle - Adults (Male & Female) - 13 Photos

 

It is an extremely special opportunity to see two mature American Bald Eagles, together side by side & exchanging eagle chatter.

 

These two were in a tree along the Bow River for some time before one took flight and almost immediately the second followed. One can only imagine what their conversation entailed. They did take one or two glances at the fishermen coming into fish along the river. Perhaps, they were discussing the possibility of an easy meal. :)

 

An American Bald Eagle is a striking & beautiful bird of prey, a partnership of two is even more so.

 

EAGLE NO. 1

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

EAGLE #2

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

PHOTO #12

 

PHOTO #13 - "THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS"

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-the-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts---american-bald-eagle Wed, 21 Sep 2022 22:29:40 GMT
"NOT A KNOTHOLE" - Red Squirrel https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-not-a-knothole---red-squirrel "NOT A KNOTHOLE"

Red Squirrel - 7 Photos

 

I was just about to leave the park when I thought I would take one more look down a creek. "No, nothing to see here", I thought. And then something moved on the tree next to me. 

 

I looked down and at first I thought it was knothole in the tree. But then it moved and there on the side of tree was a red squirrel, a squirrel species native to Alberta. It was moving up and down the tree like squirrels do and then it would anchor itself onto the bark and groom. The grooming was from head to tail, including licking its paws and smoothing down its coat, just like a cat.

 

I was worried that I wouldn't have the opportunity to get some shots but the squirrel was still doing his squirrely thing after I left.

 

One can only think that as that side of the tree was facing south and the day had significantly warmed up from a chilly morning, that perhaps the squirrel was enjoying the sunshine after being cold in the morning, perhaps having gotten a little damp in the wet grass from dew. It was time for a little clean-up and as there was nothing and no one (except me) around, the squirrel was enjoying the warmth of the tree. 

 

Last Autumn about this time,  I had a unique opportunity to see a Red Fox lying on a flat rock in Kananaskis country just sunning itself in the early evening. Again it was probably enjoying the warmth of the rock on its stomach, while at the same time the rock provided a great vantage point for looking for prey. Perhaps this is a red head wildlife thing? :) 

 

If you wish to see the fox photos, just click the link below:

https://www.inaturephoto.com/fox_red_-_fox_rocks_no_1/slideshow#hbd29f77f

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-not-a-knothole---red-squirrel Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:52:11 GMT
"THE COLOURS ARE APPEARING" - Wood Ducks https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-the-colours-are-appearing---wood-ducks "THE COLOURS ARE APPEARING"

Wood Ducks - Male & Female (11 Photos)

 

Well it's not quite officially Autumn yet (September 22nd) although some of the leaves are already changing from deep green to hues of red and yellow.

 

And migration of birds gathers strength in September/October, which includes these colourful ducks who should now be heading south.

 

Although the male Wood Duck has great flair & flamboyance, the female is no slouch in her blue & green tints.

 

PHOTO #1

 

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-the-colours-are-appearing---wood-ducks Mon, 19 Sep 2022 02:56:33 GMT
"GREAT THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES" - Great Blue Heron & Jumping Mouse https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-great-things-come-in-small-packages---great-blue-heron-jumping-mouse "GREAT THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES"

Great Blue Heron & Jumping Mouse (4 Photos)

 

You know that old saying "good things come in small packages". Well, little did I know that a little mouse caught by a Great Blue Heron would create such an event.

 

At the time, what I thought was a baby muskrat turned out to be a jumping mouse. I reached out to Brian Keating for a definitive identification of what this heron had caught. (Brian worked for the Calgary Zoo for 3 decades & among other pursuits, is a weekly guest on CBC Radio Calgary & Edmonton.) He thought the make-up of the prey was unusual for a baby muskrat so he reached out to Chris Fisher (professional wildlife biologist & ecologist). Chris identified it as a Jumping Mouse, a little seen mammal (not endangered). Sincere thanks to both Brian & Chris for their valuable input.

 

Please click the link below for Brian Keating's segment on the Jumping Mouse, featured on CBC's Homestretch. Sometimes the smallest of Nature's creatures provide some of the greatest stories. And if you listen to the broadcast, you will hear that the Jumping Mouse has the same hibernation period as the Marmot, that being 9 months out of the year!

 

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-97-the-homestretch/clip/15936286-brian-keating-jumping-mice

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-great-things-come-in-small-packages---great-blue-heron-jumping-mouse Thu, 15 Sep 2022 16:37:39 GMT
"PARADE OF PIKAS - Pika https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-parade-of-pikas---pika "PARADE OF PIKAS"

Pika - 11 Photos

(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

 

Caught the pikas with their little rabbit like faces on a warm sunny evening. They seemed to be extremely relaxed (for pikas, that is) and if one was indulging in a little daydreaming, almost teasing in their antics.

 

At one time, two in particular, who were at opposite sides of the scree, took turns at whistling. When I switched my attention to "the whistler", it would pop down and the other would pop up and whistle. And so it went on for a few goes until I caught on. :) It is probably normal practice for pikas or perhaps they just like having some fun with a slightly slow two-legged. Those adorable furry faces can be deceiving.

 

Upon downloading the photos from the camera, I noticed one larger pika appears to have an injury to its left eye. I believe the eye is still intact but the pika has a definite squint and there seems to be some irregularity around the eye (Photo #8 through Photo #10) Although they are quite territorial and will steal from each other's hay stashes, the pikas do live in colonies and look out for one another with their alarm system, ergo the paragraph above. 

 

So here are some pika antics, funny faces and all.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9


 

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-parade-of-pikas---pika Mon, 12 Sep 2022 15:36:09 GMT
"RAM TOUGH" - Rocky Mountain Sheep https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-ram-tough---rocky-mountain-sheep "RAM TOUGH"

(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

Rocky Mountain Sheep - 7 Photos

 

Was a little surprised to see these two rams down so low at this time of the year. Perhaps they were just chilling before making the trek up to the higher altitudes for a period of sparring for the ladies.

 

I was not disappointed by any means to catch two somewhat mature rams in all their Autumn glory. It looks as if they have had a great summer grazing and adding on those pounds.

 

The photos are split into two sets. One set shot in subdued light and the other in direct sunlight.

 

SET #1

PHOTO #1

Rocky Mountain Sheep - MaleRocky Mountain Sheep - MaleHEAD PROFILE #1
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #2

Rocky Mountain Sheep - MaleRocky Mountain Sheep - MaleHEAD PROFILE #2
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #3

Rocky Mountain Sheep - MaleRocky Mountain Sheep - MaleHEAD PROFILE #3
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

 

SET #2

PHOTO #4

Rocky Mountain Sheep - MaleRocky Mountain Sheep - Male"RAM TOUGH"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #5

Rocky Mountain Sheep - MalesRocky Mountain Sheep - Males"BUDDIES FOR NOW"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #6

Rocky Mountain Sheep - MalesRocky Mountain Sheep - Males"BATTLEGROUND SOON TO BE IN SESSION"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #7

Rocky Mountain Sheep - MaleRocky Mountain Sheep - Male"SNIFFING THE AIR"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-ram-tough---rocky-mountain-sheep Fri, 09 Sep 2022 16:53:39 GMT
"ALL MOUTH NO TROUSERS" - Belted Kingfisher https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-all-mouth-no-trousers---belted-kingfisher "ALL MOUTH NO TROUSERS"

Belted Kingfisher - 5 Photos

 

The expression "All Mouth No Trousers" is a British one, which basically is used to describe someone who talks a lot about doing something but never actually does anything about it.

 

This Belted Kingfisher was "dancing" with another, both chattering away at each other, which I could only assume is a debate over territory. They were subsequently joined by a young Merlin and I couldn't determine who was chasing whom at that point, although one of the Kingfishers did disappear into the woods soon thereafter. The one remaining, though, was taking no prisoners.

 

I know Merlins can catch swallows and even dragonflies in mid-air, but I don't think it would want to take on a Kingfisher with that spearing bill!

 

The Kingfisher eventually landed on this dead tree branch, still giving its "don't even think about it" call. It took off shortly thereafter to pursue some fishing pursuits.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-all-mouth-no-trousers---belted-kingfisher Wed, 07 Sep 2022 16:54:59 GMT
"BEAUTY & THE BEAST" - Great Blue Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-beauty-the-beast---great-blue-heron "BEAUTY & THE BEAST (or Revenge of the Rodent)" - A Short Story

Great Blue Heron - 15 Photos

 

 

The photos that follow were taken over 2 days at the same pond and the blog is more of a short story in three parts. (Pay close attention to Photo #9!)

 

So here we go.

 

PART 1 - DAY 1 - "BEAUTY" 

The Great Blue Heron favoured this pond due to the abundance of fish and other tasty morsels. In fact, the day before it had caught a large fish which it took some time to down. It also liked to stand on a large beaver lodge located to one side of the pond, which allowed me some opportunities to achieve some close ups. Probably a great position for grooming & sunning, as well as always keeping a look-out for food. (PHOTO #1 THROUGH PHOTO #5).

 

And then for reasons only known to the heron at the time, it began to climb from the lower bottom of the lodge to the very top. It then reached across the top of structure and grabbed something. I knew it couldn't be a fish because the top of the lodge is almost 3 feet out of the water.

 

PART 2 - DAY 1 - "THE BEAST"

My first thought was a vole but when I finally could see it, in its entirety, between the rushes, I thought it was a muskrat. No not an adult but a baby.  However, I have subsequently have had some valuable input from two well versed naturalists and it is a species of Jumping Mouse, an unusual sighting, even if it unfortunately now deceased :(  Am still trying to determine whether it is a Meadow Jumping Mouse or a Western Jumping Mouse. The Meadow Jumping Mouse prefers moist fields but can be found in marshes & the Western Jumping Mouse prefers areas near streams, etc. And it took a lot of water dunking before the heron could successfully swallow the creature. (PHOTO #6 THROUGH PHOTO #8).

 

And that brings us up to PHOTO #9, a very important key to the happenings on Day 2.

 

PART 3 - DAY 2 - "REVENGE OF THE RODENT"

So back to the pond to see if the heron returned. After almost an hour, it flew in to the west side of the pond and then slowly walked across to the east side, where it commenced fishing along the shore. 

 

Then out from the side of the beaver lodge, closest to me me, swam a large muskrat. Uh-oh!

 

It swam towards the heron at which point the heron jumped up and over and then flew to the other side of the pond. (PHOTO #10). "Curious", I thought, "Not taking advantage of an easy meal?"

 

The heron began creeping along the west shore, looking for fish when all of a sudden it did something I have never seen a heron do before. It began to walk quickly backwards rapidly in retreat (PHOTO #11). And then all became clear, just in front of the heron, was the adult muskrat. As the muskrat swam towards the heron, the heron kept backing up and you can see from its head feathers, the heron was alert & concerned (PHOTO #12 THROUGH PHOTO #14).

 

I can only imagine a conversation between the muskrat and the heron.

 

"You're the guilty party. I finally found you. You've been eating rodents near my lodging and my family is not going to be next! You are not welcome in this pond. Don't let the rushes hit you on the butt on your way out!"

 

And then the heron flew off to another area (PHOTO #15). On previous occasions, the heron has quickly returned but in this instance, no sign of the heron. And the muskrat had also disappeared, no doubt somewhat abated by finding the culprit & sending it packing.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

 

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

PHOTO #12

PHOTO #13

PHOTO #14

PHOTO #15

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-beauty-the-beast---great-blue-heron Sun, 04 Sep 2022 23:10:37 GMT
"GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE!" - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-good-morning-sunshine---beaver-north-american "GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE"

Beaver (North American) - 11 Photos

 

The sunshine in the title refers not only to a beautiful fresh sunny morning, but to this charming rodent as well!

 

This was my very first opportunity to capture a beaver for more than a few minutes, in the brightness of daylight. It seemed extremely happy and content swimming in this pond, which is actually a storm pond that leads into a creek. The creek was extremely fast and full, after a very heavy downpour and thunderstorm the day before. The pond was full as well, which probably explained the appearance of this beaver, who managed to get through because of the higher water levels.

 

And for the beaver, it was probably enjoying a very late night out working its way into the morning hours, before returning home. Who doesn't enjoy some relaxation after a "hard day's night"!

 

Having had a few laps around the pond and some attention to its appearance, it was down the creek to navigate its way out. And as you will see from Photos #8 through to #11, it wasn't such an easy task for a large beaver to negotiate. A strong swimmer it might be, but it had a few rocky obstacles in its way.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

PHOTO #7

 

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-good-morning-sunshine---beaver-north-american Tue, 30 Aug 2022 15:15:00 GMT
"LIFE ON THE GREEN PATIO" - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-life-on-the-green-patio---beaver-north-american "LIFE ON THE GREEN PATIO"

Beaver (North American) - 9 Photos

 

Spotted two beavers in a bit of an alcove among the bull rushes. I followed what I assume to be a "beaver path" down the incline for a closer look and there they were, enjoying a warm summer evening, munching on deciduous matter. From their sizes and closeness, I assume they were the two heads of the beaver household, Mum & Dad, the male being the largest.

 

A short time thereafter, a smaller beaver did approach, swam up to Mum and tried to put its paws on her back. Dad wasn't having any of that. He immediately swam over, dived under and took Junior with him to the side of the rushes, which unfortunately was out of view. And then Dad returned to his previous spot next to Mum.

I have seen something similar once before but in this instance when the Mother Beaver was approached by her offspring who tried to steal her log, Mum had a go at the youngster, who then went over to Dad for some morale support. I did find Mum later that evening much further down the creek, enjoying her supper completely on her own.

 

I suppose even in beaver families, Mums need some time to themselves away from their children. :)

 

PHOTO #1 - Mother Beaver

PHOTO #2 - Father Beaver

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-life-on-the-green-patio---beaver-north-american Sat, 27 Aug 2022 23:13:11 GMT
"MOOSE WALK" - Moose (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-moose-walk---moose-north-american "MOOSE WALK"

Moose (North American) - 3 Photos

 

 

Well we probably all have heard of the "moon walk". Well this is the moose walk!

 

Taken early on a bright sunny morning, this young bull moose walked out of the shrubbery, no doubt on its way to somewhere where he could find shade, food and water, not necessarily in that order.

 

Good luck in your pursuits, including the search for potential female moose.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-moose-walk---moose-north-american Wed, 24 Aug 2022 15:07:34 GMT
"BEHIND THE GREEN CURTAIN" - Hooded Merganser & Northern Waterthrush https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-behind-the-green-curtain---hooded-merganser-northern-waterthrush "BEHIND THE GREEN CURTAIN"

Hooded Merganser & Northern Waterthrush - 7 Photos

 

Behind the "Green Curtain" is, of course, behind the rushes & sedges, etc. of marshes & creeks. 

 

I took the Hooded Merganser to be a female Mallard Duck at first, as it was in the shadows of the marsh. Once it swam out into open water, those crested feathers became more self-evident. (I always think they resemble an alien head!)

 

There were at least two in this area, perhaps one more. (Photos #1 through #4)

 

The Northern Waterthrush flew into a creek area and was generous enough to perch, free & clear, on a large boulder. It wasn't there for long, enough to do that odd teetering behaviour where it bobs the bottom half of its body up and down. I had seen a Waterthrush last year about this time, so assume it is on its migratory path south to allow ample time for such a little bird, before the weather changes. (Photos #5 through #7)

 

HOODED MERGANSER

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

 

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-behind-the-green-curtain---hooded-merganser-northern-waterthrush Tue, 23 Aug 2022 18:55:58 GMT
"IRIDESCENT" - White-Faced Ibis https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-iridescent---white-faced-ibis "IRIDESCENT"

White-Faced Ibis (9 Photos)

 

A definition of "iridescent" is "having or showing a shifting change in colour or an interplay of rainbow like colours, as when seen from different angles".

 

In simpler terms, light magic with a touch of illusion.

 

The White-Faced Ibis is not the only bird that has this quality but because of its size and amount of feathering, it certainly take iridescent to another dimension. (Oh and there is a question regarding Photo #8!) 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8 - "BILLS AT 10 PACES" - (Is it my imagination or is this Mallard's bill unusually large??) My question was answered by a well versed naturalist. Not a Mallard but an immature female Northern Shoveler! :) 

PHOTO #9

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-iridescent---white-faced-ibis Sun, 21 Aug 2022 03:23:57 GMT
"IT'S NEVER TOO LATE" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-its-never-too-late---mink-north-american "IT'S NEVER TOO LATE"

Mink (North American) - 5 Photos

 

I was slightly late leaving from home and thought that I had missed the male mink making his way back down the creek, beyond view. His timing varies (and no, mustelids don't text me) but if he is using this particular route, there is an approximate time for a sighting. 

 

Had just arrived, sat down, when I thought I saw a brown bird in between the rocks. The birds love to come to the creek, have a bath and then dry their feathers while perching on the trees that overhang. But no, it was the mink.

 

I made a dash down to the end of the rocky area and he popped up underneath a boulder. It appears he has a "mink goatee". Check out those chin whiskers (Photo #1). I guess all the cool mink sport them! (And it seems he was photo bombed by an insect in the top part of the photo, as well.)

 

He then turned around all in his own good time, went back up the creek and checked out a few rock pools. He then turned downstream again, coming straight towards me and then took a second route back down the creek (Photo #2 to Photo #5).

 

So here is "Sparky" is all his Royal Minkness! :)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

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PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5


 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-its-never-too-late---mink-north-american Thu, 18 Aug 2022 22:02:52 GMT
"LIFE IN THE MARSH " - Various https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-life-in-the-marsh----various "LIFE IN THE MARSH"

Dragonflies, Pied Billed Grebe (Juvenile), White-Faced Ibis, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Mallard Ducklings - 11 Photos

 

I've been spending some time at this particular marsh and as you can see from the photos, it has quite the community. And you never know who is going to pop up, fly in or fly by, for that matter.

 

Over the course of the past months, the reeds & sedges have grown incredibly quickly and lush, providing excellent cover for shy birds, young ducklings & grebes and breeding grounds for dragonflies. Viewing the area can be similar to watching a nature show but with no set programming or cast of characters. It's never boring, that is for certain.

 

With Autumn, most of the birds will migrate south and come Winter, the pond will be covered by ice. It won't be devoid of life, only the members of the cast will change.

 

This is "Life In The Marsh".

 

WHITE-FACED IBIS - Or the velociraptor of the Marsh

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

Pied-Billed Grebes (Juveniles) - Have you ever seen anything so cute?

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

Mallard Ducklings - Didn't know their eyes rolled back when they yawn!

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON - During the day, of course

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

DRAGONFLIES - Thank goodness for dragonflies in a marsh environment

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-life-in-the-marsh----various Wed, 17 Aug 2022 02:19:19 GMT
"GET THEM BEFORE THEY'RE GONE" - Ibis (White-Faced) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-get-them-before-theyre-gone---ibis-white-faced "GET THEM BEFORE THEY'RE GONE"

White-Faced Ibis - 9 Photos

 

I suppose it won't be long now before these warm weather birds begin their migration south to their Wintering grounds.

 

It has been an extraordinary treat to have them in the Calgary area for the summer. Even the ducks have now accepted them and no longer view them as some alien invader. In my first sightings, some of the Mallard Ducks appeared a little wary. But as you can see from Photo #9, with both the Ibis and the Mallard Duck having a snooze next to each other,  that all is good.

 

Hopefully, the Ibis will return again next year. Their metallic colouring certainly provides a great contrast against the greens & browns of the marsh areas!

 

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PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-get-them-before-theyre-gone---ibis-white-faced Fri, 12 Aug 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"SOMETHING IN THE WATER" - Black-Crowned Night Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-something-in-the-water---black-crowned-night-heron "SOMETHING IN THE WATER"

Black-Crowned Night Heron - 9 Photos

 

When I first approached this pond from the side directly opposite the Black-Crowned Night Heron and saw it head on, I thought the heron was standing on a flat stone (not unusual) in the water.

 

Once I managed to walk around the pond and made it through the shrubbery, I realized the heron was actually standing in the water in its own reflection. I've mistaken that grayish belly more than once for a rock while a Black-Crowned Heron has been standing in the shade on a rocky creek, its head blending into the shadows. This is the first time, though, I've been fooled by a reflection.

 

I did, however, as I began shooting think this was a large heron by Black-Crowned standards. Upon closer inspection of the photos, I believe this is an older bird probably a male. You can see that its beak looks rather weathered and even some of its feathering (particularly around its neck) appears "mature".

 

It had no difficulty fishing (Photo #2 ) and flying (Photos #8 & 9), so it appears to be a mature healthy heron, well versed in its skills. 

 

At one point, it flew directly across the pond and settled in the greenery. (Photos #4 through 7)

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-something-in-the-water---black-crowned-night-heron Tue, 09 Aug 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"IT'S ALL IN THE GENES" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-its-all-in-the-genes---mink-north-american "IT'S ALL IN THE GENES"

Mink (North American) - 7 Photos

 

 

Well the mink that appeared in the August 4, 2022 blog, "No Two Minks Are Alike", returned to the creek later in the week and this time, to fish. And my goodness, fish he did. He caught three fish in a little over an hour. All devoured in situ but under cover. I managed to capture the first success (Photo #5) and that's no small fish. That's another member of the invasive species, the Prussian Carp, removed from the eco-system. 

 

Going from my previous experience and familiarity of the minks that have been fishing in this creek for the past five years, I suspect (and it is only a suspicion), this male mink is last year's offspring, the largest of the three. His mother was born just downstream and she had her own den close by last year, when she had the three kits. She had excellent fishing abilities and had no trouble providing for her brood, bringing all three to maturity. 

 

Unfortunately, there has been no sign of Momma Mink this year. There didn't appear to be any evidence of her during the Winter either. Perhaps, she moved dens or maybe something more dire occurred. But this large male is now using his mother's old fishing grounds.

 

I have included as Photo #7, a photo of "Sparky" from last year (that's what I named him), just a few months old and on one of the kits' first fishing expeditions out. He was the only one that caught a fish in the creek that day & yes, it was another large Prussian Carp. As you can see from the photo, he was one extremely happy mink dashing off with his catch. I don't know if his mother made him share with his siblings. :) 

 

Even at a young age, he was a large mink and the shape of his face & ears bear a striking resemblance to the most recent photos. Add into that equation, the location of his fishing grounds & his fishing prowess - well that's what led me to believe this is the same mink, now fully mature. Only a DNA test would tell definitively and of course, that's just not possible.

 

In the scheme of things, it doesn't matter who his mother was but whoever or wherever she is, she should be proud of her son. Hopefully, he will pass on those genes to future generations and keep up the tradition of eco-warrior going forward!

 

And yes, I named him "Sparky" the day last year he caught that fish. With the look on the kit's face that day jumping from boulder to boulder, fish in mouth, it was all about the "sparkle"!

 

PHOTO #1 - This is what happens when you play "peek-a-boo" with a mink. (And then he just quietly turned and walked off into the rocks.)

 

PHOTO #2 - Take a look at those ears & their shape.

PHOTO #3 - Someone looks like they were partying, some leftover streamers?? (Perhaps a celebration of successful fishing!)

PHOTO #4 - Looks like we were partying too hard :)

PHOTO #5 - Sparky's catch this year, August 2022. Yep, he caught a big one. That's another Prussian Carp down. 

PHOTO #6 - Shake, Rattle & Roll!

 

PHOTO #7 - "Sparky" last August 2021. We seem to be so proud of ourselves & thrilled with the catch!

Mink (North American) - JuvenileMink (North American) - Juvenile"FLY"

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-its-all-in-the-genes---mink-north-american Sun, 07 Aug 2022 23:13:54 GMT
"NO TWO MINKS ARE ALIKE" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-no-two-minks-are-alike---mink-north-american "NO TWO MINKS ARE ALIKE"

Mink (North American) - 6 Photos

 

It has been some time since I have seen a mink at this location. The female that was there last year and had had three offspring, has not since re-appeared. She may have moved dens or unfortunately has "moved on". :(

 

So there I was taking in some shade on a very hot day, when all of a sudden (and it always seems they appear from out of no where), this mink appeared. My first thought was "Mink!". My second thought was "What a bruiser!". 

 

As you will see from Photo #1 & Photo #2, this mink is huge (by mink standards). Check out the size of its paws and the width of its tail. From its size, etc. I believe this to be a fully mature male. I have seen young male mink before (their heads seem to be more squat and larger, i.e. not so delicate as the females) but never an adult one. 

 

And he really didn't give a monkey's (i.e. did not care at all) about me. He still followed that "look & scamper" routine but everything was so deliberate. He took his time checking out the spaces between rocks not coming up for long periods of time and then disappearing in to the grassy verge, only to re-appear again. (I did get a lot of views of a south bound mink going north!) 

 

Other than his size, another distinguishing feature was his fishing or rather his hunting habits. He was not interested in the creek or pond in any way and spent all of his time, prowling the thick tall grass beds next to the creek (frustrating if you are trying to get photographs) and searching rock crevices. In fact, he never actually went into the creek once, even though there are fish available. I assume he was on the look out for rodents such as small meadow voles and mice, etc. to satisfy his hunger. 

 

There is a weasel who frequents the area as well, who likes to pop up occasionally and we play the game of who is going to make the first move. I always lose.  It's one thing to have a mink fishing in your territory, it's another if he is helping himself to your pantry. That might wipe that weasel smirk from its adorable little face :)! 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-no-two-minks-are-alike---mink-north-american Thu, 04 Aug 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"SPLASH WATER PARK" - Moose https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-splash-water-park---moose "SPLASH WATER PARK"

Moose - 6 Photos

 

The following photos demonstrate that all 3 to 4 year old's, no matter what the species, enjoy a splash water park on a very hot summer day! :) 

 

This stunning bull moose was grazing on the bountiful tall willows in a marsh area. After approximately one hour, he suddenly changed direction went from a walk to a trot and then ran through the rushes, up a small incline, across the meadow and down into a very large pond. 

 

Once he hit the water, he began swimming and splashing before heading back up onto dry land, only to re-enter the pond further down. There were a couple of American White Pelicans swimming nearby. Goodness knows what they thought when they saw this massive antlered creature approaching. Perhaps it was, "Oh no - it's a lake monster!!"

 

From there, he exited the water, crossed the path and headed to a treed area near the river, where he sunk down into the shade and protection of the trees. (He sat down much like I do, with a thump and not too much elegance.) 

 

I couldn't see him at this point, completely engulfed in foliage and shrubbery but the occasional "moose burp" could be heard. And that's when I left the area, letting him slumber and recover from his exertions. It may have been the heat in combination with the bugs, that were harassing him that drove him into the water.

 

PHOTO #1

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PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/8/-splash-water-park---moose Tue, 02 Aug 2022 02:53:14 GMT
"REMEMBER TO BREATHE" - Grizzly Bear https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-remember-to-breathe---grizzly-bear  

"REMEMBER TO BREATHE"

Grizzly Bear - 9 Photos

Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

 

 

NOTE:  THE PHOTOS THAT FOLLOW WERE TAKEN FROM A SAFE DISTANCE & LOCATION

 

Using the line from that "Travel Alberta" advertisement, "Remember to Breathe" goes for both the photographer & the Grizzly Bear in this instance.

 

On a different day (you can tell from the sunshine) than the blog of July 23, 2022, this young bear was seen as it crossed over into a meadow looking for greens. I am going to designate the bear as a "he" as he seems to have those facial and body size look of a male but you never want to get that close to a bear to definitively designate its gender. :)

 

However, I have nicknamed him "Fluffy", firstly because of his very fluffy & thick coat (probably still shedding) and secondly as an homage to Hagrid's three headed dog, from Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone.

 

And he definitely was on a feeding mission. Sometimes not even taking the time to pause and chew but ripping the dandelions & grass from their roots and munching as he walked along (Photo #4). He did, however, take time out to rub against a tree, leaving his scent (Photo #6)  and then sitting down to have a good old scratch (Photos #7 & #8).

 

Spring came late this year to the mountains in Alberta, with lots of snow pack, snow into late Spring and a slow melt. Great news for potential flooding downstream but it meant that the bears who generally have moved up into the higher meadows by now are still down at the lower levels because of the late arrival of flora, such as their favourite dandelions. Like the bears, all the dandelions by July usually have gone but because of the late Spring arrival, the meadows are still quite full of the yellow flowers and their succulent green stalks.

 

Wishing this young bear great success and health as he makes his way up the mountains to Summer pastures. 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-remember-to-breathe---grizzly-bear Thu, 28 Jul 2022 15:42:27 GMT
"THAT RASCALLY ROCK RABBIT" - American Pika https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-that-rascally-rock-rabbit---american-pika "THAT RASCALLY ROCK RABBIT"

American Pika - 11 Photos

Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

 

Moderating that term Elmer Fudd gave to Bugs Bunny, the following photos are of two different American Pikas (the Pika is also known as the Rock Rabbit), one adult & one, I believe, is a youngster born this year.

 

The American Pika is found in the the western mountains of North America. They generally live in the scree near or above the tree line. Fortunately, these pikas live in an area that is somewhat accessible in the Kananaskis area. Pikas are members of the rabbit family (hence the "rascally rabbit" terminology) and the American Pika is only one of two Pika species which inhabit North America.

 

Usually the first sighting of a pika is the rapid movement, followed by "Did I actually see something?" These photos were taken on two different days, one pika per day. At first, both were extremely shy, running between rocks and hiding in the crevices. Eventually, standing completely still but camera ready, both came out to explore & forage.

 

And there is no honour amongst pikas. During the Summer they harvest the flowers & greens of the mountain flora to feed themselves over the Winter months. They do not hibernate but stay in their dens during the colder months and require the hay for those lean times. It has been known that as one Pika goes out foraging, another will hang back, wait until it has ventured away from its den and then raid its supplies. Believe squirrels have also been known to steal from one another's cache. (There's always one!)  And unfortunately, they are everyone's (i.e. predator's) favourite, including bobcats, coyotes, foxes, weasels and eagles, to name just a few. 

 

ADULT PIKA

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

YOUNG PIKA

 

PHOTO #7

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PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-that-rascally-rock-rabbit---american-pika Tue, 26 Jul 2022 16:10:32 GMT
"A DRIZZLY GRIZZLY DAY" - Grizzly Bear https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-a-drizzly-grizzly-day---grizzly-bear "A DRIZZLY GRIZZLY BEAR DAY"

Grizzly Bears - Adult & Cubs (11 Photos)

Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

 

NOTE: ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM A SAFE DISTANCE & LOCATION

 

Took a chance & the opportunity with the potential of inclement weather for a day trip to Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada to scout for wildlife.

 

It had begun to drizzle when two small cubs were spotted in a dense grassy meadow. A split second later, Momma appeared out of the tall grass with another cub. Any bear spotting is a thrill but that is always compounded by cubs. And then to see a healthy female Grizzly Bear with three cubs all equally healthy and active is a definite plus to the eco-system. Another three bears (whatever the gender) have to be a boost to the Grizzly Bear population particularly if more than one makes that crucial period of maturing into independent bears.

 

The sow was extremely relaxed with her surroundings and cubs, as you can see from Photo #1 as she munched on a large dandelion. The personalities of the three youngsters became quickly apparent. The middle one seemed to like to hang out close to its mother (Photo #2 to Photo #5 ) and the youngest seemed to be a little upset about the rain and the dampness and headed for a small fir tree for some cover (Photo #6 to Photo #9).  This cub has a very long face and I think almost appears to look similar to a wolf cub. A look that bears (no pun intended) credence to the fact that bears & wolves have a shared ancestor.

 

The biggest (probably the oldest) insisted on hanging back when its siblings and Mum headed over to the next meadow. It was distracted by the plentiful crop of dandelions, all still in bloom. It was very much the child in the candy store! :) (Photo #10)

 

Prior to crossing meadows, Mum stopped and sniffed the air. (Photo #11) The reasoning soon became apparent. Shortly thereafter it began to heavily pour and most likely she could smell the change in the air and was looking for cover for her youngsters in a more thickly forested area. She crossed to the next meadow first and waited for her cubs to follow. The two youngest followed quickly and went down into the lower area. She then waited at the edge for "little independent" to make the crossing, let the cub pass her and then followed it down to the low meadow. All three cubs present and accounted for. 

 

PHOTO #1

Grizzly Bear - AdultGrizzly Bear - Adult"THAT'S ONE BIG DANDELION/BEAR!"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #2

Grizzly Bear - Adult & CubGrizzly Bear - Adult & Cub"WALKING IN TANDEM"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #3

Grizzly Bear - Adult & CubGrizzly Bear - Adult & Cub"I'M WITH YOU ALL THE WAY"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #4

Grizzly Bear - Adult & CubGrizzly Bear - Adult & Cub"SIDECAR"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #5

 

 

Grizzly Bear - CubGrizzly Bear - Cub"IT'S RAINING"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #6

Grizzly Bear - Adult & CubGrizzly Bear - Adult & Cub"IT'S POURING"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #7

Grizzly Bear - CubGrizzly Bear - Cub"THAT TREE JUST ISN'T GOING TO BE SUFFICIENT COVER!"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #8

Grizzly Bear - CubGrizzly Bear - Cub"JUST MOSEYING ON DOWN"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #9

Grizzly Bear - CubGrizzly Bear - Cub"FOLLOWING MUM DOWN"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #10

Grizzly Bear - CubGrizzly Bear - Cub"GORGING ON DANDELIONS"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #11

Grizzly Bear - Adult & CubGrizzly Bear - Adult & Cub"SNIFFING THE AIR"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-a-drizzly-grizzly-day---grizzly-bear Sun, 24 Jul 2022 01:40:16 GMT
"ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD - ITS BETTER" - Dragonfly & Damselflies https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-all-that-glitters-is-not-gold-its-better--dragonfly-damselflies "ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD - IT'S BETTER!"

Dragonfly & Damselflies - 9 Photos

 

 

Dragonflies appear to have that air of magic about them. 

 

I was sitting by a pond hoping for some wildlife when I noticed the back & forth motion of many dragonflies & damselflies. Now only if one or two would settle. 

 

A couple of hours passed and no sign of wildlife, other than the odd duck & blackbird and then one particular dragonfly began to settle, fly off and then settle again on a specific branch near the water. As the temperature increased, so did the action of the damselflies. They appeared to be in a breeding frenzy with multiple partners.

 

The dragonfly, however, flew a few times with another but seemed quite content to spend the hot afternoon basking in the sun.

 

With the close up of the camera, the outstanding beauty and intricacy of the dragonfly becomes apparent. This time when Nature was giving out her gifts, the dragonfly must have been first in line for all that glittered. There definitely was no "take one sparkly thing off before leaving the house" for this insect. Add in the importance of the dragonfly in our eco-system (devourer of those pesky mosquitoes), and you have one very special animal. 

 

And check out Photo #6 featuring three damselflies. Forget about "having all your ducks in a row" when you can have three damselflies! :) And they aren't too shabby on the bright blue colour & glitter either.

 

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PHOTO #5 

 

 

PHOTO #6 - "HAVING ALL YOUR DUCKS DAMSELFLIES IN A ROW"

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-all-that-glitters-is-not-gold-its-better--dragonfly-damselflies Mon, 18 Jul 2022 18:35:44 GMT
"BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW" - Great Horned Owl (Owlet) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-better-the-devil-you-know---great-horned-owl-owlet "BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW"

Great Horned Owl (Owlet) - 9 Photos

 

 

Guess who has their trademark "horned owl" feather/tufts!! :) 

 

This is the first set of photos where I've noticed the little "horns" on the owlet. (Have included an earlier photo for comparison. See Photo #2.) In combination with those big yellow eyes, particularly when they are so dilated, it definitely gives that devilish look.

 

And as you will see from Photo #8 & Photo #9, the youngster has also earned its flight wings and is now an amazing flyer! 

 

It won't be long now to complete independence. We just have to add those hunting skills to our repertoire. Mum & Dad should be in the near vicinity for a little longer to bring food to their offspring until it has mastered this last life skill and then it will be off to a territory of its own.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-better-the-devil-you-know---great-horned-owl-owlet Fri, 15 Jul 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"A TALE OF TWO CULVERTS" - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-a-tale-of-two-culverts---beaver-north-american "A TALE OF TWO CULVERTS"

Beaver (North American) - 9 Photos

 

 

This is a tale of two culverts (not two cities). Photos were taken just before & after sunset.

 

The beaver family that dwell in a series of storm water ponds, who number at last count at six, also use a small isolated pond close to a river. There is a drainage system with a culvert at each end which runs under the paved walking path and then runs out to an inlet, which then leads to the river. The culverts are covered by very heavy large metal gates approximately 3 1/2 feet in height and probably 4 feet wide. Now you are probably wondering why I am going into some detail.

 

Well, in order to maintain the water level in the small pond, the beavers do their usual beaver activity of covering the slats in the gates with logs, branches, mud and stones. There is, of course, some water that travels through the system that enters the river eventually.

 

Every so often, the park's maintenance crew removes the "debris" from the culverts and pushes it aside. Not a problem when the blockage is done from the outside. Walking along this path in early Spring I looked to the west side and yep, there was the debris neatly piled up above the gate. Not a problem for the beavers, they would be back on nightshift and replace it.

 

Then I looked at the east side and what I saw made me smile. The beavers had done the same work on that culvert but had done it from the inside. In fact, there was a huge log sticking out from behind the gate through one of the slats. "I don't know how you's done it, but I know you's done it, beavers!" 

 

In order to remove that debris, it was going to take some rather large equipment to lift the gate and remove it, to get to the log/mud pile behind it. Needless to say that months later, the beavers' work remains intact. So I guess if one was keeping score, that would be Team Beaver 1, Team Human 0.

 

Because of the beavers' engineering of the series of ponds to the west & north of this one, it has created a huge network of waterways and channels for birds, ducks, mammals such as the muskrat (and the occasional mink has also been seen). Even when there is little rain, there is now ample water in these ponds for wildlife.

 

The first set of photos are of one of the adult beavers doing some work on the west side culvert. He/she then went off to enjoy some relaxation on the grassy bank. It was soon joined by a smaller beaver (who I assume is last year's offspring). There was some communication between the two and there is something a little heartwarming, if not heart wrenching, when you hear the soft mews of beaver talk.

 

Adult Beaver Working on the West Culvert

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Adult Beaver 

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PHOTO #7

 

Young Beaver (Last Year's Offspring)

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PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-a-tale-of-two-culverts---beaver-north-american Wed, 13 Jul 2022 16:14:08 GMT
"OUT OF ALBERTA" - White Faced Ibis https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-out-of-alberta---white-faced-ibis "OUT OF AFRICA ALBERTA"

White Faced Ibis - 9 Photos

 

Even though White Faced Ibis are only found in the Americas, the "ibis" always reminds me of Africa.

 

The area where these ibis were found is extremely dense in rushes. For all anyone knows, there could be at least a dozen or so ibises in the tall foliage but I could only gauge by the comings and goings of two or three. And then it is a matter of waiting to see if one walks out into a clearing to feed. Then you have to find them with the camera. Not as easy as you would think. For all their vibrancy, they actually blend in extremely well with their surroundings and their movements are slow and deliberate.

 

The colours in the following set of photos are even more intense than those that appeared in the July 5, 2022 blog "A BIRD OF MANY COLOURS". Those photos were taken mid-morning, while these were taken mid-afternoon, in full sun. As you can see, the iridescence of the ibis's feathers becomes even greater, probably due to the sun's rays.

 

And throw in two shots of the ibis in flight and my afternoon was complete! :)

 

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PHOTO #8

 

PHOTO #9

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-out-of-alberta---white-faced-ibis Mon, 11 Jul 2022 00:40:01 GMT
"A BIRD OF MANY COLOURS" - White-Faced Ibis https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-a-bird-of-many-colours---white-faced-ibis "A BIRD OF MANY COLOURS"

White-Faced Ibis - 9 Photos

 

 

The White-Faced Ibis, I believe, has this exotic appearance - a bird type perhaps you would not expect to see in Southern Alberta. An ibis was, of course, sacred to the ancient Egyptians. 

 

White-faced ibises occur only in the Americas and they are indeed a bird of many colours! :)

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-a-bird-of-many-colours---white-faced-ibis Tue, 05 Jul 2022 15:22:37 GMT
"BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE" - Swallowtail Butterfly https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-butterflies-are-free---swallowtail-butterfly "BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE"

(OR PERHAPS BEAUTY & THE BEAST, Ref. Photo #6 & 7)

Swallowtail Butterfly - 7 Photos

 

So it's the biggest (See blog of June 30, 2022) to one of the smallest.

 

While watching along a creek for wildlife, a swallowtail butterfly flew in and for once, it actually landed and settled on a wild honeysuckle bush. It must have been attracted to the small pink flowers and the possibility of some nectar. 

 

Have seen swallowtails from time to time but never has one landed in close proximity and stayed for more than a tick in time.

 

And with the benefit of photography, you can actually see the make-up of the butterfly, from its hairy body to the dynamic colouring & patterning of the wings. 

 

The swallowtail might be one of the smaller animals on this planet but no less spectacular or essential. 

 

And it appears in Photo #6 & Photo #7, the swallowtail was photo bombed by a passing mosquito! Where is a dragonfly when it is needed??? :) On Photo #6, look closely to the upper left of the swallowtail's head.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/7/-butterflies-are-free---swallowtail-butterfly Sun, 03 Jul 2022 01:27:41 GMT
"CURIOUS MOOSE" - Moose (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-curious-moose---moose-north-american "CURIOUS MOOSE"

Moose - Bull (North American) - 9 Photos

 

So this could be "Are you "curious" (verb), Moose?" Or perhaps you are a curious moose (adverb)! :)

 

Whatever it is, this is a young bull moose, enjoying the lush meadows of the woods & the occasional drink of water from a cold river (Photos #7 through 9)

 

Like the porcupines, I love trees. Just as they do for the porcupines, they provide protection and shade from the sun. Unlike the porcupines, however, the type of protection does differ. When first encountering this moose, my first thought was that until I could determine its state of mind and demeanor, I would put at least one, if not two, trees between us. With a long lens, one definitely does not need to get close, but moose can cover distances quickly. Within less than a minute, he went back to grazing & wandering through the trees, munching on new green leaves from the trees. His ears were relaxed and he went back to normal moose business.

 

Sauntering through the tall grasses & wildflowers, he eventually made his way down to the river bank where he took a 15 minute break to take in some probably much needed refreshment. He then moved back up the bank where he disappeared into a small grove of trees. I could see the branches moving as he pulled off some leaves but that was the only sign a moose was there. How does a mammal over 6 feet tall and over 1,200 pounds disappear? So I left making my way loudly back up the trail.

 

Now let's discuss some of those moose attributes. One outdoorsman, I met last year, described the moose as a "peanut head". Perhaps not the most complimentary but it certainly fits. Then there is the tail, if you can call it that. I sometimes think the moose came late to the party when Nature was handing out body attributes and ended up with what was left over. The tail is merely a flap, not even useful for swishing flies. Perhaps that's why it ended up compensated with the "bell" or dewlap, the appendage that hangs down from the moose's throat. :)

 

The moose may appear ungainly but there is a certain majesty and grace to this large mammal. And with all those unique attributes, who can't recognize a moose.

 

PHOTO #1

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"YOUNG BULL MOOSE"

PHOTO #2

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"MOOSE IN THE WOODS"

PHOTO #3

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"GREEN CANOPY"

PHOTO #4

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"SAMPLING THE GOODS"

PHOTO #5

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"GRAZIING IN THE GRASS"

PHOTO #6

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"MOOSING IN THE GRASS"

PHOTO #7

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"MOOSE POSING ALONG THE BOW RIVER"

PHOTO #8

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"TAKING IN SOME REFRESHMENT"

PHOTO #9

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"COOL, COOL WATER"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-curious-moose---moose-north-american Thu, 30 Jun 2022 23:30:16 GMT
"RING OF BRIGHT WATER" - Black Crowned Night Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-ring-of-bright-water---black-crowned-night-heron "RING OF BRIGHT WATER"

Black Crowned Night Heron - 7 Photos

 

This particular Night Heron is quite distinctive. Its headdress (i.e. the white strips protruding from the top of its head) are actually feathered. Perhaps this is a transition to mature feathering or a unique feature to this particular heron. In any event, it's an intriguing bird.

 

And there's nothing like catching an animal in a focused state of mind, such as fishing and grooming, to allow for some photography.

 

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PHOTO #7

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-ring-of-bright-water---black-crowned-night-heron Wed, 29 Jun 2022 16:21:13 GMT
"THE METALLIC BIRD" - White Faced Ibis https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-the-metallic-bird---white-faced-ibis "THE METALLIC BIRD"

White Faced Ibis - 5 Photos

 

The ibis can be seen as symbolic of balance, adaptability, purity, mystery and unity. Because it raises its young in colonies, the ibis is also associated with socialization & cooperation.

 

The White Faced Ibis, particularly in flight can appear pure black but if you have the right lighting and angle, the mystery of this bird is revealed in its iridescent colours, almost metallic in nature.

 

It appears this species of ibis is venturing further north and is now seen regularly during the warmer months in marshes and ponds in the Calgary, Alberta, area. In the past, I have been fortunate to see the ibis on several occasions 75 kilometres southeast of Calgary but this is the first year I have had the opportunity to photograph one in flight in my own "backyard". Thanks for making the trip northwest!

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-the-metallic-bird---white-faced-ibis Sun, 26 Jun 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"SAY TREES!" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-say-trees---porcupine-north-american "SAY TREES!"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

Perhaps porcupines are the ultimate tree huggers! :) They certainly love their trees. They provide shelter, napping room, food & just somewhere to hang out (literally). 

 

So say "trees", porcupines!

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-say-trees---porcupine-north-american Thu, 23 Jun 2022 23:15:17 GMT
"DR. SEUSS ON NIGHT HERONS" - Black Crowned Night Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-dr-seuss-on-night-herons---black-crowned-night-heron "DR. SEUSS ON BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERONS"

Black Crowned Night Heron -  9 Photos

 

 

It's not exactly Dr. Seuss's "CAT IN THE HAT" but here we go. And as you will note all photos were taken mid-morning or afternoon. Perhaps we should look into the nomenclature of "Night" in Black Crowned Night Heron. :) 

 

Black Crowned Night Herons

You can find them in a pond

You can find them on a post

You can find them in a tree

You never know where they will be!

 

 

IN A POND

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ON A POST

PHOTO #6

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IN A TREE

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-dr-seuss-on-night-herons---black-crowned-night-heron Mon, 20 Jun 2022 23:51:20 GMT
"WHO'S HOO?" - Great Horned Owls https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-whos-hoo---great-horned-owls "WHO'S HOO?"

Great Horned Owls - Adult Male & Owlet (7 Photos)

 

 

Happy Father's Day to this male Great Horned Owl! :)

 

Because of the nurturing aspect of the female owl with her offspring, particularly after those first few weeks after hatching, we generally see photos of Mum and Owlet together.

 

However, the male owl has a huge responsibility to his family, hunting and protecting. That doesn't include that period when the female is sitting on egg(s) and cannot leave the nest. Then it is solely the male owl who hunts for both of them and keeps predators away.

 

This little owlet is growing quickly and its downy feathers now being replaced by adult ones. On the day these photos were taken, it was Dad who was owlet sitting, in close proximity to the owlet, probably giving Mum some time to relax. 

 

He was never far and flew in several times to be close to his offspring (Photo #1). As the afternoon progressed into early evening he took a new perch across the creek, still within sight range of his family but away from prying eyes. (Except, of course, for those tattletale robins!). (Photo #2 through to Photo #4).

 

And a Father's Day would not be complete without photos of an adorable & adoring little owlet (Photo# 5 through to Photo #7)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-whos-hoo---great-horned-owls Mon, 20 Jun 2022 00:49:20 GMT
"A SECOND CHANCE" - Osprey https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-a-second-chance---osprey "A SECOND CHANCE"

Osprey - 9 Photos

 

Most importantly, please keep reading right to the end of this rather lengthy blog. It is a good news story although it may not seem so at the start.

 

I came across an osprey on the ground, about 150 to 200 metres from the edge of the Bow River, in Calgary, Alberta, one morning towards the end of May 2022. It was situated in the grassy/rocky terrain down a small incline just past a grove of trees but not more than 10 metres from a well used gravel foot path in the park. This path is frequented by walkers, cyclists and dog walkers not all of whom keep their dogs leashed. (It is a rule in the park that all dogs must be kept on a leash.)

 

My first thought was avian flu but then watching it from a safe distance, it appeared very alert and one wing was slightly lower than the other. We had had extremely strong winds that morning. Perhaps it had made a dive into the water for a fish but got blown off course and had hit the water hard. Every 20 minutes or so, the osprey tried to move & try out its wings but with no success.

 

I sat down on a log alongside the far side of the path, where I could observe the osprey (or at least its white head from distance) and then called a Provincial authority to see if they would send someone down to check it out. 

 

My first contact was an extremely helpful young gentleman who was genuinely concerned. He told me that there was someone down in that area but for some reason he/she wasn't picking up his/her phone. He then spoke to his supervisor and he transferred me to another individual. And that's when the nightmare began.

 

Having apprised the individual that there was an osprey on the ground, with a suspected wing injury, I was advised that the bird was most likely guarding its nest and eggs on the ground and that I was to leave the area immediately so as not to stress the bird. I repeated that it was an osprey (who only build their nests in very tall trees or other areas high up such as platforms) and could they please send someone to investigate. I know of two osprey nests in the area and they are no where even close.

 

I also advised that it was important that someone stay with the bird (albeit from a safe distance) to ensure that people/dogs, etc. did not interfere with it as it was extremely close to a very busy well used path. (Did I mention it was a lovely morning when everyone was out.) I was told once again, very rudely, to leave the area. She finally gave me a number of a wildlife rescue centre and it was at that point, I knew no one from the Provincial authority was going to come.

 

Thanked her, hung up and called that number and left a detailed message. Over the course of the next three hours, I left three messages. No one called me back. (I do appreciate these facilities are busy but at least a call back would have been nice.) I kept vigil on the osprey and directed some individuals (two of which who had off leash dogs) away from the downed bird. Again, every so often it attempted to stand and get lift but to no avail.

 

Then I tried calling 311 (who were extremely concerned and couldn't assist), the number on the website of the Park's Information Centre which actually is a general number of Alberta Parks and starts with the message, "If you wish to book a campsite", and friends who had no other suggestions. Four hours later and no assistance.

 

So I walked back to the car & drove the 5 minutes up the road to the Information Centre. There were two individuals coming out (who were part of a Fish Creek Park association). I advised them what the situation was & it involved an osprey and was told there was no one inside who could be of assistance. Then one suggested that perhaps the bird was feigning an injury to lure me away from its nest. I repeated again that it was an Osprey not a robin. And his reply, "Well that's just Nature." So I got back in the car & drove back to the parking lot and walked back in. 

 

AND NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!

 

I arrived back to the osprey, completely downhearted but with the thought that I would at least take some photos to document this incident, (something I hate to do with an injured animal). The osprey was calm but became agitated when people & dogs went along the path.  The wind was out of the north and I had my back to the wind, facing the osprey. And then it began to flap its wings, took off towards me into the wind, banked west and landed a short distance on a four foot sand bar along the river.

 

I followed it to that area, took a few more photos, made sure it was okay, turned around for a brief moment and it took off and was gone into the air. I have never been so happy to see a bird take flight in my entire life. Perhaps, it had sustained an injury similar to our twisted ankle and it just needed some hours to recover.

 

I do not consider those five to six hours trying to find help, a waste or an infringement of my time. It all worked out for the best - a recovery with no real human interference. And I did leave with an extremely happy heart knowing that I had done everything possible to help that osprey on its way. The only question I have to ask is, "What if the injury had been more severe and wildlife really did need rescuing?"

 

FROM THE GRASSY TERRAIN

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FROM THE ROCKY SAND BAR

PHOTO #7

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-a-second-chance---osprey Wed, 15 Jun 2022 19:37:50 GMT
"SHAKE IT OUT" - Great Horned Owl (Owlet) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-shake-it-out---great-horned-owl-owlet "SHAKE IT OUT!"

Great Horned Owl (Owlet) - 7 Photos

 

Having taken refuge in the car mid day, I waited out the 40 minute thundershower.

 

As soon as the rain stopped and the blue skies returned (with white puffy clouds), I headed out to see how the Great Horned Owl family had faired in the wet weather. The three were in close proximity to each other, with the owlet on a low branch, drying out.

 

Unlike the previous week when a brief shower had occurred and the little owlet had screeched at its mother until the light rain had stopped (it lasted only 10 minutes), this time the little one appeared to be comfortable with its lot in life. (Perhaps Mum had explained there are no umbrellas in Nature, except for the natural canopy of leaves.)

 

And then we had the owlet equivalent of the wet dog shake, attempting to remove as much of the water from its feathers as possible (Photos #1 through 5). Those little spots around the owl are the water droplets. Then it was a brief spell in the Spring sunshine to help in the process. You just have to admire those fluffy underpants! :)

 

And was the drying process successful? Well the little one managed a brief flight (Photo #6 and Photo #7). Owls fly, of course, in complete silence which makes their predatory skills even more acute. Unfortunately, there is a trade-off - water, the owls' kryptonite, which is why it was so important for this owlet to remove as much water from the feathers before attempting to leave the branch.

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-shake-it-out---great-horned-owl-owlet Sun, 12 Jun 2022 23:35:51 GMT
"NARCISSUS" - Northern Flicker https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-narcissus---northern-flicker "NARCISSUS"

Northern Flicker (Male) - 5 Photos

 

 

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter, who fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away. (And this, of course, is where the term "narcissim" comes from.)

 

So when is a flicker not a flicker - when it's a floating. Two male flickers had a set to on a tree next to the creek. They did the flight chase straight down the tree and unfortunately, the lower one didn't pull out of the death dive in time and landed in the creek.

 

Now I have to give the flicker its dues. As soon as he hit the water, he immediately lifted up his tail feathers to keep them dry. He floated there a few seconds, probably a little bit surprised with his circumstances. And then flapped his wings and being so close to shore, it was no problem to reach land and dry out.

 

He never did look down at his reflection in the water, which I must say is quite magical, so perhaps he is not as narcissistic as we think.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-narcissus---northern-flicker Fri, 10 Jun 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"AFTER A HARD DAY'S NIGHT" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-after-a-hard-days-night---porcupine-north-american "AFTER A HARD DAY'S NIGHT"

Porcupine (North American) - 11 Photos

 

WARNING - These photos may induce sleepiness & a yearning to yawn!

 

The following photos were taken a couple of days after the May 25th, 2022 pairing of the young male porcupine & the older female porcupine. (See Blog of May 29th, 2022.) They are all of the female.

 

From the time I arrived (shortly after 10:00 a.m.) until I left at approximately 8:00 p.m., sleep & yawning were this porcupine's primary activities, with the occasional interlude of a shuffle up and down the branch. I generally shoot sitting down on the ground among the grasses, shrubbery & fallen trees so as not to disturb or bring attention to the wildlife I am photographing. And there is the temptation to fall off to sleep myself in such a relaxed atmosphere. :) 

 

I can only assume this was a recovery period for this porcupine from the excitement of earlier that week, with the porcupine pair frolicking (there is no other word for it) through the woods. I thought that very old Beatle's tune, "A Hard Day's Night" was very appropriate for its state of affairs.

 

You will see from Photo #8 and Photo #10  from the close up of the stomach, that this is indeed the female. She did give birth last year and successfully raised the little one, who now resides in a nearby area. However, this year she did not appear to have a baby.

 

And how do you keep track of "who's who" in the porcupine world? Well, they have a specific but large area where they reside, solitary for most of the year. And according to general knowledge, it is the male porcupine who comes a calling on the female for mating, if he can locate her. Porcupines can be very territorial, particularly the males. Females appear to tolerate their male offspring nearby but female offspring generally are pushed out.

 

The photos are of a horizontal & vertical nature. Because of the location on the porcupine & the "V" in the tree branches, we took on the roles of fashion photographer & super model (or wildlife photographer & charming porcupine). And close-ups of yawns, provide an opportunity to see inside a porcupine's mouth, teeth, tongue and palate!

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-after-a-hard-days-night---porcupine-north-american Tue, 07 Jun 2022 19:52:52 GMT
"WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY" - Great Horned Owls https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-window-of-opportunity---great-horned-owls "WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY"

Great Horned Owls - 11 Photos

 

This is a small window into the life of a young owlet and a window of opportunity for me to photograph this young bird of prey.

 

The day turned cloudy with brief showers. I heard a screech of an owlet in the woods nearby and when I went to check out its direction, much to my surprise I found the owlet low on a tree branch, extremely unhappy.

 

I suppose it might have been its first experience of being wet in the great outdoors outside of the nest and without its mother's protective wings. The screeching was to get its mother's attention who was in a tree nearby.

 

The showers stopped and a much happy demeanor returned to the little owlet. Over the course of the afternoon, it flew to three different trees and in the end, a fourth one where it ended up on a branch next to Mum (Photos # 10 & 11). Mum groomed her little one and she was rewarded with a bite from the owlet. I don't know if this was a demonstration of endearment or a hint that the little one was hungry but they flew to two separate trees shortly after.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-window-of-opportunity---great-horned-owls Mon, 06 Jun 2022 03:55:35 GMT
"LOVE AMONG THE RUINS" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-love-among-the-ruins---weasel-long-tailed "LOVE AMONG THE RUINS"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 9 Photos

 

Okay, so it's not exactly the ruins but an old building. And it's not really love but perhaps admiration but that weasel previously featured is back in the spotlight!

 

The photos that appeared in the May 14th, 2022 blog, were taken after the following set.

 

I had sat down in a grove of trees to finish my lunch, when I spotted a quick glimpse of the weasel making its way along a ridge. Grabbed my backpack & my camera and proceeded to see if I could locate where it had disappeared to. Weasels are so quick & nimble that I wasn't expecting to see it against the foundation of this older building, crouched down.  

 

I do not believe in any form of baiting and that includes audible calls or sounds. In this case, that would include not making the sound of an injured mouse. So I just softly talked, hoping to reinsure it that there was no intention to chase or do harm. There was no doubt the weasel could see me. I was standing upright not that far away and facing into the sun and weasels have sharp eyesight.

 

Very soon it began to stretch, slowly move about and eventually took a minute or two to have a great scratching session (Photos #3 through 6). It was probably there about 10 minutes but it felt much longer, probably so in "weasel time". Then it slowly made its way along the building and off it went hunting. I sat down on the grass, finished my lunch and the weasel returned at least two more times from either side of the building, hunting in the area close to where I was sitting which is when the previous photos were taken.

 

The whole session probably lasted an hour (and that includes the weasel downtime, i.e. when the weasel wasn't there), the longest I have ever spent with a Long Tailed Weasel. It was quite the experience to watch this little predator hard at work, not oblivious to me but not caring.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/6/-love-among-the-ruins---weasel-long-tailed Wed, 01 Jun 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"ONE NIGHT TREE STAND" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-one-night-tree-stand---porcupine-north-american "ONE NIGHT TREE STAND"

Porcupine (North American) - 12 Photos

 

According to scientific intel, female porcupines are only fertile 8 to 12 hours a year and they mate (if the male manages to find a willing female) in the Autumn.

 

"So what were these two up to?", I asked myself, being that it was May 25th.

 

Initially the female (the smaller & lighter colour of the two porcupines) was on the higher branch, with the male on the lower branch. All nether region private parts had been identified. :) 

 

As the evening progressed, the male climbed down from the tree which allowed the female to climb to the lower branch. He then re-climbed the tree taking her higher branch. Each one sniffed the other's branch. Eventually the female climbed down to the ground, followed shortly thereafter by the male.

 

It was now about half an hour to sunset. And that's when it all began. Once the two met up, it was a combination of sumo wrestling & Looney Tune Tasmanian Devils. Along with the rough & tumble physical side, was a mixture of squeaks, screams, humming & chatter. There was porcupine boxing, belly bumping (the one part of a porcupine's anatomy other than its face with no quills), and wrestling. They used the 1/2 square kilometre of woods as their "playpen".

 

Although much smaller than the male, the female gave as good as she got. The male (who I believe is younger), managed to get nailed by some small quills on his face and nose.

 

And the two no longer cared how close I was or how noisy. In fact, I had to quickly retreat several times  to avoid contact from these two rolling pincushions. I had the long lens retracted to its smaller limit in order to get in close enough to obtain as clean a shot as possible without too much of the shrubbery. The activity continued for approximately half an hour.

 

I never did see the actual "act" but it could have happened anytime undercover or when the two scampered off together, side by side, to retreat into the wooded area and quiet returned to the area.

 

So are porcupines keeping secrets? Perhaps they do like to meet up other than for actual mating purposes. The entire event although fairly rough and tumble, certainly appeared to be consensual for both parties. This species of porcupine is referred to as North American or New World Porcupine so perhaps they have new ideas :) ! 

 

Let's meet the cast of two.

 

PHOTO #1 - The Young Male (in profile)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"YOUNG MALE IN PROFILE"

 

PHOTO #2 - The Young Male (full side view)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"YOUNG MALE - SIDE VIEW"
 

PHOTO #3 - The Older Female (climbing down the tree)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"OLDER FEMALE CLIMBING DOWN TREE"

 

PHOTO #4 - The Older Female (in profile)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"OLDER FEMALE - SIDE PROFILE"

 

PHOTO #5 - The Pairing in the Tree

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"THE TREE STAND"
(Younger Male at top, Older Female at Bottom)

 

PHOTO #6 - Porcupine Belly Bumping (Female in foreground, Male in background)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"PORCUPINE BELLY BUMPING"
(Older Female in foreground, Younger Male in background)

PHOTO #7 - Porcupine Boxing (Male left, Female right)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"PORCUPINE BOXING"
(Younger Male - left, Older Female - right)

PHOTO #8 - "Porcupine Wrestling" (Female in the background, Male in the foreground)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"PORCUPINE WRESTLING"
(Older Female in background, Younger Male in foreground)

PHOTO #9 - Hide & Seek (Male on Top of Log) and Female is underneath (right bottom corner)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"LOOKING IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES"
(Young Male on log, Older Female underneath to the right)

PHOTO #10 - Hide & Seek cont'd (Male has been quilled probably from the Belly Bumping incident), Female (right bottom corner)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"LOOKING FOR LOVE"
(Younger Male on top of log, Older Female below at right)

PHOTO #11 - Search & Seek (Male & Female)

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"A BACKWARD GLANCE"
(Young Male on log, Older Female below)

PHOTO #12 - "Queen of the Castle" - Female at back, Male at lower level

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"QUEEN OF THE CASTLE"
(Older Female in background, Younger Male in foreground)

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-one-night-tree-stand---porcupine-north-american Sun, 29 May 2022 23:40:37 GMT
"CELEBRATION OF THE BIRDS" - Birds (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-celebration-of-the-birds---birds-north-american "CELEBRATION OF THE BIRDS"

Birds (North American) - Various (9 Photos)

 

As the Avian Flu continues to hit both wild and domestic birds alike, I thought it might be a good time to pause and celebrate some of the bird species that have migrated to or through the Calgary, Alberta region. Not all will be staying here until the Autumn for mating (such as the Osprey), some are indigenous to the area (Great Horned Owl) and some will be migrating north to breeding grounds not to return until late Summer or Autumn. 

 

So here are just a few. All photos were taken in the past three weeks. Captions have been added where appropriate.

 

PHOTO #1 - Yellow-Rumped Warbler

PHOTO #2 - Western Tanager

PHOTO #3 - American Bald Eagle (Immature - last year's offspring)

PHOTO #4 - Red-Necked Grebes (Courting)

PHOTO #5 - Red-Necked Grebes (The "Happy Dance" after the "act")

PHOTO #6 - Osprey

PHOTO #7 - Swainson's Thrush (?) 

PHOTO #8 - Great Horned Owl (this year's owlet)

PHOTO #9 - American Coot (with those legs, it could be an extra terrestrial visitor)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-celebration-of-the-birds---birds-north-american Tue, 24 May 2022 21:30:38 GMT
"DO PORCUPINES ONLY SLEEP DURING THE DAY?" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-do-porcupines-only-sleep-during-the-day---porcupine-north-american "DO PORCUPINES ONLY SLEEP DURING THE DAY?"

Porcupine (North American) - 9 Photos

 

In response to that age old question :) - "Do porcupines only sleep during the day?". Here are some photos with captions to document the answer.

 

 

PHOTO #1 - "COME ON - PUT EM UP" (a boxing porcupine???)

PHOTO #2 - "YOGA FOR PORCUPINES - THE LOTUS POSE"

PHOTO #3 - "HOWDY!" (Porcupines are certainly friendly!)

PHOTO #4 - "TIME FOR A BELLY RUB - NOT!"

PHOTO #5 - "LOOK MA - ONLY ONE HAND!"

PHOTO #6 - "I'M ALMOST THERE"

PHOTO #7 - "I CAN SEE THE LIGHT"

PHOTO #8 - "I'M SURE MY GPS SAID THIS WAY" (When it is convenient, turn around.)

PHOTO #9 - "GROUND ZERO"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-do-porcupines-only-sleep-during-the-day---porcupine-north-american Mon, 23 May 2022 01:47:27 GMT
"EACH ONE DESERVES RESPECT & PROTECTION" - Great Horned Owls https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-each-one-deserves-respect-protection---great-horned-owls "EACH ONE DESERVES RESPECT & PROTECTION"

Great Horned Owl (Adults & Owlet) - 7 Photos

 

WARNING - Some individuals may find some parts of this blog upsetting.

 

Having said the above, there is much to rejoice regarding one Great Horned Owl family. The female & male have managed to raise an owlet to fledging status. The owlet is now managing to scale trees with some wing flapping. Within a few weeks, hopefully it will graduate to flight, which will be one more huge step to full independence.

 

The photos of the female owl were taken on a very windy day prior to the little owlet fledging. The owlet was all cozied up in the tree trunk safe from the elements. As the female owl was sitting sideways to the wind on top of the nest, her feathers blew aside and you can clearly see in Photo #1, the opening for her true ear and eardrum. Photo #2 is a grooming shot, which shows off her beautiful feathers.

 

The photos of the male owl were taken during the similar time frame. I had been walking along the path & turned to look backwards, when I came face to face with Mr. Owl (Photo #3). Hence that big yellow eye stare. But no worries, got a few shots with the camera and then Mr. Owl went back to his well deserved nap. Photo #4 was taken on a separate day when the male was grooming.

 

Photos #5, #6 & #7 are of the lovely owlet with its mother. It seems to be a real "Mummy's Owlet", probably suffering from Only Owlet Syndrome" :)!

 

Moving on:

A friend has a cabin on MacGregor Lake, just southeast of Calgary, Alberta. For the past few years, a pair of Great Horned Owls have nested in fir trees close to his property. This year, for the first time during the Snow Geese migration, dead and sick Snow Geese have been found around the lake. Mammal predators like the coyote have not touched the carcasses. And yes, the cause of the illness is Avian Flu.  Some time during the past weeks, the male owl was found dead on the ground, some distance from the nest. 

 

As there was no movement in the nest for sometime, my friend had the unenviable task of using a ladder to scale the tree. As he got closer to the nest, he could see the female was erect but not moving. She too had passed but still on watch with her wings spread across the three owlets who had also died. Truly truly a sad outcome for five beautiful Great Horned Owls and huge heartbreak for my friend.

 

Owls do not scavenge but were most likely feeding on small birds that had been infected with the virus by the Snow Geese. Other birds that owls prey upon include small waterfowl. All five owls, of course, had died from Avian Flu.

 

The tree has now been cleaned and everyone in the area is hoping for the return of a nesting pair of owls in the next year or two.

 

And this is where the title of this blog comes from. Every owl is precious and even if a pair of owls have only one owlet, we should share in the joy with its parents, but always with respect as with all things wild. 

 

N.B. The Great Horned Owl is the Provincial bird of Alberta

 

PHOTO #1

Great Horned Owl - FemaleGreat Horned Owl - Female"HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE LOCATION OF AN OWL'S EAR?"

PHOTO #2

Great Horned Owl - FemaleGreat Horned Owl - Female'GROOMING ON A WINDY DAY"

PHOTO #3

Great Horned Owl - MaleGreat Horned Owl - Male"WHAT BIG YELLOW EYES YOU HAVE!"

PHOTO #4

Great Horned Owl - MaleGreat Horned Owl - Male"GROOMING"

PHOTO #5

Great Horned Owl - Female & OwletGreat Horned Owl - Female & Owlet"MUM GROOMING THE OWLET - Part 2"

PHOTO #6

Great Horned Owl - Female & OwletGreat Horned Owl - Female & Owlet"MUM GROOMING THE OWLET - Part 1"

PHOTO #7

Great Horned Owl - Female & OwletGreat Horned Owl - Female & Owlet"STRETCHING OUR WINGS"

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-each-one-deserves-respect-protection---great-horned-owls Mon, 16 May 2022 01:49:58 GMT
"LATE TO THE PARTY - PARTY ANIMAL" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-late-to-the-party---party-animal---weasel-long-tailed "LATE TO THE PARTY - PARTY ANIMAL"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 6 Photos

 

This is the first weasel that appeared in the May 7th, 2022 blog. As you can see, the colour of her coat is even more transformed into its summer wardrobe. Although it still is not as contrasting as the second weasel of that blog.

 

A second set of photos will appear in another blog in late Spring/early Summer but for now, here is our fierce predator chasing down pocket gophers. When it went into the gopher hole, dug it out further and then disappeared for some time, I really thought it would pop out with a rodent but unfortunately for both of us, no success.

 

And then off it pranced (there is no other word for it), onto the next venue.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-late-to-the-party---party-animal---weasel-long-tailed Sun, 15 May 2022 02:55:43 GMT
"WHAT ARE THOSE OSPREYS DOING NOW?" - Ospreys https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-what-are-those-ospreys-doing-now---ospreys "WHAT ARE THOSE OSPREYS DOING NOW?"

Ospreys - 10 Photos

 

 

So this pair of ospreys are back from their deep south Winter vacation and appear to be attempting to nest in their new site.

 

There has been at least 10 days of mating rituals so hopefully the female will soon be laying her eggs and the pair can begin the process of raising offspring.

 

The following photos were taken over two consecutive days. The second day had extremely changeable weather, going from partially cloudy to blue sky to ominous dark clouds with impending rain, which led to some interesting lighting conditions.

 

The first of the two days, I managed to capture the pair side by side on a tree branch close to the nest. (Photo #1) A rare opportunity for me as they are generally busy doing their nest building and fishing, independently. Usually they can be found side by side on the nest.

 

Photos #2 through 6 are of the incoming male, gently landing on the female and then departing.

 

Photo #7 is the male flying over the nest site.

 

Photo #8 is the female bringing in a rather large piece of wood (no small branches for her), to add to the nest. An amazing feat of flying and balancing with strong winds.

 

Photo #9. It appeared the male came in without being called, subsequently mated but not with a happy female and then was sent off, only to return with another large piece of wood material. The winds were so strong at this point, that he opened up his talons and dropped the piece onto the nest (Photo #10). I would say that is a look of astonishment and surprise by the female below. So I suppose even ospreys have marital spats.

 

The male returned shortly thereafter to the nest and marital bliss returned.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

PHOTO #10

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-what-are-those-ospreys-doing-now---ospreys Tue, 10 May 2022 16:13:42 GMT
"LATE TO THE PARTY" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-late-to-the-party---weasel-long-tailed "LATE TO THE PARTY?"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 6 Photos

 

This is a tale (not tail) of two weasels. Both were extremely cheeky & outfoxed me. Or should I should say "out weaseled me!

Weasel No. 1 was kind enough to stay in one place long enough to give the camera time to focus and take a couple of shots. Then it was off. I tried to follow its path through the wooded grove to find it at one point sitting, yes sitting, on the stump that I had just vacated. Gone again. Cheeky little weasel! :)

 

Weasel No. 2 popped up behind me as I was taking some shots of a pair of ospreys who have been putting the final touches to their nest building. I saw something out of my peripheral and there was the weasel peeking out from behind some debris. Off it scampered down the path.

 

So I tried to follow and met a couple on the path walking their dog. "You haven't seen a weasel by any chance?"  From their incredulous stares, I assumed "no". Then we all looked forward and there was the cheeky little weasel standing up on the path. "Oh, there it is", I said and caught a few quick shots.

 

And I might not be the only one late to the party.

If you compare the two weasels, you will probably see that the first one's chest & underbelly is mostly white. The second one's coat has turned that lovely tawny colour, including the underbelly. So Weasel No. 1 might be late to the party in the changeover of its coat from Winter to Spring. Or perhaps, just a different variation of colouring.

 

No matter what the reason, weasels with regard to this particular two-legged, are faster, more agile & probably even brighter. :) 

 

WEASEL NO. 1

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

 

WEASEL NO. 2

 

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-late-to-the-party---weasel-long-tailed Sun, 08 May 2022 01:37:45 GMT
"BLACKBIRD SINGING ..... " - Blackbirds (Red Winged & Yellow Headed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-blackbird-singing---blackbirds-red-winged-yellow-headed "BLACKBIRD SINGING IN THE ...... "

Blackbirds (Red-Winged & Yellow Headed) - 7 Photos

 

Unlike the song by Paul McCartney, this wasn't the dead of night, close to evening though. And as for the singing, well:

 

I  have a non scientific proposal. :) :)  When Nature was giving out her gifts to the birds, they had to choose two of the three following choices.

 

1. Flight

2. Beauty

3. Song

 

The little House Wren, for example, who appears basically a dull brown in colour with no distinguishing features, chose flight and song. And what a song it is. I believe it has been described similar to the song of the nightingale.

 

The American Bald Eagle has amazing flight and a majestic presence, particularly as adults with their striking white heads & stunning feathers. If you have ever heard the chatter of Bald Eagles, it is quite sweet but for such a large predatory bird, a little on the "wimpy" side if you forgive me for saying so!

 

The little Red Winged Blackbird (male), although pretty with its red/orange wing markings, is basically black. So its choices were flight and song, which has been described as a musical trill.

 

Then we have the Yellow Headed Blackbird (male). Striking with its bright yellow/orange head colouring, contrasted against its shiny black body and white wing patch. So flight & beauty were its choices. As for song, it has been described by some sources as this:

 

"Males sing a few musical notes followed by a screeching buzz, rather like a heavy door swinging on a very rusty metal hinge". :)

 

As mentioned in the beginning, these photos were taken close to sunset. And as to the why, I was looking for beavers (who obviously were waiting for darkness) and as to the how, well there's nothing quite like getting down and dirty in the marshy area, amongst the bull rushes. If you stay quiet in one place long enough, even the birds seem to recognize you as non-threatening.

 

Red-Winged Blackbird

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

YELLOW HEADED BLACKBIRD

 

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-blackbird-singing---blackbirds-red-winged-yellow-headed Thu, 05 May 2022 18:51:30 GMT
"SPIDERMAN, SPIDERMAN - DOES WHATEVER A ..." - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-spiderman-spiderman---does-whatever-a---porcupine-north-american "SPIDERMAN, SPIDERMAN - DOES WHATEVER A ... "

Porcupine (North American) - 6 Photos

 

Now I know this is a porcupine climbing down a tree but its movements can appear a little disturbing, if not intriguing. It almost looks like a person in a porcupine suit.

 

One rarely gets to see the complete action of a porcupine's legs in the climbing process. You can see the bending from the knee (Photo #3) and the extension of the leg as it gains a foothold (Photo #4). 

 

And of course, just to clarify that this is just a beautiful porcupine carefully descending, see Photo #6. It's amazing how a different perspective gives an entirely different look. :)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/5/-spiderman-spiderman---does-whatever-a---porcupine-north-american Tue, 03 May 2022 15:14:35 GMT
"THE AW FACTOR" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-the-aw-factor---porcupine-north-american "THE AW FACTOR"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

While just sitting enjoying the warm April sunshine, something appeared in my peripheral vision. Quickly glancing to the right, there was a porcupine making its way down the tree.  Someone made a movement from the other side of the creek and back it went, heading for those succulent buds at the top of the tree.

 

Eventually, it came down and went up a different tree later in the day. This was repeated twice more as evening drew in, each time going for those branches with the most buds. If the porcupine couldn't reach the buds located at the very end of the twigs, it would chew the branch through, grasp it and munch on the buds much like a child would lick a lollypop.

 

Every time I see a porcupine descend or ascend a tree, it's like the first time. I am in awe (no pun intended) of how careful but quick and agile porcupines are and how they magically disappear into the underbrush once they have reached ground. Those straw coloured quills provide tremendous camouflage. 

 

Rather than just take full body shots of this particular porcupine of its descending, ascending, etc.,  I was close enough with the long lens at maximum to take head or partial body shots.  And with close-ups, you really get to see in detail the porcupine's features, head & body. 

 

And I definitely think, this porcupine in particular, has the "aw factor".

 

PHOTO #1 - "DO PORCUPINES HAVE LIPS???"

PHOTO #2 - "THEY DEFINITELY HAVE WHISKERS"

PHOTO #3 - "AND NOSTRILS - ALL THE BETTER TO SCENT YOU WITH!!"

PHOTO #4 - "AND QUILLS IN THEIR EARS, AS WELL" - I NEVER NOTICED THIS BEFORE

PHOTO #5 - "PADS ON THEIR FEET THAT REMIND ME OF THE GRIPPY SOLES OF COMFY SLIPPERS"

PHOTO #6 - "LONGISH LEGS SO BETTER TO CLIMB WITH"

PHOTO #7 - "THE AW FACTOR!" :)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-the-aw-factor---porcupine-north-american Tue, 26 Apr 2022 19:11:17 GMT
"THE DEMONIC MINK" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-the-demonic-mink---mink-north-american "THE DEMONIC MINK"

Mink (North American) - 4 Photos

 

Now I am almost certain this "demonic" look in the eyes of the mink is due to eyeshine and the trick of shadows & light but it certainly gives this little mustelid a different perspective.

 

On the general side, this little mink was making use of the logs as scratching posts, particularly around his neck area (believe this is a male from its size and head shape). Like the porcupine who I have been watching who is frequently scratching, I believe this is due to both mammals trying to "brush" out winter coats. I have, in fact, seen tufts of old fur left on the porcupine's claws from scratching.

 

I did manage to catch this little mink scampering along a log but his fur behind his head is looking a little sad so I hope to be able to photograph him again once his sleek summer coat has come in and replaced that old fur.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-the-demonic-mink---mink-north-american Fri, 22 Apr 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"A WINDOW INTO A PORCUPINE'S WORLD" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-a-window-into-a-porcupines-world---porcupine-north-american "A WINDOW INTO A PORCUPINE'S WORLD"

Porcupine (North American) - 9 Photos

 

These photos are of the same porcupine but two different days, both days having variable weather conditions & strong gusty winds. Hence the "quill blown" look on the porcupine.

 

When there are opportunities to view a porcupine's face close up, you can see the character & expressions in its face, regardless of the dark fur.

 

That stare is probably the result of poor eyesight but the porcupine's hearing & sense of smell are strong. Like the beaver, they probably detect movement. And trust me, when you are trying to be completely silent when moving around an area, porcupines can detect the slightest sound of crunching leaves. 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-a-window-into-a-porcupines-world---porcupine-north-american Wed, 20 Apr 2022 15:49:54 GMT
"A PREDATOR'S LIFE IS NOT AN EASY ONE" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-a-predators-life-is-not-an-easy-one---coyote "A PREDATOR'S LIFE IS NOT AN EASY ONE"

Coyote - 11 Photos

 

The coyote was travelling along the ridge line across the river, out for late afternoon patrol and scouting for food (Photos #1 to #5).

 

A predator by nature and sometimes a scavenger, the coyote like other predators does not make a kill every time, whether that be with small or large prey. And it can be many attempts, before a successful hunt. 

 

This coyote had spotted something moving down on the shoreline and made that amazing leap down the incline, landing on the rocky shore (Photos #6 to #8). Perhaps it was a muskrat or a small rodent, but whatever it was, it was a miss for the coyote (Photo #9).

 

It jumped up the incline and back on its way, looking for more potential prey (Photos #10 & 11).

 

Coyotes are great opportunists and will easily take advantage of a free meal whether that be a carcass from a wild animal (including road kill) or garbage not secured. It is something to keep in mind, particularly in urban areas close to green spaces & parks. And, of course, as humans we must remember, "Never feed coyotes directly or indirectly."  This can potentially avoid human/coyote conflicts.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-a-predators-life-is-not-an-easy-one---coyote Tue, 19 Apr 2022 16:32:01 GMT
"NOT JUST ANY WALK IN THE PARK" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-not-just-any-walk-in-the-park---porcupine-north-american "NOT JUST ANY WALK IN THE PARK"

Porcupine (North American) - 10 Photos

 

This porcupine session began at 10:30 a.m. in the morning & I left for the day at approximately 4:30 p.m. I did take two brief walking tours around the area in the morning and the afternoon, leaving this fellow asleep (hopefully) in the sunshine and returned to my rather comfortable partially open fallen tree trunk each time. You just have to love Nature's furniture, luckily in this instance in a great viewing spot, with close proximity to the tree where the porcupine was lying.

 

As the afternoon wore on, the wind picked up with strong gusts and the clouds rolled in. It was at this point our quilled rodent decided to make his way down the tree. He had already partially climbed down previously, taking a position in the "V" of the tree to hang out and sample some of the new buds (another blog to come) & climbed back up, but this time it was the full descent.

 

I took a position to the north side of the tree and watched the porcupine, as it approached the first tree ledge. I had checked the area previously for any oncoming people traffic but as the weather had turned nasty, there was no one about. Now as he got closer to the bottom of the trunk, to the east I could see a young couple approaching with a Border Collie on a lead.

 

I stood away from the tree and made a hand signal to stop. Now this may be a surprise to some, but not everyone heeds a "stop sign". Some individuals who see an individual with a camera just carry on with an attitude. Fortunately, this time, the young couple who thought I was trying to photograph a bird, stopped some distance away. It shortly became evident to them there was a rather large porcupine trying to make his way down the tree. And it was a little tricky, because the wind gusts were not only blowing his quills around, but probably pushing on his body as well.

 

Then he made the final step onto terra firma and off he went, first parallel to me crossing the gravel trail and heading towards the tall grasses. I don't know whether he heard the clicking sound of the shutter or perhaps had got a sniff of me (but the wind was in the direction where it didn't carry my scent) but he suddenly turned and headed straight down the path towards the couple & their dog.

 

With some quick thinking, the young fellow scooped up the collie and the two stepped back off the trail. This time, our prickly friend must have caught their scent (most likely the dog's) did an immediate about face and headed back south into the tall grasses, where he, of course, disappeared and hopefully made it back safely to the grove of trees, with fallen logs, etc. to take refuge from the weather in its den.

 

I walked back to the threesome and thanked them for being so thoughtful and wildlife aware. They were both thrilled. The young woman had managed to take her phone out and get some awesome photos of the porcupine from both the side and coming towards them.  They said they had seen a porcupine only once before and were amazed at its size & colouring and to see one on the ground walking, well .....

 

So porcupines wherever you are, I am always willing to watch your back as you make that descent to the ground and act as, the British call them, your "lollypop lady", a woman who stands at crossings & holds up a stop sign to help, in this instance, porcupines cross the trails safely.

 

 

PHOTO #1

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PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10 - And this is what a porcupine looks like before it completely disappears. The "pointy end" is always the business end! :)

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-not-just-any-walk-in-the-park---porcupine-north-american Mon, 11 Apr 2022 19:12:58 GMT
"BYE FOR NOW" - Swans (Trumpeter) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-bye-for-now---swans-trumpeter "BYE FOR NOW"

Swans (Trumpeter) - 8 Photos

 

The Trumpeter & Tundra Swans have been in their full migration mode for the past few weeks, winging their way to the far North to nest, lay their eggs and raise their offspring.

 

As a final farewell to the Trumpeter Swans, here are a final set of photos highlighting their beauty & grace. What a true success story they have, having been brought back from the brink of extinction.

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-bye-for-now---swans-trumpeter Sat, 09 Apr 2022 00:50:47 GMT
"MY FAVOURITE RODENTS" - Beaver, Porcupine & Muskrat https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-my-favourite-rodents---beaver-porcupine-muskrat "MY FAVOURITE RODENTS"

Beaver, Porcupine & Muskrat - 9 Photos

 

It may be a strange title but most of the time, I forget these three are members of the order of Rodentia, the single largest group of mammals. They are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in both the upper & lower jaws.

 

That being said, when you think of rodents, you don't think cute or even adorable. But hopefully that opinion will change seeing the following group of photos.

 

Beaver (North American)

 

PHOTO #1 (Taken July 2021)

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

Porcupine (North American)

 

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

Muskrat

 

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-my-favourite-rodents---beaver-porcupine-muskrat Tue, 05 Apr 2022 23:43:38 GMT
"NO VERTICAL LIMIT" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-no-vertical-limit---porcupine-north-american "NO VERTICAL LIMIT"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

One of the most frequent comments I overhear from people when seeing porcupines in trees is, "I didn't know they climbed trees".

 

It is one of their favourite places to hang out, nap and sometimes munch during the colder months and in early Spring, when buds start to appear on the tree branches.

 

And can they ever climb. They are cautious and deliberate climbers whose technique reminds me of a rock climber scaling a precipice. 

 

This young porcupine decided it had had enough of napping in the sun and it was time for the descent, ascent and final descent to terra firma. It was back to its earth bound den for some resting up before venturing out again after sunset.

 

PHOTO #1

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"SUNSHINE"

PHOTO #2

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TREE"

PHOTO #3

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"FACE HOLD"

PHOTO #4

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"GETTING IN DEEP"

PHOTO #5

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"LONG WAY DOWN"

PHOTO #6

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"SPIDER P"

PHOTO #7

 

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"STUCK ON THE LEDGE?"

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/4/-no-vertical-limit---porcupine-north-american Fri, 01 Apr 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"IT DOESN'T GET MORE CANADIAN THAN ...." - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-it-doesnt-get-more-canadian-than---beaver-north-american "IT DOESN'T GET MORE CANADIAN THAN ..... "

Beaver (North American) - 10 Photos

 

It doesn't get more Canadian than a beaver on the ice (Photo #1). It probably could handle a hockey stick (Photos #2 & #3) but I'm not too sure whether helmets come in beaver sizes! :)

 

These photos were taken just before sunset and as you can see some of the ice still remains. Once that ice melts, the beavers will have access to their full "waterpark" and finding them will be more difficult.

 

The beaver expressions seemed to call out for some captions. So here we go!

 

It Doesn't Get More Canadian Than A Beaver On Ice

PHOTO #1

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"WHAT COULD BE MORE CANADIAN THAN A BEAVER ON THE ICE!"

 

Hockey Stick Practice

PHOTO #2

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"HOCKEY STICK PRACTICE #1"

PHOTO #3

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"HOCKEY STICK PRACTICE #2"

 

I'm NOT Chubby. Does This Coat Make Me Look Fat?

PHOTO #4

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"I'M NOT CHUBBY! DOES THIS COAT MAKE ME LOOK FAT??"

 

Of All The Ponds In All The Park, She Had to Walk Into Mine (An Homage to Casablanca)

PHOTO #5

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"OF ALL THE PONDS, IN ALL THE PARK, SHE HAD TO WALK INTO MINE" - Homage to Casablanca

 

I Wish I Knew What This Beaver Was Thinking

PHOTO #6

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"I WISH I KNEW WHAT THIS BEAVER WAS THINKING"

 

Glad That I Didn't Know What This Beaver Was Thinking

PHOTO #7

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"GLAD THAT I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THIS BEAVER WAS THINKING!"

 

Hopefully, It's True A Beaver's Vision Isn't All That Great (Hearing On the Other Hand!)

PHOTO #8

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"HOPEFULLY WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT A BEAVER'S VISION BEING POOR IS TRUE. HEARING ON THE OTHER HAND ...."

 

No, That's Not An Orangutan. Just A Wet Young Beaver

PHOTO #9

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"NO, THAT'S NOT AN ORANGUTAN. IT'S A YOUNG WET BEAVER"

 

The Beaver Rainbow Connection

PHOTO #10

Beaver - North AmericanBeaver - North American"THE BEAVER RAINBOW CONNECTION"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-it-doesnt-get-more-canadian-than---beaver-north-american Tue, 29 Mar 2022 16:24:37 GMT
"THE NOT SO HUMBLE MUSKRAT" - Muskrat https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-the-not-so-humble-muskrat---muskrat "THE NOT SO HUMBLE MUSKRAT"

Muskrat - 11 Photos

 

I do have some sympathy for the little muskrat. He/she is at the top of what seems to be, everyone's menu. That list includes but is not limited to coyotes, foxes, wolverines, raccoons and yes, herons (both Great Blue & Night Heron). 

 

Always thought of this rodent as prey and like its bigger cousin, the beaver, eater of plants, grasses.

 

That was until the other day. I saw this muskrat exiting the water and sitting on an ice shelf close to the shore. Set the camera settings and off I went. Who doesn't like a good muskrat on ice! Caught some shots while it scratched (Photo #1) and then it dived into the water. 

 

It swam under a sheet of ice and when it emerged, well at first I thought it was a mouthful of vegetation. Not!! (Photo #3 & Photo #4)

 

The muskrat had caught a sizeable fish. Our little rodent hauled it onto another ice shelf (luckily facing me), took a few minutes to admire its catch and then prepared to dine. It took about 15 to 20 minutes to finish off the well deserved meal, starting at the head and finishing off with the fins (bones & all). (Photo #5 to Photo #11) The muskrat then licked its paws and off it popped back into the water, swimming downstream, probably to have a nap. :)

 

Those white spots in Photo #11 are from a snow squall that descended upon the area. Pellets of snow and sunshine at the same time. Lasted about 10 minutes.

 

I checked out some general knowledge and unlike beavers who eat aquatic plants, woody material, grasses, etc., the muskrat eats aquatic plants as well as fish, frogs, crayfish and other small animals. So the "not so humble" muskrat can be a predator.

 

An osprey, eagle or mink would have thought this to be a sizeable meal. Well done, little muskrat. You certainly have shown you are not at the bottom of the food chain but keep watching over your shoulder. You never know who might be in the neighbourhood! :) 

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-the-not-so-humble-muskrat---muskrat Sat, 26 Mar 2022 23:30:19 GMT
"NORTHERN EXPOSURE" - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-northern-exposure---beaver-north-american "NORTHERN EXPOSURE"

Beaver (North American) - 4 Photos

 

I guess making that decision to go with the less expensive willow blinds which don't give total privacy was an error in judgement! :)

 

Believe this is one of the two adults who live in the lodge. I saw a total of six this particular evening. I assume the two "teenagers" last year have hopefully found their own accommodation. Last year's two kits have now grown into young adults and with the addition of two new kits, that makes six.

 

As the sun set further behind the horizon, all six eventually came out of the pond and hit the banks, munching on willow shoots. One of the kits paired up with the other adult, too far away and too enclosed with grasses to achieve a clear shot, but a sweet moment nevertheless. 

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-northern-exposure---beaver-north-american Wed, 23 Mar 2022 19:17:32 GMT
"BAND OF BEAVERS" - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-band-of-beavers---beaver-north-american "BAND OF BEAVERS"

Beaver (North American) - 9 Photos

 

So I drove by the beaver pond early in the morning and it was almost clear of ice, the middle still being frozen. Might be a good time in the evening to see if there is any beaver activity.

 

When I arrived early evening, the ice because of the warmer temperatures, had completely melted and the beavers were already out.

 

I believe I saw three different ones, probably two adults and one youngster (probably just over a year old). They were, of course, busy doing their busy beaver activities, collecting branches and muddy grasses for their lodge, with some time out for munching on some beaver snacks. 

 

Having reviewed the photos, I could identify the two adults because one has particularly clear & prominent eyes, perhaps female? (Photo #6 & Photo #7) The other large beaver had to be "Dad".

 

There was one brief moment when the youngster approached an adult with that soft "mewing" sound and they circled each other and then touched noses (Photo #9). I say mewing. It's the sound I have heard before when beavers audibly communicate with each other. It's almost a cross between a mew and a whimper and ever so sweet.

 

The other sweet sound was the chewing of twigs, etc. of the beavers, as they munched close to shore. It's one of those times, where there was just too much grass in the way to achieve a clear shot so the best option is to sit back and listen to some contented rodents.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9


 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-band-of-beavers---beaver-north-american Sun, 20 Mar 2022 17:13:17 GMT
"DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS" - Swans (Trumpeter & Tundra) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-daylight-savings-time-begins---swans-trumpeter-tundra "DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS"

Swans (Trumpeter & Tundra) - 10 Photos

 

Managed to get out early enough (with the time change) to catch a few Trumpeter Swans before they moved to a different location for the day.

 

The threesome wasn't there long & caught one photo in the departure (Photo #1).

 

Photo # 2 to Photo #4 are of the Trumpeters as they flew over the river later in the morning. They were in two groups and came in directly overhead. And no, they had no intention of landing. There wasn't the slightest indication of "landing gear" coming down even from viewing them from a distance. It did, however, provide a special opportunity to catch a couple close up in flight (Photo #5 & Photo #6).

 

The remaining four photos are of the female Tundra Swan & her youngster. They spent the entire morning feeding in the river non-stop. I assume they are now feeding up even more for the long migration north, which should be very shortly. The morning was particularly quiet and because of the stillness, I could frequently hear a very faint "hoo-hoo". At first I thought it might be a Great Horned Owl close by but then when I looked at the two Tundra Swans eating side by side, I realized it was them, softly talking to each other, particularly the young one. I have heard the sounds of Trumpeters & Tundras before, particularly as they are in flight but this was a first for me. And it genuinely touched my heart.  The things you hear in Nature when the air is still & no one is near. :)

 

Later in the afternoon, they moved upriver to a shoal where they spent some quality time together grooming those all important feathers. (Photo #7 to Photo #10)

If the youngster decides to return to his mother's wintering ground at the end of this year, its feathers will be completely white but most likely it will follow the rest of its species and proceed further south.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-daylight-savings-time-begins---swans-trumpeter-tundra Tue, 15 Mar 2022 16:17:03 GMT
"IT'S ALMOST TIME TO HEAD NORTH" - Trumpeter Swans https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-its-almost-time-to-head-north---trumpeter-swans "IT'S ALMOST TIME TO HEAD NORTH"

Trumpeter Swans - 9 Photos

 

The swans that have over wintered in Calgary, Alberta this year will very soon be heading north to nest and start families. Hopefully, they will have a head start of the swans that flew further south.

 

So thank you so much for brightening up those cold winter days with your angelic wings.

 

These three swans spent the early part of a morning, together. I believe it must be two parents & one youngster, born last year. You can see from Photo #1, Photo #3 and Photo #4 , its wings are mottled with some darker colouring.

 

And in this instance, managed to line the camera up just as they passed in front to catch the splashing as they began their long take-off.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-its-almost-time-to-head-north---trumpeter-swans Sun, 13 Mar 2022 01:18:59 GMT
"BIRDS IN FLIGHT (OR ALMOST)" - American Bald Eagle & Trumpeter Swans https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-birds-in-flight-or-almost---american-bald-eagle-trumpeter-swans "BIRDS IN FLIGHT (OR ALMOST)"

American Bald Eagle & Trumpeter Swans - 7 Photos

 

Here is a combination of "bird of prey" and waterfowl take-offs & almost take-offs.

 

On one side you have the quick dynamics of the American Bald Eagle with its acrobatic abilities. On the other, you have the 100 metre dash of the Trumpeter Swan with its 25 pound plus weight to achieve lift-off.

 

Once airborne, both demonstrate the beauty and grace of flight which we, as humans, can only dream of attaining.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-birds-in-flight-or-almost---american-bald-eagle-trumpeter-swans Wed, 09 Mar 2022 17:26:25 GMT
"FIR BABY" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-fir-baby---porcupine-north-american "FIR BABY"

Porcupine (North American) - 9 Photos

 

This sequence of photos was taken on a rather dismal snowy cold day between Christmas & New Year's Eve 2021.

 

Was just completing a walk in the frigid temperatures, when I looked up into a tall fir tree and saw something definitely moving across the branches. Yes, it was a large porcupine in its full winter coat, all fluffed up against the Winter weather.

 

I have never seen a porcupine dining on fir needles and cones before, but along with a diet of seeds, buds & bark - why not? And he was certainly chowing down, seemingly oblivious to the snowy weather.

 

And I refer to this porcupine as a "he" because of his size. When this porcupine sits around a tree, he really sits around a tree. (See Photo #5 to see his full length.) Now I guess we should allow some leeway for his wintery finery, but from the photo, as he is hanging from the branch, you can see his size from head to tail. He is one big porcupine.

 

After an hour or so,  I left" Mr. Fluffy" and headed back to the car. The porcupine & my camera battery both had outlasted me in the cold. 

 

PHOTO #1

 

PHOTO #2

 

PHOTO #3

 

PHOTO #4

 

PHOTO #5

 

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-fir-baby---porcupine-north-american Fri, 04 Mar 2022 08:30:00 GMT
"WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT" - American Bald Eagle https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-whats-love-got-to-do-with-it---american-bald-eagle "WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT"

American Bald Eagle (Male & Female) - 9 Photos

 

Further to the blog, "Feathered Royalty" of February 18 , 2022, I decided to combine the two remaining blogs into this one. (The sun was slowly coming round the tree where the eagles were perching, hence the combination of back light & side light.)

 

As mentioned previously,  I discovered the male Bald Eagle of the pair, sitting on one of his favourite branches overlooking the river. Took some shots and then from the south, came a second adult which landed close to him on the same branch. Going by some general knowledge, the female American Bald Eagle is generally one-third larger than the male. 

 

Some lovely eagle chatter ensued (Photo #5) and then the two just hung out together for approximately 20 minutes. The male then flew off and fifteen minutes the female followed, unfortunately away from me.

 

So here we have some photos of the gorgeous female Bald Eagle (Photo #1 to Photo #4 ). Photo #5 to Photo #8  are of the pair side by side. Photo #5 is the female doing that endearing eagle chatter.

 

Photo #9 is of the male in flight after he completed a fly-by.

 

American Bald Eagles mate for life and still court/re-declare their vows each year. And last weekend, I saw one of the pair heading toward the nest with nesting material. Hopefully, young eaglets will soon be on the way! :)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-whats-love-got-to-do-with-it---american-bald-eagle Wed, 02 Mar 2022 18:23:47 GMT
"MORNING HAS BROKEN" - Swans (Trumpeter) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-morning-has-broken---swans-trumpeter "MORNING HAS BROKEN"

Trumpeter Swans - 12 Photos

 

To come across and approach Trumpeter Swans and not have the immediate take-off, is almost a surreal experience. Add in some soft early morning light and it can be magical.

 

Photos #1 through #7 are of the swans grooming and stretching their wings after a period of resting along the icy shore, taken just as the sun rose above the river channel.

 

Photos #8 through #12 are of several take-offs. It really is a 100 yard dash. It takes that long for a Trumpeter Swan which weighs more than 25 pounds to get airborne. They hit the water surface hard and it can sound like galloping horses before they achieve lift-off.

 

And then, of course, there is the non-angelic side of swans. Check out Photo #7. I chose one of a series of four, where one Trumpeter actually bit the other and I don't believe it was a love bite.

 

PHOTO #1

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PHOTO #12

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-morning-has-broken---swans-trumpeter Sun, 27 Feb 2022 02:29:31 GMT
"AS THE SUN SLOWLY SETS" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-as-the-sun-slowly-sets---porcupine-north-american "AS THE SUN SLOWLY SETS"

Porcupine (North American) - 8 Photos

 

One porcupine, one clear branch & a late afternoon.

 

From late afternoon until almost dusk, you can see the change of light as the sun slowly moved around to the West. And yes, it was seriously blowing that afternoon, so you can see on some of the photos, the quills being parted by the wind.

 

Porcupines do not appear to like to have the sun shining directly into their faces nor do they like to face into the wind. So this little snuggle bug was cozied up with its back to the wind, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine on its body.

 

 

PHOTO #1

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PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

PHOTO #6

 

PHOTO #7

 

 

PHOTO #8

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-as-the-sun-slowly-sets---porcupine-north-american Wed, 23 Feb 2022 16:54:00 GMT
"NO, IT'S NOT THE ARCTIC" - Swan (Tundra) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-no-its-not-the-arctic---swan-tundra "NO, IT'S NOT THE ARCTIC"

Swan (Tundra) - 11 Photos

 

It may look like the bleak Arctic but it's not. It's an iced shoal in a river in Calgary, Alberta, CA after a dump of snow and - 16 degree C temperatures. And yes, it did stop snowing at the time the photos were taken and the sun every so often peaked out from behind the clouds.

 

This adult Tundra swan (who I assume is a female) and her offspring from last Spring were hunkering down on the ice, wrapped up in their beautiful feathers. Usually, they are relatively close together, even when feeding in the river, but in this instance, the female was closest to the shore where I was sitting. The youngster was on the opposite side of the "iceberg", probably 60 feet away. 

 

Perhaps, there had been some parent/teenager incident prior to my arrival. :) As you will see from Photo #9 , the adult had decided enough with the sleeping and grooming, it was time for some food and entered the water. She repeatedly called to her offspring to come & join her and eventually after many soft calls, it answered. Answered only, it did groom occasionally but the majority of the time, it went back to snuggling down into those white feathers. I suppose it just didn't want to "get out of bed". I couldn't blame it's reluctance. Who wants to leave a warm bed for a very icy cold venue.

 

PHOTO #1

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PHOTO #11

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-no-its-not-the-arctic---swan-tundra Mon, 21 Feb 2022 04:23:36 GMT
"FEATHERED ROYALTY" - American Bald Eagle https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-feathered-royalty---american-bald-eagle "FEATHERED ROYALTY"

American Bald Eagle - 11 Photos

 

This will be the first of three blogs, featuring this particular pair of American Bald Eagles. This blog includes photos of the male of the pair. The second blog will have photos of the female and the third & final blog will be of this magnificent pair together, side by side. 

 

The pair have a nest close by but in an extremely safe & protected location. I believe they have nested in that same tree for several years now probably due to its seclusion from prying eyes & its proximity to a constant food source. They can be observed from a distance flying back & forth to the nest area, hopefully preparing it for laying this Spring.

 

This particular tree branch is a favourite of the eagles. It overlooks the river and surrounding forested area. 

 

There is one sure thing about eagles, particularly in relatively open spaces, they see you. They know you are there, particularly if you are sitting on a log close by and waiting for that all important departure, hopefully not in the opposite direction.

 

Am not certain what this eagle was looking at. Yes, looking down towards the river made sense and perhaps hoping to spot a careless duck or a fish but I could not determine what it was spying on the ground below. Hopefully, it wasn't some very unlucky weasel hunting rodents. It would be a very difficult decision for me as to which animal to cheer for, Team Eagle or Team Weasel! :)

 

Maybe he was just striking poses for the camera, giving me that thoughtful look, or that tough eagle look or even that sly glance. Anyways, I was so involved in keeping a close eye on departure times, that when the eagle did take off and I turned the camera towards the direction of the river, I had not noticed that a blue sky had been creeping up on me from behind, replacing the hazy blue sky with a bright blue one. Just love it when a plan comes together even when there is no plan.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-feathered-royalty---american-bald-eagle Sat, 19 Feb 2022 00:22:00 GMT
"BE MINE" - Trumpeter Swans https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-be-mine---trumpeter-swans "BE MINE"

Trumpeter Swans - 8 Photos

 

It's after Valentine's Day but this still is a love story.

 

A bevy of Trumpeter Swans were chilling (no pun intended) in the icy waters of the river. Around them were Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks, Common Golden-Eyes and other waterfowl.

 

It seemed everyone other than the swans, were at it - chasing off rivals, pursuing mates, etc. The swans just looked on at first, watching all the splashing & listening to the squawking and honking.

 

Then one pair of swans moved to the "center stage" of the river. Enough of this nonsense, they showed how it should be done, with an elegance and tenderness I have not witnessed before. Although there was an amount of wing flapping & display, on the male's part (the cob), there was no aggressiveness, only a mutual partnership.

 

Swans usually mate for life and this pair certainly demonstrated their commitment. And yes, there was some head bobbing and quiet honking not captured by still photography.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-be-mine---trumpeter-swans Tue, 15 Feb 2022 23:49:31 GMT
"WINTER CROSSING" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-winter-crossing---coyote "WINTER CROSSING"

Coyote - 5 Photos

 

It was the swans in the water but close to shore,  that sounded the alert that a coyote was close by.

 

He/she had been hunting in the grassy terrain but took a small detour along the icy shoreline. Perhaps it was to gain some ground quickly with the flat surface or perhaps it was to check out any potential prey such as small ducks on shore or anything it could scavenge.

 

Whatever the reason, the coyote definitely was on a mission with a brisk trot, covering the ground effortlessly.

 

After the brief icy interlude, it returned once again to the tall grasses of the meadow, hopefully to find voles/mice etc. who may also have come closer to the surface to enjoy the Winter sunshine.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

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PHOTO #5

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-winter-crossing---coyote Sun, 13 Feb 2022 03:12:14 GMT
"WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-what-goes-on-behind-the-scenes---porcupine-north-american "WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES"

Porcupine (North American) - 11 Photos

 

So it's back to one of my favourite rodents, again, the North American porcupine (also known as the Canadian porcupine?). It is a member of the New World porcupine family.

 

Now if you haven't seen the 1987 old classic advert for Kit Kat chocolate bars, starring two pandas (actors dressed in costumes), search it out. I believe it to be every wildlife photographer's nightmare. But again what you don't see, you don't miss.

 

I had that particular moment (thank goodness as a viewer) a week or so ago while watching a porcupine sleeping in a tree, close to a walking path. It was asleep with its back towards me and its furry brown face looking into the branches on the other side.

 

I hadn't been there long when a young couple approached, out for their afternoon walk and came across me. Anytime someone sees you with a camera, looking up, there is the inevitable question, "What are you looking at?". "Look behind you and up", I replied. They looked and were surprised & thrilled to see a porcupine in the wild. Unfortunately, at first glance, its backend was all you could see. Then after a few minutes, the porcupine turned sideways and they could see its face in profile.

 

After a few questions and thank you's, they continued on walking.

 

It couldn't have been more than 10 minutes, when "P" (let's call him that for now), woke up and moved from one side of the trunk to the other side via the limb network. He then proceeded to climb down the tree and into the surrounding shrubbery & log pile. You couldn't see much of P, what with the tall grass and logs but you could hear him munching away on some dead leaves. Occasionally you could see a few quills moving & the top of his head. So I just stood there taking it all in and watching his back (literally and figuratively) so that no harm would come to him. And no one came.

 

Then only minutes later, P climbed back up the tree to his original position and fell asleep. And that's when I left him.

 

I looked back as I proceeded down the path and if porcupines snore, P certainly would be. And yes, seconds later I met someone coming the other way. We exchanged "hello's" and then I watched as the individual passed by the sleeping porcupine, totally unaware of all the activity that had occurred over the duration of the past 5 to 10 minutes. 

 

As porcupines go, even though I think they are all so sweet, this one has so much expression in its face, you would love to give him a "virtual" hug.

 

PHOTO #1

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"PEEK-A-BOO"

PHOTO #2

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"MAKING OUR WAY ACROSS"

PHOTO #3

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"SPOTTED?"

PHOTO #4

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"RUN FOR IT"

PHOTO #5

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"GET SET"

PHOTO #6

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"IT'S SCRATCH THE LEG TIME"

PHOTO #7

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"NOW ON TO THE TAIL"

PHOTO #8

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"AND IT'S DOWN WE GO!"

PHOTO #9

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"AND ANOTHER STEP"

PHOTO #10

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American'TAIL UP GOING DOWN"

PHOTO #11

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"A BIRD'S EYE VIEW"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-what-goes-on-behind-the-scenes---porcupine-north-american Tue, 08 Feb 2022 20:18:47 GMT
"THE WARY COYOTE" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-the-wary-coyote---coyote "THE WARY COYOTE"

Coyote - 5 Photos

 

I first saw this coyote on the edge of a walking path. At first, I thought it was a dog that had gotten loose from a dog walker I had just passed. It had quickly looked at me, looked at the dogs and their owner and had gone in the complete opposite direction from us.

 

As all her three dogs were very small terriers (all on leads), I took a second look and the coyote had disappeared into the underbrush like a ghost. I met her again on the way back. She, too, had spotted the coyote and had decided to change the direction of her walk to move away from it just in case. 

 

By following along a parallel path, I managed to catch up to the coyote from a distance. Again a gentleman walking his Great Pyrenees on leash had spotted it in the meadow. He took a few minutes to wait for the coyote to go in deeper and then walked on. Although his dog repeatedly pulled him over to the edge of the path, the coyote continued to go deeper into the grasses. At one point, it actually sat among some shrubbery, keeping a low profile (Photo #4). It stayed there for some time until both man and dog had gone some distance before coming out and going on its way, looking for prey in the meadow.

 

As you will see from the photos, this is one beautiful example of "Canis latrans", which translates to "barking dog". He/she demonstrated how we can all live in harmony with wildlife providing we, as humans, follow the following rules:

 

1. Do not feed wildlife. It may be hard for us to understand but they do very well on their own, keeping to their natural diet.

2. When in areas where signage indicates "All dogs must be on leash", please adhere to that rule. We may not see wildlife such as coyotes but they certainly see us. Coyotes can have dens and/or pups in an area and like all parents, are very protective of their young.

3. If the area is an off leash area, please ensure your dog has excellent recall and returns to you immediately you call. And always keep an eye on your pet so that it doesn't go too deep into an area where there are not only coyotes but deer and other wildlife such as porcupines. Off leash doesn't guarantee without hazards.

 

This canid certainly showed how respectful it was of humans. We should always try to reciprocate just like the two individuals above walking their dogs.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-the-wary-coyote---coyote Mon, 07 Feb 2022 16:44:11 GMT
"HAS ANYONE ELSE CHANGED THEIR MIND?" - Muskrat https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-has-anyone-else-changed-their-mind---muskrat "HAS ANYONE ELSE CHANGED THEIR MIND?"

Muskrat - 11 Photos

 

So here is our little muskrat again, quickly becoming my second favourite rodent (the beaver & porcupine being tied for first place). :)

 

This time, captured our semi-aquatic mammal on a V-shaped branch caught up in the ice, making its foray back and forth, with shoots & water plants to nibble on. Mild winter times must be halcyon days for muskrats. Food is aplenty in fresh running water, with ice shelves and debris such as this branch to relax on. And with predators such as herons, etc. enjoying their time down south in warmer climates, muskrats can bask in sunshine a little more out in the open without so much anxiety of becoming someone's next meal.

 

For such a small brown mammal, there is such great character in expression of its face, hands & feet. So I couldn't resist providing the following photos with their own captions (but not necessarily serious ones).

 

Hopefully, I am not the only one out there who has changed their mindset from "ooh, rodent :("  to "ooh, cute furry mammal :)"!

 

 

PHOTO #1  - "Say Cheese Or Whatever Is The Muskrat Equivalent"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)'SAY CHEESE OR WHATEVER IS THE MUSKRAT EQUIVALENT"

PHOTO #2 - "Woof!"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"WOOF"

PHOTO #3 - "Oh No, Where Did I Put It?"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"OH NO - WHERE DID I PUT IT??"

PHOTO #4 - "Chubby Cheeks & Hands"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"CHUBBY CHEEKS & HANDS"

PHOTO #5 - "On The Beach, The Ice Beach That Is!"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"ON THE BEACH, THE ICE BEACH THAT IS"

PHOTO #6 - "Giving Thanks To Nature"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"OH SO GOOD!"

PHOTO #7 - "The Itsy Bitsy Muskrat Climbed Up The Wooden Stick"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"THE ITSY BITSY MUSKRAT CLIMBED UP THE WOODEN STICK"

PHOTO #8 - "Who Is That Cool Dude Down There?"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"WHO IS THAT COOL LOOKING DUDE DOWN THERE?"

PHOTO #9 - "TGIF or Toes Go In First!"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"TGIF OR TOES GO IN FIRST"

PHOTO #10 - "Even A Muskrat Has A Serious Side"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"EVEN A MUSKRAT HAS ITS SERIOUS SIDE"

PHOTO #11 - "Can A Muskrat Enjoy Music?"

Muskrat (North American)Muskrat (North American)"CAN MUSKRATS ENJOY MUSIC?"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/2/-has-anyone-else-changed-their-mind---muskrat Mon, 31 Jan 2022 23:04:21 GMT
"SNOW WARRIOR" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-snow-warrior---porcupine-north-american "SNOW WARRIOR"

Porcupine (North American) - 5 Photos

 

Caught in the snow landscape, this porcupine with its relatively short stature, certainly can take on wintery conditions & snow covered slopes. And no snowshoes required.

 

I only wish I could cover the snow as quickly and as smoothly as this rodent can.

 

Photo #1 could be a portrayal of the "Mohawk" character from a "Mad Max" movie, pointy mohawk and all! :)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-snow-warrior---porcupine-north-american Sun, 30 Jan 2022 02:54:19 GMT
"THE MIGHTY MUSKRAT" - Muskrat https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-the-mighty-muskrat---muskrat "THE MIGHTY MUSKRAT"

Muskrat - 9 Photos

 

Coming up from downriver late in the afternoon, I spotted a muskrat swimming across the river, then another one. When I investigated further, I could see a little brown ball of fur sitting on a small ice shelf, out of the water.

 

I then went into that internal discussion with myself. Do I or don't I pursue it? Muskrats, with good reason, are extremely wary & have great hearing. (In the warm months and the birds have returned from the south, they are a favourite food source of herons, both Great Blue & Night Herons.) 

 

It will probably hear me and dive back into the water. Oh what the heck - it's on the way back to the car anyways. So in my stealth mode (with heavy winter boots and noisy traction treads for the icy conditions), I followed the path down, stepped around a large pile of logs, turned around and low and behold the little muskrat was still there. 

 

(The muskrat was sitting on a sheet of clear ice with a small amount of water on the surface. Some of the images contain reflections and some (such as the tail and feet) are the actual mammal just under water.)

 

Snapped a few shots. The muskrat went quietly back in the water and returned again with some yummy shoots from the river bed. It did that time and time again. At one point, it was joined by a larger muskrat (Photos #7 & #8), who I assume was its parent.

 

This went on for some time as the sun slowly began to set. And then a large flat rectangular piece of ice came down the river, hit the shelf and scared both of them into the water.

 

Muskrats are probably not everyone's favourite rodent but they do have cute faces and resemble the water vole of Britain. They can cohabitate with beavers in lodges and have been seen with the use of an inside trail camera, doing needed repairs on the inside of the beaver lodge. So no free ride there! And am sure the beavers appreciate the extra help.

 

And that log pile I stepped around, was a small beaver lodge!

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5 - There is something very "Gandolf" from "Lord of the Rings" about this one! :)

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-the-mighty-muskrat---muskrat Tue, 25 Jan 2022 17:40:05 GMT
"ON THE WINGS OF ANGELS" - Trumpeter Swans https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-on-the-wings-of-angels---trumpeter-swans "ON THE WINGS OF ANGELS"

Trumpeter Swans - 9 Photos

 

From a species that was almost driven to extinction early in the 20th century to a species whose numbers are increasing, seeing these magnificent birds, once again, overwintering in Calgary, Alberta, CA is truly an amazing sight.

 

This pair flew in to join an adult Tundra Swan & juvenile (another blog to come) already settled on an ice shelf along the river's edge. Interestingly, the two Tundra Swans moved further in on the shelf to allow the Trumpeters sufficient room to manoeuvre. There appears to be a quiet politeness among the swans. :)

 

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PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

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PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-on-the-wings-of-angels---trumpeter-swans Mon, 24 Jan 2022 00:28:25 GMT
"SNOW BABY" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-snow-baby---porcupine-north-american "SNOW BABY"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

Opportunities such as the one evidenced below don't come along very often. Sometimes it's only once in a lifetime! 

 

And thank goodness that although porcupines have acute senses of smell & hearing, their vision (like their larger cousin, the beaver) is relatively poor. I probably looked like some short irregular tree! :)

 

PHOTO #1

 

 

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-snow-baby---porcupine-north-american Mon, 17 Jan 2022 05:08:21 GMT
"THE WEASEL'S ALTER EGO" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-the-weasels-alter-ego---weasel-long-tailed "THE WEASEL'S ALTER EGO"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 3 Photos

 

If anyone has ever seen a weasel, be it in the wild, on television or in photos, I am certain that most would agree they are extremely cute, if not down right adorable.

 

But, of course, there is the other side of weasels. It is not an evil side. Their hunting skills are their way of surviving. Unlike humans, predatory wildlife do not have the luxury of heading out to the grocery store to obtain their next meal.

 

And they are an integral part of the balance of Nature. Without weasels, owls, coyotes, etc., we would be overrun with rodents, etc. which would destroy trees, shrubbery and greenery in the environment. It is a careful balance. Decimate a prey source such as prairie dogs or snowshoe hares and you eliminate mammals such as the Black Footed Ferret (in the case of prairie dogs) and the Canadian Lynx (in the case of snowshoe hares). As one source increases in numbers, so does the other. One decreases and the predator follows suit.

 

This may be the answer to a question humans often pose, "What could possibly go wrong?" Nature knows all too well.

 

PHOTO #1

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"UNDER THE ARCHES"

PHOTO #2

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"ON THE LOOK OUT"

PHOTO #3

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"THE LEANING WEASEL"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-the-weasels-alter-ego---weasel-long-tailed Sat, 15 Jan 2022 02:46:43 GMT
"TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-take-a-walk-on-the-wild-side---porcupine-north-american "TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

 

So the following is a Step-By-Step "How To" with photos for porcupines on climbing trees. Not that they need any assistance but let's have some fun! :)

 

Step 1 - Locate a suitable tree

PHOTO #1

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"LOCATE A SUITABLE TREE"

 

Step 2 - Evaluate size & location. In this instance, "No too small"!

PHOTO #2

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"EVALUATE SIZE & LOCATION - IN THIS CASE, "NO TOO SMALL""

 

Step 3 - Stake out your claim

PHOTO #3

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"STAKE OUT YOUR CLAIM"

 

Step 4 - Stand tall with our tail for balancing

PHOTO #4

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"STAND TALL WITH OUR TAIL FOR BALANCING"

 

Step 5 - A long climb starts with the first step (check out the rear foot as it lifts from the ground)

PHOTO #5

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"A LONG CLIMB BEGINS WITH THE FIRST STEP - CHECK OUT THE REAR FOOT AS IT LIFTS FROM THE GROUND"

 

Step 6 - All feet in contact with the tree. Start climbing.

PHOTO #6

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"ALL FEET IN CONTACT WITH THE TREE. START CLIMBING"

 

Step 7 - Keep on climbing until you reach your destination

PHOTO #7

Porcupine - North AmericanPorcupine - North American"KEEP ON CLIMBING UNTIL YOU REACH YOUR DESTINATION"

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-take-a-walk-on-the-wild-side---porcupine-north-american Tue, 11 Jan 2022 23:27:57 GMT
"PULLED ON MY HEART STRINGS" - Raven (Common) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-pulled-on-my-heart-strings---raven-common "PULLED ON MY HEART STRINGS"

Raven (Common) - 3 Photos

 

Ravens can appear in folklore as positive or negative entities.

 

In Northwest Coast mythology, Raven is the powerful figure who transforms the world.

 

In the natural world, some view them as dark, noisy birds who can be quite intimidating because of their attitude, size and plain looks.

 

Two years ago, a pair of ravens decided for some reason to build their nest in my columnar fir tree in my backyard. They decided not to go with the huge fir trees in the green space close to my property. Perhaps they felt it was too busy with dog walkers, etc.

 

As it was early Spring, I did need to access the backyard to gardening, etc.  On my first attempt, I was greeted by two somewhat vocal ravens. So we had a "quiet discussion". "You can have that quarter of the garden undisturbed by me for the duration of your nesting period and I need to access the other three quarters". And after that, no issues.

 

It was a great pleasure to watch these parents fly back and forth bringing food to their two youngsters once they had hatched and then to see the two fledglings sitting on the wooden fence waiting for their parents to bring back the goods. 

 

Unfortunately, they did not return to nest the following year. Maybe they were new nesters and realized that there were much bigger trees out there to raise a family. I did miss them.

 

Ravens mate for life and like American Bald Eagles, they usually confirm (or re-confirm) their "vows" early in the New Year. Last year I was very fortunate to witness and photograph a pair of Bald Eagles doing just this in a tree and it went on for quite some time.

 

I happened upon this couple in the process of their vow exchange and it literally pulled at my heart strings. Their looks are so tender and the silver colouring in their wings, striking as the sun brought out the highlights. May they have a long and successful partnership!

 

PHOTO #1

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PHOTO #3

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-pulled-on-my-heart-strings---raven-common Fri, 07 Jan 2022 08:30:00 GMT
"ME AND MY SHADOW" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-me-and-my-shadow---weasel-long-tailed "ME AND MY SHADOW"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 8 Photos

 

 

Think it might have been the one day change in the weather to much milder temperatures that brought this charming predator out and more visible. With warmer temperatures, one would assume that small prey such as voles and mice would be coming closer to the surface of the snow.

 

I'll take any reason to see and photograph a busy weasel. Luckily this one, took some pauses and time for poses, in its busy work schedule. 

 

With the sun behind me and shade provided by surrounding trees & shrubbery, it was the perfect scenario for shadow play. 

 

So here is one delightful weasel playing "Me and My Shadow"! (Oh and in Photos #3 & 4 - I swear that's a weasel smile :) !)

 

PHOTO #1

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"NO, THIS ISN'T A PHOTO STUDIO"

PHOTO #2

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"SURVEYING THE SURROUNDINGS"

PHOTO #3

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"THERE'S THAT WEASEL SMIRK!"

PHOTO #4

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"A SQUINT & A SMILE"

PHOTO #5

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"DEEP IN THE SNOW"

PHOTO #6

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"WHITE SNOW WITH A WHITE WEASEL"

PHOTO #7

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"A SNOW SQUINT"

 

PHOTO #8

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANY CREATURE THAT IS SO CUTE & YET SUCH A DEADLY PREDATOR?"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-me-and-my-shadow---weasel-long-tailed Tue, 04 Jan 2022 08:30:00 GMT
"THE SUN DOGS WERE BARKING" - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-the-sun-dogs-were-barking---beaver-north-american "THE SUN DOGS WERE BARKING IT WAS SO COLD!"

Beaver (North American) (2 Photos) & American Bald Eagle (2 Photos)

 

The last 10 days have been brutally cold in Southern Alberta, with air temperatures of - 29 degrees C and wind chills of -35 degrees C. 

 

When temperatures are that cold, ice crystals appear in the air and produce "sun dogs". Usually vertical in orientation, they appear as rainbows in close proximity to the sun.

 

No unfortunately I don't have any stellar shots of sun dogs, but I managed to capture two animals who braved the frigid temperatures.

 

First is a beaver, who appeared from downstream of the Bow River, Calgary and it is one huge beaver, even by "Castor" standards. He (had to be male being that size) came swimming along the shoreline (Photo #1), then dived. He appeared moments later (Photo #2) with his prize from the river bed. He then dived once more and disappeared. I never did see him resurface.

 

Now beaver, sir, if you could please remove the tree you have taken down on the west shore of the river, which is blocking the walking path, it would be much appreciated. You might consider having the "night shift" take charge! :)

 

And you know it's cold, when Bald Eagles tuck their heads into the feathers to take some relief from the cold wintery wind (Photo #3). Photo #4 demonstrates the icy build-up around its eyes, as the eagle surveyed the shoreline below looking for a frozen duck dinner.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

PHOTO #4

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/1/-the-sun-dogs-were-barking---beaver-north-american Sun, 02 Jan 2022 04:04:14 GMT
"SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT MY HARD HAT!" - Woodpeckers (Pileated) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-should-have-brought-my-hard-hat---woodpeckers-pileated "SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT MY HARD HAT"

Woodpeckers (Pileated) -11 Photos

 

Opportunity certainly came knocking when I exited the parking lot and started walking down the path into the park. I heard that distinct banging of a woodpecker hammering away at a tree.

 

A few steps in and there was a Pileated Woodpecker busily chipping away at an old stump, wood flying everywhere, some pieces quite large. And that "snow" in some of the photos isn't snow but wood chips/shavings as the woodpecker drilled away. Yes, I should have worn my construction hard hat as I was now in a Woodpecker demolition zone.

 

It definitely knew it hit the motherload because it kept making the hole deeper & deeper and finally that woodpecker tongue came out to scoop out its prize. (Photos #4 & #5 ) Because it was so intent on drilling, I had ample opportunity to take different shots of its activities.

 

And at one point, the woodpecker took time out to have a scratch from the tip of its head to its beak, something I've never had a chance to witness before. (Photos #6 & #7) Photo #6 could be entitled "The Thinker"! :)

 

After approximately 20 minutes, its mate appeared. The first one flew off, allowing its other half a chance to partake of any goodies in the newly created hole.

 

Then up onto a horizontal branch flew the second woodpecker and then it too headed for new horizons and fresh trees.

 

PHOTO #1

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-should-have-brought-my-hard-hat---woodpeckers-pileated Tue, 28 Dec 2021 02:35:47 GMT
"BELOW ZERO" - American Bald Eagle (Immature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-below-zero---american-bald-eagle-immature "BELOW ZERO"

American Bald Eagle (Immature) - 3 Photos

 

So only American Bald Eagles & crazy wildlife photographers venture out in snowy weather, with temperatures at -26 degrees C with wind chill at -35 degrees C.

 

But when you have to hunt to eat, there are no snow days (for eagles, that is).

 

At the time, I spotted the eagle, the snow had stopped and there was some sun behind the clouds, which gave a soft blue look to the sky. And those white spots, are ice crystals in the air.

 

The last photo is an area of in the Provincial Park that freezes each year and does not melt until late May due to its shady location. The freezing of the water into icicles demonstrates the chilliness of the air.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-below-zero---american-bald-eagle-immature Mon, 27 Dec 2021 01:01:54 GMT
"HERE COMES KRAMPUS" - American Bald Eagle (Immature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-here-comes-krampus---american-bald-eagle-immature "HERE COME'S KRAMPUS!"

American Bald Eagle (Immature) - 7 Photos

 

Okay, okay so it's not "Krampus", the anti-Santa Claus but this young eagle certainly bears a remarkable resemblance!

 

Have included a few other photos, just to prove that it is, indeed, a beautiful young eagle and not a creature here to spoil the Christmas Spirit! :)

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

PHOTO #1 - An eagle's impersonation of "Krampus"

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-here-comes-krampus---american-bald-eagle-immature Sat, 25 Dec 2021 02:32:06 GMT
"LOVE IS IN THE AIR" - White Tailed Deer (Male) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-love-is-in-the-air---white-tailed-deer-male "LOVE IS IN THE AIR"

White Tailed Deer (Male) - 7 Photos

 

These photos are of three different handsome bucks taken over the past few weeks. All were in pursuit of does in the near vicinities and those does were definitely playing hard to get. "If you want to get amorous, you're going to have to work for it."

 

Particularly, in Photo #3, you can see the flaring nostrils as the male was catching the female's scent.

 

In Photo #5, Photo #6 and Photo 7 (taken on a very overcast & wet afternoon), the buck was a little more defensive of his potential "paramour" and as he was close to the walking path, I ensured that as I left I made a wide berth around his area and left him calm, cool and collected. Even so, I was more nervous trying to walk out with that particular buck in the area than I was with the very calm (and not so amorous) moose I encountered in the park this year.

 

Being that it is now a few weeks on, I'm sure all the "hook-ups" are complete and we can look forward to a new bunch of darling fawns in May/June next year!

 

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PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-love-is-in-the-air---white-tailed-deer-male Wed, 22 Dec 2021 16:48:45 GMT
"A FRESH FACE IN THE FOREST" - American Bald Eagle (Immature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-a-fresh-face-in-the-forest---american-bald-eagle-immature "A FRESH FACE IN THE FOREST"

American Bald Eagle (Immature) - 7 Photos

 

 

No matter how many times I have a sighting of an American Bald Eagle (no matter what age), it never gets old. 

 

This particular young eagle even from a distance, appeared to be slightly different from most youngsters. At first I thought it was the morning light but once I got closer and got some shots off, I realized that it is quite dark even for a youngster.

 

Most likely an offspring from this year, he/she is experiencing its first taste of very cold weather and snowy conditions. Even its eyes seem to have that "fresh look" and that sense of wonder of everything is new and the world is ready to be conquered by a young Bald Eagle.

 

And what better way to celebrate the Winter Solstice than with a new fresh face! :)

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-a-fresh-face-in-the-forest---american-bald-eagle-immature Sun, 19 Dec 2021 21:56:29 GMT
"WEASEL WINTER WONDERLAND" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-weasel-winter-wonderland---weasel-long-tailed "WEASEL WINTER WONDERLAND"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 3 Photos

 

Well for all that wildlife who change their coat colours in the Winter, can now breathe a sigh of relief. Snow now blankets Alberta, including the southern parts.

 

So now when scouting for weasels, it's a matter of watching for that little bundle of bouncing "snow" against the landscape and for this little one, and a black tipped tail at the end of that snowball.

 

And for something different, Photo #3 is done in black & white. Who doesn't like a little "retro weasel"! :)

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-weasel-winter-wonderland---weasel-long-tailed Wed, 15 Dec 2021 19:43:57 GMT
"TRANSFORMATION" - American Bald Eagle (Immature & Adult) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-transformation---american-bald-eagle-immature-adult "TRANSFORMATION"

American Bald Eagle (Immature & Adult) - 5 Photos

 

Nature is continually in transformation. Some of the most striking transformations can be the seasonal change of the coats of Jack Rabbits & Weasels or the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies and moths.

 

One transformation that takes up to approximately 5 years is the American Bald Eagle. That's the time that it takes a young eagle to go from its mottled brown feathers to the iconic white headed eagle that is so recognizable. 

 

That being said, to me it is another amazing feat of Nature, who never fails to surprise.

 

The young eagle below, I believe, is probably two years old, maybe three. It wasn't born this year as already the white "mask" is appearing on its head. 

 

So a few years on, this young eagle, providing it manages to stay out of trouble and learns to hunt well, will go  

 

FROM THIS:

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

 

TO THIS:

 

PHOTO #3

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PHOTO #5

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-transformation---american-bald-eagle-immature-adult Mon, 13 Dec 2021 16:28:55 GMT
Porcupine (North American) - "THE EYES HAVE IT" https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/porcupine-north-american---the-eyes-have-it "THE EYES HAVE IT"

Porcupine (North American) - 4 Photos

 

The following photos were taken several weeks ago, just at sunset (which unfortunately these days is way too early).

 

Generally, a porcupine's eyes are almost invisible. Porcupines are usually too high up in trees or because of their nocturnal habits, under a cloak of darkness. However, with the aid of photography, there's no denying those beautiful brown eyes, which appear to look into your soul.

 

To paraphrase Nietzsche's quote, "If you gaze long enough into a porcupine, the porcupine will gaze back into you".  :) 

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/porcupine-north-american---the-eyes-have-it Sat, 11 Dec 2021 22:50:12 GMT
"BIRDS IN THE HOOD" - Hooded Merganser https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-birds-in-the-hood---hooded-merganser "BIRDS IN THE HOOD"

Hooded Merganser - 7 Photos

 

So I caught these travelers one snowy overcast Saturday afternoon.

 

As they approached from upstream of a small creek, I was perplexed as to what type of duck I was seeing. My first impression was that they were very small but they couldn't be ducklings at this time of the year.

 

And as they got closer, I could make out their "hoods" and as they proceeded to dive into the water, I thought "mergansers".

 

From what I could ascertain from The Cornell Lab's "All About Birds" website, Hooded Mergansers breeding West of the Rocky Mountains migrate west and south to the Pacific. They are late Fall migrants, sometimes moving just ahead of Winter ice. 

 

These two were certainly cutting it close. Soon within the next week or so, the creeks in this area of Calgary will be frozen solid, with the only open water being the Bow River. And that small white substance in the photos is snow! 

 

With their elongated heads shaped by their hoods, they almost seem to resemble some alien presence out of the "Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" movie. :)

 

If you would like to view more information on "Hooded Mergansers, you can check out the following website by The Cornell Birds Lab or just search the internet for "All About Birds" website from The Cornell Birds Lab.

 

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hooded_Merganser/maps-range

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-birds-in-the-hood---hooded-merganser Tue, 07 Dec 2021 03:35:07 GMT
"ONE WAY IN, ONE WAY OUT" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-one-way-in-one-way-out---weasel-long-tailed "ONE WAY IN, ONE WAY OUT"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 5 Photos

 

 

While watching this weasel, I was reminded of an incident told to me by a friend several years ago.

 

She was in limbo between jobs and was, for the first time, at home most of the day with her two dogs. The dogs followed her everywhere she went. When they both followed her into the downstairs bathroom, she called a time out. "Okay", she said. "You can wait for me at the closed door. One way in, one way out. I'm not escaping anywhere."

 

So when this weasel went into a small hole in a log with no other exit, I knew all I had to do was wait.

 

Unfortunately, for the weasel there was no food "in the pantry" but for me, there was a great opportunity to catch this little mustelid exiting the log. And although the hole looks like a cavern, it was probably no wider than 8 inches wide.

 

"ONE WAY IN"

PHOTO #1 

 

"ONE WAY OUT"

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/12/-one-way-in-one-way-out---weasel-long-tailed Thu, 02 Dec 2021 08:30:00 GMT
"AUTUMN CARRIES MORE GOLD IN ITS POCKETS ......" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-autumn-carries-more-gold-in-its-pockets---coyote "AUTUMN CARRIES MORE GOLD IN ITS POCKETS ....."

Coyote - 9 Photos

 

The entire quote is as follows:

 

"Autumn carries more gold in its pockets than all the other seasons" - Jim Bishop

 

The quote seemed fitting for the time of the year and the light this particular afternoon. Then when you add in the opportunity to catch a coyote prowling the river's edge, with a time out for a quick drink at the river, the day was truly golden :)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-autumn-carries-more-gold-in-its-pockets---coyote Tue, 30 Nov 2021 08:30:00 GMT
"WEASEL TREE GYM" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-weasel-tree-gym---weasel-long-tailed "WEASEL TREE GYM"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 7 Photos

 

It's a cruel joke that Nature pulls on the Long Tailed Weasel. It changes its coat colour from tawny/cream to snow white as daylight hours decrease and Winter approaches. Landscape in late Autumn in Calgary, Alberta can be snow covered or completely brown with fallen leaves and dead shrubbery. 

 

Unfortunately, this year it has been the latter and for this weasel, it's a "Hello, I'm a Weasel" statement, particularly as it climbs along and up trees.

 

But there is no denying, although a fierce predator, weasels are darn cute and have whiskers that a cat would envy!

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-weasel-tree-gym---weasel-long-tailed Thu, 25 Nov 2021 16:10:22 GMT
"THE EAGLE & THE LION" - American Bald Eagle_Porcupine https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-the-eagle-the-lion---american-bald-eagle_porcupine "THE EAGLE & THE LION"

American Bald Eagle (Adult) & Porcupine - 9 Photos

 

Caught an American Bald Eagle (Photo #1 & Photo #2) and shortly thereafter a porcupine on an afternoon outing. 

 

The position of the porcupine in Photo #3 (the first of the porcupine series) reminded me so much of a male lion lying beneath the setting sun - hence the title.

 

Photos #4 through Photo #9 were taken previously and have entitled this series "Shakin All Over". I managed to catch the quilly creature while he shook out his coat & quills. A video would probably have done more justice but the whole process is literally a few seconds. It does, however, provide some interesting posturing from the porcupine.

 

And, of course, there's that really lovely thick furry face. Does Nature know something we don't about the coming Winter??

 

"THE EAGLE"

PHOTO #1 

PHOTO #2

 

"AND THE LION"

PHOTO #3

"SHAKIN ALL OVER" (Porcupine)

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9 (Deer in the Headlights Look!)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-the-eagle-the-lion---american-bald-eagle_porcupine Tue, 23 Nov 2021 17:42:37 GMT
"BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR" - American Bald Eagle https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-be-careful-what-you-wish-for---american-bald-eagle "BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR"

American Bald Eagle (Adult) - 9 Photos

 

So there I was walking along the path that enters the woods when I looked up and saw a pair of American Bald Eagles soaring together high up in the sky. "If only one would come closer and perhaps even land", I thought.

 

Well as I was exiting the tree grove, I looked left and saw one eagle coming in for a landing to a tree just off the path.

 

So I followed the path around to the other side of the trees and entered the meadow and there in a tree was perched an adult American Bald Eagle. And this is one mature eagle. (Check out the size of the talons in the photos below.)

 

Now if it would only stay a few minutes to allow me to achieve a clear view and get a few shots off. 

 

That being done, I managed to take a seat in the long grass. The eagle proceeded to groom and relax and if you are wondering why the light changes in the photos below, it's because for the next 2 hours, the sky went from bright blue to overcast to hazy cloud to total cloud and finally to disappearing light. Be careful what you wish for :) 

 

And that's where I left this gorgeous eagle as sunset fell, still perched in the tree, just hanging out. I don't know if it intended to settle in for the night, waiting for its mate and perhaps roost but I was so thankful for those hours and the opportunity.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-be-careful-what-you-wish-for---american-bald-eagle Wed, 17 Nov 2021 03:02:28 GMT
"THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY" - American Bald Eagle (Adult) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-the-one-that-got-away---american-bald-eagle-adult "THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY"

American Bald Eagle (Adult) - 9 Photos

 

 

I first spotted this Bald Eagle sitting on the rocks in the water, across the river. Shortly thereafter, it flew into a tree on the far side where it remained perched and vigilant looking down at the river.

 

And then faster than you could say American Bald Eagle, it was off and down.

 

I have seen eagles hunt duck on the river before but this was my first experience watching one fish. And what a fish! 

 

Unfortunately it only managed to catch the fish with one talon. Probably due to the fish's size and squirming, the fish dropped back into the river much to my dismay (and much more the eagle's as well).

 

After a few flying tours, the eagle landed back on the tree. And then some time after, it flew back upstream hopefully to have better fortune with another fish.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-the-one-that-got-away---american-bald-eagle-adult Sun, 14 Nov 2021 01:45:00 GMT
"WE ARE ALL SENTIENT" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-we-are-all-sentient---porcupine-north-american "WE ARE ALL SENTIENT"

Porcupine (North American) - 5 Photos

 

The photos below are of five different porcupines of both sexes and various ages.

 

Perhaps, I have been spending too much time alone observing porcupines but their faces appear to be taking on more human attributes.

 

How can you look into the eyes and face of this creature and not recognize a sentient mammal. 

 

We should remember we and by "we", I mean "furries & feathereds" as well as humans, are all sentient. We all experience joy, sadness, pain, etc. 

 

And who could not resist that large furry rodent face :) !

 

PHOTO #1 - Porcupine #1

PHOTO #2 - Porcupine #2

PHOTO #3 - Porcupine #3

PHOTO #4 - Porcupine #4

PHOTO #5 - Porcupine #5

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-we-are-all-sentient---porcupine-north-american Mon, 08 Nov 2021 17:47:16 GMT
"ROCKPORT" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-rockport---mink-north-american "ROCKPORT"

Mink (North American) - 7 Photos

 

This mink was having a field day (or perhaps that's a "rock day"), fishing from the shoreline, going under a "stonehenge" and rubbing itself against the rocks. 

 

I believe it was trying to dislodge some "fishy" parts from its mouth (hence the teeth baring), as well as cleaning and distributing the oil through its fur for water protection.

 

From its stance on those small rocks, you can be a king over your domain!

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/11/-rockport---mink-north-american Wed, 03 Nov 2021 15:38:35 GMT
"HOW NOW BROWN OWL?" - Great Horned Owl https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-how-now-brown-owl---great-horned-owl "HOW NOW BROWN OWL?"

Great Horned Owl (Adult) - 5 Photos

 

"It was a dark & stormy day"! :) Well actually it was just dark and sleeting. 

 

Came across this Great Horned Owl, snuggled up to a tree trunk and trying to catch some owl "z's".

 

And yes, those feathers which give this owl its name are at complete attention. First it was mobbed by a group of chickadees. Then came a raven which landed on a nearby branch and called in reinforcements. Eventually that pair left the area too. And finally a barking dog came by which caught the owl's attention, probably because it was already on edge.

 

Finally, peace, once again, was restored and as you can see from Photo #4 and Photo #5, shut-eye was not far away.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-how-now-brown-owl---great-horned-owl Sat, 30 Oct 2021 23:58:19 GMT
"PERCEPTION IS NOT ALWAYS REALITY" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-perception-is-not-always-reality---coyote "PERCEPTION IS NOT ALWAYS REALITY"

Coyote - 7 Photos

Kananaskis, Alberta, CA

 

PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM A SAFE DISTANCE & SAFE LOCATION

 

What we see and perceive is not always what is actually occurring. This can often be the case in Nature.

 

These photos were taken in the Kananaskis mountain area of Alberta, just at dusk. 

 

I have put up the third photo taken as the first photo. I would assume anyone's reaction would be this is not a very happy coyote & in fact, it looks extremely aggressive and angry.

 

Scroll down to the the remaining six photos which are then in sequence and you will see that this is merely a coyote on the hunt and the teeth baring merely a "chowing" down of its prize meal, a grouse caught in the grasses.

 

And in the very last photo, is a very happy coyote finishing off that gourmet dinner with a swipe of its tongue.

 

In all my experiences with coyotes, particularly in Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary, AB, (perhaps I should be touching some wood on this), my only issue is that I can't get the camera focused quickly enough before the coyote disappears as far from my human presence as possible. That is why, on those rare occasions, when I can capture them with the camera, I see it as a privilege

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-perception-is-not-always-reality---coyote Wed, 27 Oct 2021 17:03:43 GMT
"THERE'S STILL SOME GROWING TO DO" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-theres-still-some-growing-to-do---weasel-long-tailed "THERE'S STILL SOME GROWING TO DO"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 6 Photos

 

I sometimes wish I had the reflexes and speed of a weasel, in order to capture the weasel's movements. And add to that some tricky lighting conditions. 

 

I spotted the tell tale (pardon the pun) sign of the weasel's lion cub like tail disappearing along a log, as I stepped off a path to let some people go by. 

 

I thought I had lost it when I saw one magpie fly over to a downed tree stump, followed by another. They both were on a low branch, looking directly down. "No, it can't be," I thought when out came the weasel and disappeared again.

 

Well thanks to my two informants who flew to a second downed log, I found the little mustelid. Had a number of photos without heads which is where the wish comes from but here is one cute weasel. Because of those big ears, I believe it was born this Spring. And as a side note, a friend had taken a photo of another Long Tailed Weasel a few days ago and it was in the transition stage, not quite yet white. So perhaps, the youngsters take a little longer into metamorphosing to their pure white winter coats.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-theres-still-some-growing-to-do---weasel-long-tailed Sat, 23 Oct 2021 21:05:52 GMT
"MINK ON THE ROCKS" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-mink-on-the-rocks---mink-north-american "MINK ON THE ROCKS"

Mink (North American) - 7 Photos

 

This was my first experience catching a mink fishing along the river, in a shoal close to the shoreline.

 

I think it's a male from its squat face, large ears and some slight scarring on the left side of the face but only the mink knows for sure :)

 

It came back a couple of times during a short time period. One of the reasons may have been there was a lovely flat rock that rested across the landscape (almost mini Stonehenge in appearance) which the mink liked to go into and preen, completely safe from any predation.

 

And although this might look like the ocean, it is indeed a river view with a beautiful little mink to accent the landscape.

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-mink-on-the-rocks---mink-north-american Wed, 20 Oct 2021 00:32:07 GMT
"MORNIN' SUNSHINE!" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-mornin-sunshine---porcupine-north-american "MORNIN' SUNSHINE!"

Porcupine (North American) - 9 Photos

 

So I don't know why I find porcupines so endearing. Perhaps it's the fact that they have a certain air of mystery. Generally, they are only seen during daylight hours sleeping in trees and if you do catch the odd glimpse of them "grounded" during the day it's extremely brief. Their active periods on the ground are at from dusk into the night darkness.

 

Or perhaps it's their furry brown faces which sometimes seem to resemble little monkeys. 

 

And at times, when they lie stretched out on tree branches, they take on a gigantic caterpillar appearance.

 

The following photos are of Chewy P. She gave birth to Hap P this past Spring. I did manage to catch Hap P this summer in a tree late one evening but that is the only time I have seen her these past few months.

 

Chewy was high up on a tree branch, soaking up some early morning light (Photo #1 - Photo #3). After a short time, she made her way down to the crook in the tree (Photo #4 - Photo #7) before climbing up again on a nearby branch (Photo #8 - Photo #9.)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-mornin-sunshine---porcupine-north-american Wed, 13 Oct 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"AUTUMN GLORY" - American Bald Eagle https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-autumn-glory---american-bald-eagle "AUTUMN GLORY"

American Bald Eagle - 7 Photos

 

To capture any Bald Eagle is a gift. To capture an adult in flight - glorious. To capture an adult Bald Eagle about to take flight in amongst the gold of autumn leaves - sensational!

 

The golden brown autumn leaves appear to accent the eagle's beak and talons and highlight this bird's beauty.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

 

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-autumn-glory---american-bald-eagle Sun, 10 Oct 2021 00:17:14 GMT
"SLEEP P" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-sleep-p---porcupine-north-american "SLEEP P"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

So it appears the start of "Porcupine Tree Viewing" season may have begun. That time of the year when mating takes place and porcupines look for some warming up time out of their dens and into the trees.

 

This is "Little Bo P" born this past Spring. He has grown somewhat but he is still as cute as a button (well, I think so!). He spent the day in his favourite tree sunbathing and snoozing. Most of the time, he had his little porcupine face hidden behind a tree branch but a few times he did turn around to check out the world and tend to some scratching.

 

I can't blame him for not wanting "to get out of bed". We probably all know that warm cuddly feeling of sleeping in and that "just another five minutes" scenario. :)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/10/-sleep-p---porcupine-north-american Wed, 06 Oct 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"THE FOX ROCKS - Part 2" - Fox (North American Red) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-fox-rocks---part-2---fox-north-american-red "THE FOX ROCKS - PART 2"

North American Red Fox - 9 Photos

Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

 

I most likely will never have an encounter like the one documented in this blog and the previous one. On a "Far Side" point of view, I thought one of the fox's friends was going to appear and pass the hat around looking for donations for viewing privileges! 

 

These photos include the second set where the fox moved down from Rock #1 to Rock #2, and then went on a hunting expedition. 

 

Definitely a very relaxed fox but one that knew its wild boundaries, never once thinking about making any type of contact with humanity. 

 

N.B. ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM A SAFE DISTANCE & LOCATION

 

PHOTO #1

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"CHECKING OUT THE TERRAIN"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #2

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"A STEP CLOSER"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #3

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"DOWN"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #4

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"RELAXED"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #5

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"CHECKING OUT WHAT MIGHT BE AVAILABLE"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #6

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"READY STEADY FREDDY FOX"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #7

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"A LOOK BACKWARDS"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #8

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"FOX IN THE GRASS"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, C)

PHOTO #9

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"JUMP!"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

 


 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-fox-rocks---part-2---fox-north-american-red Wed, 29 Sep 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"THE FOX ROCKS" - Red Fox https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-fox-rocks---red-fox "THE FOX ROCKS (noun & verb)!"

Part 1

Red Fox - Kananaskis, Alberta, CA - 7 Photos

 

So was just about to enter one of the Provincial Parks in Alberta when I saw what I thought, for a micro second, was a new piece of commissioned art at the park entrance. Alberta Parks have been updating signs, etc. so for that split second I envisioned statue.

 

Well it wasn't. Thank the stars, it was a gorgeous red fox sitting absolutely still on top of a flat rock, completely clear of vegetation. The rock was one of two flat boulders and as it was late afternoon, I believe this member of the canid family was warming itself on the surface of the rock. It must have been really toasty with the late summer heat of the sun. Perhaps a fox's form of hot stone massage therapy :) At the same time, the rocks provided an excellent vantage point (safe from view and sound) of the rodent population which I am certain was living in the underbrush.

 

And then there is the colour coordination between the fox's fur and the lichen on the rock. Hmmmm?

 

Over the course of the next 30 minutes (yes, that would be 30 minutes), it changed positions and then eventually moved down the rocks into the grassy area and finally down the hill to the creek below.

 

I've only seen foxes once before in Alberta and that was young kits. Click on the link below if you wish to view the photos taken in Southern Alberta, several years ago. However, this latest experience was one for my photography books! 

 

https://www.inaturephoto.com/redfox-whatsblackwhiteredallover

 

After some scrutiny of the photos, I believe this fox to be a young female and what a stunner she is. Her entire demeanor was relaxed but never missing "the big picture" of hunting. 

 

This is Part 1 of 2 blogs featuring this North American Red Fox. Part 2 will follow approximately one week from now.

 

And finally,

 

N.B. ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM A SAFE DISTANCE & LOCATION

 

PHOTO #1

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"I AM FOX READY"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #2

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME? ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME??"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #3

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"HO HUM ...."
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #4

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"LYING DOWN ON THE JOB"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #5

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"A COMPLETE TURN AROUND"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

 

PHOTO #6

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"TURN"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #7

Fox (Red) - North AmericanFox (Red) - North American"SIDE PORTRAIT"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-fox-rocks---red-fox Fri, 24 Sep 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"COYOTES HOWLING HALLELUJAH" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-coyotes-howling-hallelujah---coyote "COYOTES HOWLING HALLELUJAH"

(Chorus from Gord Bamford's song "Heaven on Dirt")

Coyote (Kananaskis, Alberta, CA) - 8 Photos

 

This line of a chorus from the Alberta raised, country music singer, Gord Bamford's song "Heaven on Dirt", I felt was fitting for this canid spotted in the tall grass in Kananaskis, Alberta.

 

The coyote was hunting in the tall grass just outside of the tree line. It definitely had something in its sights as it kept returning to the same area and trying to dig out whatever was underground.

 

The eyes "have it"! What a truly beautiful example of "Canis latrans", decked out in its warm winter coat, healthy and surviving and most importantly - thriving.

 

To see a coyote in the wild going about the business of hunting was truly a privilege and as highlighted below, all photos were taken from a safe location and distance. One of the great advantages of a long lens :)

 

NOTE:  ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM A SAFE LOCATION AND DISTANCE

 

PHOTO #1

CoyoteCoyote"FROM OUT OF THE GRASSES"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #2

CoyoteCoyote"COYOTES HOWLING HALLEUJAH"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #3

CoyoteCoyote"DOWN WIND"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #4

CoyoteCoyote"SCOUTING OUT PREY"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #5

CoyoteCoyote"ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME?"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #6

CoyoteCoyote"EXITING THE UNDERBRUSH"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #7

CoyoteCoyote"WATCHING"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

PHOTO #8

CoyoteCoyote"MOVING ON"
(Kananaskis, Alberta, CA)

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-coyotes-howling-hallelujah---coyote Wed, 22 Sep 2021 15:57:56 GMT
"THE LAST DANCE" - American White Pelican https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-last-dance---american-white-pelican "THE LAST DANCE"

American White Pelican - 9 Photos

 

As September is rapidly coming to a close, the pelicans visiting Alberta will be soon departing for warmer climates for the Winter.

 

I haven't seen a group fishing for some time, so it was a great treat to see a number fishing a shallow shoal on the Bow River, Calgary, Alberta. 

 

Their white fluffy feathers and their tipping back and forth in and out of the water, is so coordinated that it is almost ballet like, tutus and all! :) So this is "The Last Dance" for now.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-last-dance---american-white-pelican Sun, 19 Sep 2021 01:55:42 GMT
"NATURE'S LIFE LESSONS" - Common Merganser https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-natures-life-lessons---common-merganser "NATURE'S LIFE LESSONS"

Common Merganser (Female & Immatures)

 

In the natural world, wildlife's offspring learn by watching & doing to achieve those important life lessons which will enable them to survive and thrive.

 

The following photos depict to different families of Common Mergansers. The first series (Photos #1 - 5) are of a young family & their mother, who chose to take some time out to groom and rest up on the shoreline of a creek, having had a tiring trip upstream. The photos were taken at the very end of July when we were still experiencing some smoky air conditions.

 

The second series (Photos #6 - 9) are of a family I caught recently, fishing in a division of the Bow River. It was quite entertaining watching them scooting along the surface of the water, diving and chasing the fish along a shallow shoal. Am not certain who of the family of five made this awesome catch but from its excitement, it was very pleased to have caught such a dinner. And yes, it went down in one swallow and then onto the next one.

 

PHOTO #1 - Momma Merganser Grooming

PHOTO #2 - Getting All Those Feathers Oiled

PHOTO #3 - A Stunning Example of a Female Merganser

PHOTO #4 - Grooming Lesson

PHOTO #5 - A Very Tiring Morning

PHOTO #6 - Hit the Jackpot

PHOTO #7 - Landing It

PHOTO #8 - We Have It "In Bill"

PHOTO #9 - On the Way Down

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-natures-life-lessons---common-merganser Wed, 15 Sep 2021 16:09:33 GMT
"THE FAWN DAWN" - White-Tailed Deer (Immature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-fawn-dawn---white-tailed-deer-immature "THE FAWN DAWN"

White-Tailed Deer (Immature) - 6 Photos

 

Thought I had better post these before Summer comes to an end and the spots completely "wear off" :) !

 

These are different fawns. There were twins with one doe and a single fawn with the other. 

 

The soft early morning light in the first two photos certainly intensified those "soft" deer eyes.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-the-fawn-dawn---white-tailed-deer-immature Sat, 11 Sep 2021 15:53:21 GMT
'MYTHICAL VS PREHISTORIC" - Great Blue Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/mythical-vs-prehistoric---great-blue-heron "MYTHICAL VS PREHISTORIC"

Great Blue Heron - 8 Photos

 

It was early in the morning. The sun was slowly filtering through the fir trees when I spotted this Great Blue Heron relaxing & grooming high up in a nearby evergreen tree.

 

The colouring is exactly what the camera shot. I don't know if it was the contrast of the dark green against the blue of the heron or the filtered morning light that produced, what I believe to be, surreal photos of this beautiful bird. (Photos #1 - # 5)

 

The next weekend, I spotted a different heron (I believe) in the far west end of the pond, across the water from the fir trees. I think it might be a younger bird but the light in this instance is late afternoon and reflected by the pond water. Let there be no doubt that birds are probably the closest remaining relatives of dinosaurs. Pterodactyl comes to mind. :)  (Photos #6 - #8)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/mythical-vs-prehistoric---great-blue-heron Wed, 08 Sep 2021 16:10:15 GMT
"NOTCHO, NOTCHO MINK" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-notcho-notcho-mink---mink-north-american "NOTCHO NOTCHO MINK!"

Mink (North American) - 4 Photos

 

One day last year I had sat down near what I thought would be a great bird/mammal fishing area and had a very short glimpse of a mink.
 

Being that the creek where I usually see the family of four mink this year was almost completely dry due to lack of rain, I thought I would give this site a try again to see if I could establish another viewing area.

 

I was there for awhile and then three people sat down a short distance away from me on some logs, behind the tree where I was sitting. They were there quietly chatting when I saw a small brown mammal move amongst the fallen logs across from where we were. It was hidden from their view.

 

About 10 minutes after, the others left. After about 15 minutes, out popped a head. Yep - one mink! It had waited for the "all clear" (Photo #1 & Photo #2).

 

From there it dashed into the river and popped up again in the channel (Photo #3).  It dived in again and re-emerged on some fallen debris (Photo #4). 

 

Mink are not very large mammals but from the size of this one (and I think it's big in mink sizing), I believe it to be a male. And if you check out its right ear, it has a notch, probably from a skirmish with prey, another male mink or perhaps a little too overzealous female during "courting"! Hence the name "Notcho"! Also, the left side of his face appears to have some significant scarring. More than a playful skirmish?

 

 I don't think I will have the frequency of sightings in this new spot due to the size of the fishing area but any sighting of a mink is a great sighting :) 

 

PHOTO #1 - "HAVE THEY GONE?"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"HAVE THEY GONE?"

PHOTO #2 - "THEY'VE GONE BUT I KNOW YOU'RE STILL HERE!"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"THEY'VE GONE BUT I KNOW YOU'RE STILL HERE!"

PHOTO #3 - "BOO!"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"BOO!"

PHOTO #4 - "NOTCHO" (Check out the "v" shaped notch in his right ear)

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"NOTCHO NOTCHO MINK!"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/9/-notcho-notcho-mink---mink-north-american Thu, 02 Sep 2021 15:49:15 GMT
"HEY DUDE, AM I PHOTO WORTHY NOW?" - Northern Water Thrush https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-hey-dude-am-I-photo-worthy-now---northern-water-thrush "HEY DUDE, AM I PHOTO WORTHY NOW?"

Northern Water Thrush (5 Photos)

 

So there I was, sitting on a log at the new potential mink location.

 

I kept seeing these small birds darting along and in among the logs. In the gloominess of the area, I couldn't see any colouring, only little brown birds.

 

One kept walking along the fallen log in front of me, back & forth it went. Eventually, when I looked over, its head appeared strange, like its head had a growth of some sort. 

 

"HEY DUDE, AM I PHOTO WORTHY NOW?" So I aimed my camera and the little creature came into view, complete with an insect in its mouth, bigger than its head. And much to my surprise, I had a series of photos of the Northern Water Thrush, supposedly a very shy but extremely pretty bird, probably on its migration route. Guess it wanted some recognition for its great accomplishment. 

 

So here you are NWT!

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5


 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-hey-dude-am-I-photo-worthy-now---northern-water-thrush Tue, 31 Aug 2021 16:01:55 GMT
"CURIOUS GEORGE" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-curious-george---mink-north-american "CURIOUS GEORGE"

Mink (North American) - 10 Photos

 

It was early afternoon when Mink #2 now named "George" appeared from the top of the creek. He scampered down (Photo #1 - Photo #5) and then took up the fishing spot where his mother (LG) caught her Prussian Carp. (See Blog of August 12, 2021, "The Fishing Derby".)

 

It is part of the overhanging bank where the fish apparently like to hide in the shallows and it was probably the first real opportunity I have had to photograph a mink hunting/fishing. Generally, they are in and out of water so quickly and when they are submerged, they look like "mud puppies".

 

Unfortunately, George was not successful. He tried where there is a small run-off of the water from the creek (Photo #6 - Photo #8) and re-emerged onto the rocks (Photos #9 - #10). And then off he went back upstream and into the grasses where he disappeared.

 

Generally in the past, from what I have seen with his mother and grandmother, this little creek is usually the last stop before heading home, from the big ponds. So hopefully, Curious George had already had his fill of fish and was just looking for a quick top up!

 

As time passes, I will probably still see LG (Little Girl or Mink Mum) occasionally but generally the offspring spread out and find their own territories. So I traced down a new mink "wishing" area to supplement my obsession, having seen a mink briefly there last year!  I think because the fishing area is huge, it will be more of a "hit and miss" viewing. However, there will be a future blog featuring the latest mink "Notcho" and all will come clear why this latest mustelid has been named "Notcho".

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

PHOTO #10

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-curious-george---mink-north-american Fri, 27 Aug 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"MERLIN THE MAGICIAN" - Merlin https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-merlin-the-magician---merlin "MERLIN THE MAGICIAN"

Merlin (Adult & Juvenile) - 7 Photos

 

So I was at the new potential mink site by a division of the Bow River, when I looked north and noticed two Merlins perched high in a dead tree. This tree is frequented by Ospreys and American Bald Eagles because of its proximity to great fishing waters.

 

I was a little perplexed as to why they would be perched in a tree so near water and facing that water and not looking towards the meadow/treed area to the east.

 

A few minutes later, one of the Merlins flew downstream towards me and landed in a nearby tree and then all became clear. The adult was catching dragonflies for its meal. It did this several times flying above the river and then into the creek area. It probably caught three dragonflies in a short time. A little while after, the fluffy juvenile showed up. By its appearance, it had gotten a little too close to the water. Probably an unsuccessful attempt having watched its parent perform the amazing aerobatics.

 

I have seen a Merlin with a swallow but this is the first time, I have witnessed them pluck dragonflies from the air! That has to be "Top Gun" material! 

In some of the photos, you will see mayflies, a favourite meal for the dragonflies. So once again, the predator becomes the prey.

 

And yes, you will see a difference in the sky colour. A "gift" from Nature as the sun disappeared behind clouds, partially and then completely and a haze was still in the air.

 

PHOTO #1 - "Free Fall" (Adult)

PHOTO #2 - "Dragonfly Legs - Yum" (Adult)

PHOTO #3 - "Having a Dragonfly for Dinner" (Adult)

PHOTO #4 - "That's No Ice Cream Cone!" (Adult)

PHOTO #5 - "A Clean Beak is a Clean Bird" (Adult)

PHOTO #6 - "Fluffy" (Juvenile)

PHOTO #7 - "Are Those Flies Easy to Catch?" (Juvenile)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-merlin-the-magician---merlin Wed, 25 Aug 2021 01:27:53 GMT
"MINK CANDIDS" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-mink-candids---mink-north-american "MINK CANDIDS"

Mink (North American) - 6 Photos

 

A definition of a "candid shot" can be "a candid photo of an unplanned moment". I suppose that's a description of all the wildlife photography that I have done and will do. Nothing is ever planned and I never know who is going to appear in frame, let alone what they will do. That's the wonderful aspect of wildlife photography and it can be the disappointment as well. But those moments when everything comes together, is why I enjoy & love it so much.

 

So here are some "candid" shots of our mink family. And yes, I have given them names. I know that's considered "anthropomorphism" or the attribution of human traits, emotions or intentions to animals but frankly, I can't go on calling them Mink #1, Mink #2 and Mink #3. I will probably not recognize them on their own but hopefully, maybe I can.

 

PHOTO #1 - "YEAH RIGHT, WE'VE ALL SEEN THAT OLD STEVE MARTIN GAG" - (Sparky - What else could you call a star fisherman)

  Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"YEAH RIGHT, WE'VE ALL SEEN THAT OLD STEVE MARTIN GAG OF THE ARROW THROUGH THE HEAD:)" - Sparky

 

PHOTO #2 "PAWS IN THE ACTION" - (Sparky again)

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"PAWS IN THE ACTION"
(Male - Juvenile) - Sparky

PHOTO #3 - "THE CAVERN" - (Minnie - The little female who looks like a mini version of her mother)

 

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"THE CAVERN"
(Female - Juvenile) - Minnie Me

PHOTO #4 - "SHY" (Minnie Again)

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"TENTATIVE"
(Female - Juvenile) - Minnie Me

 

PHOTO #5 - "MUG SHOT" (George - don't ask. He just struck me as a George. What with those squat ears & broad face.)

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"CURIOUS GEORGE - George

PHOTO #6 - "WEB OF DISGUISE" (LG/Little Girl or Mum)

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"WEB OF DISGUISE"
(Adult Female) - LG or Little Girl (Mum)

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-mink-candids---mink-north-american Thu, 19 Aug 2021 15:30:39 GMT
"A WOODPECKER'S EVEREST" - Pileated Woodpecker https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-a-woodpeckers-everest---pileated-woodpecker "A WOODPECKER'S EVEREST"

Pileated Woodpeckers - 8 Photos

 

So I was following a White-Tailed Deer & her twin fawns, when there came a knocking. Not the gentle tap tap of a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker but that one that sounds as if you are in a construction zone, with a jackhammer.

 

First one flew in, then a second and finally the third. It was Pileated Woodpecker juveniles, born this Spring. And on their quest for food. I did manage to get a shot or two with two together. The third one was hitting the west side.

 

They finally settled on an old dead tree for which I was grateful. I not only had them all in one spot but the tree was full of character and provided a great background for their insect searches. Check out Photo #4 and the tongue extended from the woodpecker's beak!

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

PHOTO #8

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-a-woodpeckers-everest---pileated-woodpecker Wed, 18 Aug 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"THE FISHING DERBY" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-the-fishing-derby---mink-north-american "THE FISHING DERBY"

Mink (North American) - 7 Photos

 

The day prior I had managed to capture the entire mink family on perhaps one of their first full excursions out. 

 

I went back the next day, hoping for at least a glimpse of one of them again. One or two sometimes return to the same area.

 

Well firstly Mum appeared (LG). She quickly went into the overhang of the bank, where the creek narrows into the bull rushes. And out she comes with what I believe is a "Prussian Carp". That's the open mouth you can see. (Photo #1)

 

Very shortly thereafter, upstream, comes what I believe is the oldest/largest of the three youngsters, with a very big fish, another "Prussian Carp". And jumping and scampering along the rocks, he/she came. And if you can read mink faces, extremely proud of itself. Looks like he/she was heading back home to show off to Mum what a clever & talented mink it was!

 

Well this little one is definitely a chip off the old block! Its mother is an excellent fisherman & so was its grandmother. And in this area, they are certainly hard at it,  catching the invasive "Prussian Carp" before the fish have an opportunity to make it to the Bow River. We now have three generations of Nature's own eco-warriors!

 

The two smallest minks kept trying their paws at fishing in the small pools but with no success and they eventually scampered off.  Hopefully to share in the catches back at the den.

 

PHOTO #1

Mink (North American) - Adult FemaleMink (North American) - Adult Female"MOMMA MINK - HOW IT'S DONE!"

PHOTO #2

Mink (North American) - JuvenileMink (North American) - Juvenile"READY"

PHOTO #3

Mink (North American) - JuvenileMink (North American) - Juvenile"GO!"

PHOTO #4

Mink (North American) - JuvenileMink (North American) - Juvenile"STEADY"

PHOTO #5

Mink (North American) - JuvenileMink (North American) - Juvenile"JUMP"

PHOTO #6

Mink (North American) - JuvenileMink (North American) - Juvenile"FLY"

PHOTO #7

Mink (North American) - JuvenileMink (North American) - Juvenile"LAND"

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-the-fishing-derby---mink-north-american Thu, 12 Aug 2021 16:24:52 GMT
"OSPREY AIRLINES" - Osprey https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-osprey-airlines---osprey "OSPREY AIRLINES"

Osprey (& Eastern Kingbird) - 9 Photos

 

NONE OF THE PHOTOS CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG HAVE BEEN PHOTOSHOPPED

 

As identified on my Home Page, I do not photoshop. I use basic editing and developing. There is no photo layering. Sometimes, Nature just gives you some amazing gifts. Some of the photos may have a "gold" or "ruddy" tone. That's not a camera filter but another gift (if you can call it that) from Nature. We have been experiencing huge amounts of smoke cover the last few weeks, blown in from the forest fires raging in British Columbia.

 

 

I was sitting along the Bow River, taking some shots of a male Osprey in a tree. He had just flown the short distance east from the nest to perch on a tree. After a few minutes, he flew off heading for the ponds due east of the river.

 

Only ten minutes later he re-appeared flying across the river. I focused the camera in and was thrilled to see he had a complete fish in his talons. And then I noticed a strange appendage, which appeared to be "fluttering" just behind his head. Couldn't really see what it was until everything came into view.

 

Obviously the Osprey had been pursued by this Kingbird who had managed to perch on top of the Osprey, just behind his head. Don't you just hate those backseat drivers!!

 

Eventually, probably due to aerodynamics it had to fly off. And the final three photos are of the Osprey taking home lunch for the his partner and their two youngsters.

 

So a new airline has been established - "Osprey Airlines". And their motto:

 

"WE NOT ONLY CARRY CARGO BUT WE TAKE PASSENGERS AS WELL!"

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

 

PHOTO #6

 

PHOTO #7

 

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-osprey-airlines---osprey Wed, 11 Aug 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-and-then-there-were-four---mink-north-american "And Then There Were Four"

Mink (North American) - 7 Photos

 

I hadn't managed to catch the mink (Little Girl or LG for short) for some weeks now. The last times I had caught sight of her, she was catching fish and carrying her catch quickly off downstream.

 

And then came Sunday! First LG appeared. She is distinctive by her narrow female but long face/nose. I got some shots off as she came through the boulder and then she was gone. I waited for about 15 minutes but no more LG.

 

And then upstream, appeared not one, not two but three smaller mink. One after another and seemingly from nowhere. I assume now they had come up with their mother not through the creek bed but through the grassy banks that run alongside. It was similar to a video game where the animated creatures pop up out of the blue.

 

Where and which mink to shoot???

 

So here they are. From what I can determine from the photos, there is one male, one female (the smallest who looks just like her mother) and one other, gender unknown. LG's mum would be so proud. This is probably her first litter and to raise three healthy minks to a stage where they can go it alone, is truly an accomplishment.

 

And their story has another chapter to come! :) 

 

PHOTO #1 - "LG (Mum)"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"INDIANA JONES MINK"
(Female - Adult) - Little Girl or LG (Mum)

PHOTO #2 - "LG (Mum)"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"SLIDE OUT"
(Female - Adult) - LG or Little Girl (Mum)

PHOTO #3 - "Little Mink No. 1 (Gender Unknown)"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"A GIANT LEAP FOR MINK KIND"
(Male -Juvenile) - Sparky

PHOTO #4 - "Little Mink No. 1 (Gender Unknown)"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"CONFIDENT)
(Male - Juvenile) - Sparky

PHOTO #5 - "Little Mink No. 2 (Male? - from large ears and broad face)"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"CURIOUS GEORGE"

PHOTO #6 - "Little Mink No. 3 - (Mini LG)"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"WELL HELLO THERE"
(Female - Juvenile) - Minnie Me

PHOTO #7 - Little Mink No. 3 (Mini LG - You can really see the resemblance here)"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"PEEK A BOO"
(Female - Juvenile) - Minnie Me

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-and-then-there-were-four---mink-north-american Thu, 05 Aug 2021 23:06:41 GMT
"FINDING HIS WAY IN THE WORLD" - Moose (Male) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-finding-his-way-in-the-world---moose-male "FINDING HIS WAY IN THE WORLD"

Moose (Male) - 9 Photos

 

After hearing from two people, there was a moose sighted in the area, I went out looking for a very large dark brown mammal.

 

The first attempt was unsuccessful but having taken some advice on from a friend, who suggested that moose like deer, like to lie down and chew their cud late morning, early afternoon, I decided to take a break from "mink waiting" at the creek and go back out into the woods. Walking along the Bow River's edge and about to cross the creek, there across the creek in an open meadow was this beautiful young bull moose, quietly grazing & munching.

 

Crossed the bridge and started taking photos. We then sort of went on a "moose" saunter together around the woods. And if you wonder how one can miss such a huge mammal, check out Photo # 6, where the moose decided to lie down against a fallen tree and recover from the heat. I sat down across the gully a distance away and watched this moose quietly eat and relax. The large gully is full of fallen trees, branches and forest debris. With the gully between us, the log behind the moose and the woods tight around, I am certain the moose felt quite "tucked up" for his moose nap.

 

Then about half an hour later, up he popped and continued on his moose meander. At one point, I thought he was heading for the river as he continually sniffed the air in that direction but instead kept on through the woods and eventually headed south for what I assumed was his final retreat out of the Provincial Park and hopefully along and into the Bow River.

 

This is the time of year when young moose now on their own for the first time, have to find their way into wilderness areas where they can thrive and grow. This young moose must have thought he had found a moose's version of "The Garden of Eden", when he arrived in Fish Creek Provincial Park what with the river and the plentiful trees and lush vegetation.

 

For more photos, visit the gallery:

 

https://www.inaturephoto.com/moose_finding_his_way_in_the_world/slideshow#hf76494d4

 

As a side note, although not common sightings in the park, moose can occasionally be seen. One of the reasons it is so important to keep your pets leashed while visiting. The forested areas, particularly along the river, can appear to be free from wildlife and great places to let dogs run free but a deer encounter is stressful enough, a moose one could turn extremely dangerous.

 

PHOTO #1

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"I DON'T HAVE ANY BAD SIDES"

PHOTO #2

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"MOOSE IN THE LANDSCAPE"

PHOTO #3

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"GRAZING IN THE GRASS"

PHOTO #4

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"SEE IF YOU EAT YOUR GREENS, YOU TOO CAN GROW UP BIG & STRONG!"

PHOTO #5

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"THE BEST ARE AT THE TOP OF THE TREE"

PHOTO #6

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"A MOOSE NAP"

PHOTO #7

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"CANADIAN MOOSE"

PHOTO #8

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"S-T-R-E-T-C-H"

PHOTO #9

Moose - MaleMoose - Male"MOOSE MEADOW"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/8/-finding-his-way-in-the-world---moose-male Wed, 04 Aug 2021 01:04:45 GMT
"EVEN HUMMERS CAN BE GREEN" - Hummingbird (Calliope) - Juvenile https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-even-hummers-can-be-green---hummingbird-calliope---juvenile "EVEN HUMMERS CAN BE GREEN"

Calliope Hummingbird (Juvenile) - 6 Photos

 

So there I was sitting by the creek, hoping for a mink sighting (sigh) and watching two American Goldfinches flying in and around.

 

Wouldn't it be a great shot, I thought, if one of the finches would land on the newly opened flowers of a thistle, about five feet off to my right. What a great photo opportunity of the bright yellow bird against the pink.

 

Then something caught my eye. At first I thought it was a dragonfly flitting about the thistle flower, then my brain went to "hawk moth" and then it suddenly dawned on me, it was a hummingbird! And as soon as I thought "hummingbird",  a little songbird flew by and scared it off.  That was another "darn".

 

So I waited and maybe 10 minutes later, back came the little darling again. I guess the nectar in that thistle flower was just so tempting.

 

It hovered to the back of the flower and then finally flew clear so I could get some shots. After about 8 minutes, it flew away, leaving me in awe. And for this extremely tiny little bird, just one stop on its long migration south. How such a small creature can make such a journey of thousands of miles, is one of Nature's incredible stories.

 

I sent the photo off to Brian Keating, the Calgary naturalist who is a regular guest on Calgary's & Edmonton's CBC Radio. He kindly reached out to three brilliant colleagues of his, who all identified it as a juvenile Calliope Hummingbird. 

 

So even some Hummers can be green!

 

And please check out Brian's amazing sighting on a hiking trip to Sunshine Meadows in Banff, Alberta, CA. Link below:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/brian-keating-naturalist-calgary-black-squirrel-melanism-1.6118054

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-even-hummers-can-be-green---hummingbird-calliope---juvenile Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:28:04 GMT
"BEAMING BEAVERS" - Beavers (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-beaming-beavers---beavers-north-american "BEAMING BEAVERS"

Beavers (North American) - 8 Photos

 

So it was another late evening with the Beaver Family and watching their comings & goings. 

 

I managed to capture some close-ups of their faces, etc. and hopefully, their individual characteristics. As previously identified, there are two adults (the mother and father) and two youngsters. And as in most families, there can be a problem child. But that's another blog.

 

Here is the Beaver Family:

 

PHOTO #1 - "FATHER BEAVER"

PHOTO #2 - "FATHER BEAVER"

PHOTO #3 - "FATHER BEAVER IN DISGUISE"

PHOTO #4 - "MOTHER BEAVER WHO DOES'T LOOK PARTICULARLY HAPPY"

PHOTO #5 - "MOTHER BEAVER & ONE YOUNGSTER (RIGHT OF THE PHOTO)

PHOTO #6 - "YOUNGSTER"

PHOTO #7 - "YOUNGSTER"

PHOTO #8 - "YOUNGSTER HAVING A SCRATCH - WHO DOES'T LIKE TO SPLASH IN THE WATER?"

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-beaming-beavers---beavers-north-american Sat, 24 Jul 2021 01:10:17 GMT
"ALBERTA RODENTIA - SMALL, BIGGER, BIGGEST" - Various https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-alberta-rodentia---small-bigger-biggest---various "ALBERTA RODENTIA - SMALL, BIGGER, BIGGEST"

Meadow Vole (?), Porcupine, Beaver - 3 Photos

 

Over a period of a few days, managed to capture some members of Alberta's rodent family, from one of the smallest to the biggest. 

 

SMALL - MEADOW VOLE (?)

I heard a splash and thought the mink had arrived. Instead, this little creature climbed up on a rock to dry off. It appeared to have missed the jump and landed in the water. Apparently, they live only a year but this little fellow is living on borrowed time. It's living in the bank that the mink uses to traverse the creek and the weasel frequently uses that set of rocks to navigate the creek, jumping from rock to rock!

BIGGER - PORCUPINE

This is little Hap P, offspring of Chewie P. Found her (I think with the size & shape of the face, it could be female), close in to the beaver area, late one evening. Apparently, female porcupines maintain a territory and defend it against other females so perhaps, Chewie is now pushing out her little girl to the far end of her territory. 

BIGGEST - BEAVER

This is the mother beaver of the beaver family (consisting of four members). On the light side, she looks like she is almost smiling. On the dark side, she reminds me of "Jabba the Hutt" from Star Wars :)

 

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-alberta-rodentia---small-bigger-biggest---various Wed, 21 Jul 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"A LATE EVENING WITH THE BEAVER FAMILY" - Beaver (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-a-late-evening-with-the-beaver-family---beaver-north-american "A LATE EVENING WITH THE BEAVER FAMILY"

Beavers (North American) - 10 Photos

 

I had followed one large beaver upstream until it stopped at the bend of the creek. There was already one smaller beaver there munching away. So I had two beavers to watch. And then an even larger beaver appeared from downstream, followed sometime thereafter by another, much smaller. So I had four beavers and watching them interact and determining by sizes, it was a mother beaver (the one I had followed), the father beaver (the largest one) and two youngsters.

 

It was a late evening picnic, with beavers coming and going, appearing with new material and happily relaxing & eating.

 

In Photo #5 , you can see Mrs. Beaver arriving with her latest "groceries", which she deposited into the creek and quickly set to some juicy leaves and new bark. She had one of the kits next to her left. And I guess the little one thought he/she would help itself to some of Mum's latest. Well that wasn't going to happen. It's the first time I have ever seen an adult beaver lunge at a youngster (Photo #6).  It happened so fast and then it was over. There was some mewing from the kit and eventually Mum let it eat some of the peripheral branches. A short time after, Mum swam away downstream. As I was leaving, I did see her much further down in the creek, happily eating. I guess even beaver mothers need some away time from their kits!

 

In Photo #8, you can see a much smaller beaver approach and nudge the back end of a very large beaver. That would be the second kit & Mr. Beaver. It was such a gentle and soft touch, letting Dad know it was there. Eventually, Dad climbed up on the bank and took to some grooming and relaxing. He is one big beaver, probably 40 pounds plus. 

 

I could have stayed well past the time that clear photography would have been possible and watch the family enjoying their creek picnic but unfortunately the Provincial Park locks its gates (and the exit from the parking lots) at 10:00 p.m. so I had to say so long for now and thanks!

 

PHOTO #1 - Mrs. with her appetizer

PHOTO #2 - Pure contentment

PHOTO #3 - Mrs. relaxing on the bank

PHOTO #4 - What great teeth you have, Mrs.

PHOTO #5 - Mrs. coming back with her groceries

 

PHOTO #6 - Just missed getting the nose of the kit in (darn) but this is Mum lunging (right of photo) at youngster

PHOTO #7 - So even beaver kits "shake, rattle & roll"!

PHOTO #8 - "Hey, Dad, it's me!"

PHOTO #9 - Mr. having some bank time

PHOTO #10 - One relaxed father beaver watching the kits

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-a-late-evening-with-the-beaver-family---beaver-north-american Sun, 18 Jul 2021 16:24:39 GMT
"ON LAND, BY SEA & IN THE AIR" - Black Crowned Night Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-on-land-by-sea-in-the-air---black-crowned-night-heron "ON LAND, BY SEA & IN THE AIR"

Black-Crowned Night Heron (9 Photos)

 

The following photos were taken at three different locations at three different times. However, those times ranged from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and it would have been later but I had to leave the Night Heron because it was too hot in the summer sun. Goodness why they are called Black-Crowned "Night" Herons in our neck of the woods (Calgary, Alberta, CA) because they are frequently seen here during the daylight hours, including noon!

 

And that being said, why is it that with their long yellow legs and clawed feet, they remind me of "aliens"! :) (See Photo #6)

 

ON LAND

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

BY SEA

 

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

IN THE AIR

 

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-on-land-by-sea-in-the-air---black-crowned-night-heron Wed, 14 Jul 2021 18:22:29 GMT
"SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-shake-rattle-roll---mink-north-american "SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL"

Mink (North American) - 6 Photos

 

We've probably all seen dogs do it. Bears do it. Most likely any furred creature that is trying to "quick dry" after a splash does it :) And yes, mink do it too! 

 

That "it" is the "shake, rattle & roll" to eliminate the excess water from their coats. It does, however, provide some amusing facial expressions, even on a little predator such as the mink.

 

 

PHOTO #1 - "READY TO ROLL"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"READY?"

PHOTO #2 - "EYES CLOSED"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"GET SET"

 

 

PHOTO #3 - "TWIST"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"ROLL THE OTHER WAY"

PHOTO #4 - "SHAKE"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"ROLL"

PHOTO #5 - "OOPS, DID YOU PHOTOGRAPH THAT?"

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"YOU DIDN'T TAKE THAT PHOTO, DID YOU?"

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-shake-rattle-roll---mink-north-american Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:49:14 GMT
"NATURE PAINTS HER OWN CANVAS" - Birds (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-nature-paints-her-own-canvas---birds-north-american "NATURE PAINTS HER OWN CANVAS"

Birds (North American) - 4 Photos

 

Firstly, the four photos that follow have only had a border added & a title. Only basic editing has been used. NO photo layering or special effects have been utilized.

 

It often occurs to me when photographing wildlife that Nature does indeed paint her own canvas. She adds just the right light and colours and creates the most incredible artwork. Sometimes the subjects may be common sightings (the Black Capped Chickadee & the Yellow Warbler) or they may be somewhat uncommon for the area, in this case, Calgary, Alberta, CA (such as the Baltimore Oriole & the Western Tanager). 

 

But no matter what the subject, her talents, I believe, cannot be surpassed by any paintbrush. (And a little humour in the titles can't hurt!)

 

 

PHOTO #1 - Black Capped Chickadee

PHOTO #2 - Yellow Warbler

PHOTO #3 - Baltimore Oriole

PHOTO #4 - Western Tanager

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-nature-paints-her-own-canvas---birds-north-american Tue, 06 Jul 2021 15:38:27 GMT
"MORNIN' MINK!" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-mornin-mink---mink-north-american "MORNIN' MINK!"

Mink (North American) - 3 Photos

 

An early morning catch for both me and the mink!

 

She is one amazing mink. In just over an hour, she caught three fish, the largest being the one in the photo.

 

On a side note, the mink changed her normal tactics. She usually catches a fish and then runs off to her favourite grove of trees to polish it off. On these fish runs, however, she caught each fish and then ran back downstream, fish intact each time. (By three different routes, mind you!) So I am wondering, perhaps she has other little mink mouths to feed :)

 

PHOTO #1 - "WINNER, WINNER, FISHY DINNER!" 

PHOTO #2 - "ON TOP OF OLD SMOKEY"

PHOTO #3 - "THE SOUTH END OF A MINK GOING NORTH" - Loved the make-up of the mink's hindfoot/pad!

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/7/-mornin-mink---mink-north-american Sun, 04 Jul 2021 20:35:19 GMT
"THE EYES HAVE IT!" - Mink (North American) Plus 1 https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-the-eyes-have-it---mink-north-american-plus-1 "THE EYES HAVE IT!"

Mink (North American) Plus 1 - 3 Photos

 

Taken on two different days at different times.

 

The little mink had been fishing, taken her catch off to eat in her favourite dining spot. She then reappeared down the creek heading out (towards me) when she disappeared and then reappeared within "spitting distance" of me. Her look is almost questioning, "Is this close enough???". You really don't get any second chances with minks and if you lose eye contact, they are gone when you look up. 

 

So I shot at the maximum length of my lens (which is 600 mm) and yes, little mink it was close enough! (Photo #1) This is the first time ever I have taken a photo of a mink where you can actually see the pupil in each eye. That dispels the "cold eye" look of a mustelid. I have cropped the photo out (Photo #2) so that you can see her lovely brown eyes that much better.

 

And the day before, the little mink couldn't make it so she sent her cousin, the Long Tailed Weasel, with her apologies. Again, it was only seconds from the time the weasel came to a screeching halt having seen me across the creek until disappearing into the grass. However, it did stop long enough to allow me an opportunity to grab the shot of another extraordinary member of the Mustelid family.

 

I read up on some research to find out how well minks see. Apparently they have excellent eyesight and ultrasonic hearing in the range produced by their prey. So I do feel honoured that these little mammals take the time and are curious enough to allow me a few precious shots of their activities :)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-the-eyes-have-it---mink-north-american-plus-1 Thu, 24 Jun 2021 19:00:12 GMT
"BREAKING NEWS - NESSIE HAS BEEN FOUND BUT ......" - Great Blue Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-breaking-news---nessie-has-been-found-but---great-blue-heron "BREAKING NEWS - NESSIE HAS BEEN FOUND BUT ....."

Great Blue Heron - 7 Photos

 

..... IT WAS EATEN BY THE GREAT BLUE HERON! :)

 

Am certain almost everyone has heard of "The Loch Ness Monster" or Nessie for short.

 

Well I know this Great Blue Heron's catch isn't really "Nessie" although its head bears a strong resemblance but the fish's size is enormous even for a Great Blue Heron. The heron caught the fish in a shallow part of a pond and having successfully pulled it from the water, the heron walked over to a large rock where it whacked it several times against the hard surface, much like what a kingfisher does with its catch.

 

I believe the fish is a Northern Pike, quite the predator amongst other fish and in this case, though, the predator became the prey.

 

And then after a bit of repositioning, down the heron's throat it went, head first and in one long swallow. A little sip of water and believe it or not, the heron went back to fishing. Shortly thereafter, it flew into a tree to groom and probably digest.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-breaking-news---nessie-has-been-found-but---great-blue-heron Wed, 23 Jun 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"MAGIC MINK" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-magic-mink---mink-north-american "MAGIC MINK"

Mink (North American) - 5 Photos

 

The mink in North America is a fierce predator and may well be one of the smaller members of the Mustelid family but its heart is that of a wolverine.

 

I value every opportunity I have to photograph this little mammal but when I can capture the moments featured in the photos below, it is pure Magic!

 

The mink had caught the fish and run off to what it thought was a safe haven to eat when it was chased out the grove by several Red-Winged Blackbirds and that's when I took the photos. She subsequently found a better and more secluded dining area.

 

And that's another Prussian Carp out of the environment. Well done, Little Magic Mink!

 

PHOTO #1

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"IT'S FISH FOR THE FAMILY TONIGHT!"

PHOTO #2

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"CAUGHT A FISH!"

PHOTO #3

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"ALMOST DOWN"

PHOTO #4

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"HOLD ON TO IT!"

PHOTO #5

Mink (North American)Mink (North American)"A SHORT BREAK"

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-magic-mink---mink-north-american Sat, 19 Jun 2021 22:30:30 GMT
"ROOMIES" - Beaver (North American) & Muskrat https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-roomies---beaver-north-american-muskrat "ROOMIES"

Beaver (North American) & Muskrat (4 Photos)

 

Perhaps a more fitting title would be "Lodgies" as muskrats frequently share living quarters in lodges with their beaver relatives. And they don't receive free rent either as they contribute with the upkeep, such as mudding the gaps inside the lodge. I have also observed that frequently they exit the lodge prior to the beavers - scouting the area perhaps before the "big boys" come out?

 

Even though they belong to the rodent family, both muskrats & beavers, I think, have adorable faces.

 

And with respect to the beaver photos, this is the first time I have ever seen a beaver chow down on an evergreen. Perhaps he/she had a tummy ache and was looking for some relief??

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-roomies---beaver-north-american-muskrat Wed, 16 Jun 2021 18:44:45 GMT
"THE MUSTELID EXPRESS" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-the-mustelid-express---mink-north-american "THE MUSTELID EXPRESS"

Mink (North American) - 7 Photos

 

How better to describe a brief encounter with a mink. It was approximately five minutes.

 

Having reviewed these current photos with those taken last year, I am left with the impression that this is not the same female mink as seen in previous years. And this latest mink bears a strong resemblance to Momma Mink's female offspring from last year, who I named "Little Girl". It may also explain why her schedule and hunting habits have changed. Only time (and more photos) will tell.

 

In any event, it was thrilling to catch my first close-up glimpses of a mink for 2021. Keep up the fishing of those invasive species, little mink! :)

 

PHOTO #1 - "UP FROM THE DEPTHS Of ROCKS"

PHOTO #2 - "NOW THAT'S A LONG FACE"

PHOTO #3 - "WHAT'S UP?"

PHOTO #4 - "FIVE MINUTES IN AND WE ARE ALREADY BORED"

PHOTO #5 - "LOOKING FOR FISH IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES"

PHOTO #6 - "THIS IS CLOSE TO A PHANTOM MASK WITH A 'STINK EYE' THROWN IN"

 

PHOTO #7 - "THE SWIM EXIT"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-the-mustelid-express---mink-north-american Fri, 11 Jun 2021 07:30:00 GMT
"BATHING IS FOR THE BIRDS" - Various https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2021/6/-bathing-is-for-the-birds---various "BATHING IS FOR THE BIRDS"

Black Capped Chickadee, Cedar Waxwing, Great Horned Owl - 5 Photos

 

Over the past week or two, I caught the Black Capped Chickadee and the Cedar Waxwing after they had indulged themselves in a bird bath in the little creek.

Love to see how different & fluffy they can appear when you add a little water. 

 

In the case of the Great Horned Owl - this photo was taken in May 2016, after a skirmish this mother owl had had with a Canada Goose, who had flown to close to the owl's nest. She had taken the fight to the pond where the goose had landed and obviously had gotten a little too close to the water's edge.