Ingham Nature Photography Inc.: Blog https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog en-us (C) Ingham Nature Photography Inc. (Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) Tue, 24 Jan 2023 16:47:00 GMT Tue, 24 Jan 2023 16:47:00 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 "WHAT EAGLES GET UP TO IN THEIR DOWNTIME" - Bald Eagles (Mature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-what-eagles-get-up-to-in-their-downtime---bald-eagles-mature "WHAT EAGLES GET UP TO IN THEIR DOWNTIME"

Bald Eagles (Mature ) - 11 Photos

 

The following photos feature two Bald Eagles (actually a partnership) and were taken over the course of several hours.

 

I followed one as it landed on a tree and it was subsequently joined by its mate. The two then flew to a pair of trees very close by and then eventually ended up in one tree, one on a branch above the other where they remained for almost two hours, literally just chilling out. If you check out the feet and talons of one eagle, in particular, you can see they are bright red, presumably covered in the blood of a recent & probably substantial meal. They probably both had recently dined well which may explain why they were attending to "other matters" for such a long period.

 

As the afternoon sun began its descent, the two, one after the other, flew in the direction of the river.

 

So what do eagles get up to when they have some time to relax. Well ........

 

PHOTO #1 - Having A Conversation With Our Mate

 

PHOTO #2 - Spending Some Time With A 'Friend'. If I was this magpie, I would be paying close attention to the colour of this eagle's feet :) 

 

PHOTO #3 - A Quick Pose Before Changing Locations

 

PHOTO #4 - Choosing Just The Right Perch

 

PHOTO #5 - Taking That Horror Movie Pose

 

PHOTO #6 - Cleaning Our Beak With A Newly Broken Off Branch. Who said eagles don't use tools???

 

PHOTO #7 - Taking That "Who Me?" Look

 

PHOTO #8 - Now That Looks More Like A Bird Of Prey

 

PHOTO #9 - Relieving That Annoying Itch

 

PHOTO #10 -  S-t-r-e-t-c-h

 

PHOTO #11 - The Inevitable Good-Bye

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-what-eagles-get-up-to-in-their-downtime---bald-eagles-mature Tue, 24 Jan 2023 08:30:00 GMT
"GUESS WHO JUST DROPPED IN?" - Sharp-Shinned Hawk https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-guess-who-just-dropped-in---sharp-shinned-hawk "GUESS WHO JUST DROPPED IN?"

Sharp-Shinned Hawk- 9 Photos

 

So I was sitting by a river, waiting for a certain Belted Kingfisher to come in closer. The seconds turned to minutes which turned to over an hour, which - well you get the picture.

 

Then I heard this plop close-by and looked quickly to my right and there sitting on a semi-submerged branch in the river channel was a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. So I quickly aimed the camera taking as many shots as I could before the hawk flew away but then it just sat there.

 

"Now I know we just met & far from it for me to comment on your perch choices, but you're sinking!"  And yes, although Sharp-Shinned Hawks weigh only up to 115 grams, this branch was already half under water before the addition of the hawk. With the movement of the water and the weight of the bird, the branch was rapidly disappearing. So the hawk deserted the "sinking ship" to another branch more secure & then hopped to some rocks on the river bed.

 

I expected it to fly off at this point but then it flew clear of the debris onto a series of rocks where it sat & took some time to decide its next move. Eventually, it flew up onto fallen tree and then across the river where I saw it hunting, chasing after the smaller waterfowl along the shore.

 

I am not certain if it had gotten too close to the river in its pursuit of prey and made a semi-crash landing to dry off and it was any perch was better than no perch but it was amusing to see it sitting there in a dignified hawk manner, as its tail feathers slowly disappeared into the water. But obviously no lasting harm done.

 

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PHOTO #10

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-guess-who-just-dropped-in---sharp-shinned-hawk Sun, 22 Jan 2023 18:29:06 GMT
"CROUCHING EAGLE" - Bald Eagle (Mature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-crouching-eagle---bald-eagle-mature "CROUCHING EAGLE"

Bald Eagle (Mature) - 3 Photos

 

"Crouching Eagle" can be a yoga pose or even a play on the movie title "Crouching Eagle (Tiger), Hidden Dragon". One could almost imagine an eagle being mistaken for a dragon, with its wing span, large head & beak and those magnificent talons.

 

This particular Bald Eagle flew into a grove of trees and chose to land on a broken tree, before departing.

 

Maybe it assumed this position because of the nature of the perch or perhaps for a quick get away. All that mattered was for a very short period, it allowed some quick shots of a magnificent bird.

 

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

 

PHOTO #3

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-crouching-eagle---bald-eagle-mature Tue, 17 Jan 2023 02:50:30 GMT
"CUDDLE BUG" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-cuddle-bug---porcupine-north-american "CUDDLE BUG"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

Perhaps "'Cuddle Bug" isn't the first nickname that comes to mind when one thinks "porcupine" but with their dark furry brown faces & their cute little footpads (that always remind me of soled slippers), maybe a re-visit is in order.

 

This Cuddle Bug probably stayed up in a tree after a night outing, foraging for food, deciding that some warmth & sunshine would be conducive for some scratching & napping.

 

PHOTO #1

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-cuddle-bug---porcupine-north-american Mon, 16 Jan 2023 00:16:38 GMT
"LIGHTNING BUG" - Belted Kingfisher https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-lightning-bug---belted-kingfisher "LIGHTNING BUG"

Belted Kingfisher - 7 Photos

 

I've been wanting to use the title of Country Artist, Dean Brody's song for some time and thought it was an apt description for the little Belted Kingfisher, although it probably should be "Lightning Bird"!

 

Am still amazed how some of Belted Kingfishers remain in Calgary, AB during the cold winter, fishing anywhere where there is open water (and fish, of course).

 

I try to be the "glass half full" photographer and not dwell on the shots that I miss, like this little Kingfisher landing in the tree. But thanks to Nature & the camera equipment, I managed to catch its dive from the tree & its flight away.

 

The Belted Kingfisher isn't as flashy as the British Kingfisher but when you can see the underside of its body with its wings spread, you can imagine those paint swatches you find in the paint aisle. The Belted Kingfisher certainly should have a swatch entitled, "Belted Kingfisher" featuring multiple shades of blue.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-lightning-bug---belted-kingfisher Mon, 09 Jan 2023 18:11:51 GMT
"NINJA WARRIOR VS SUMO WRESTLER" - Squirrels (Red & Eastern Gray) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-ninja-warrior-vs-sumo-wrestler---squirrels-red-eastern-gray "NINJA WARRIOR VS SUMO WRESTLER"

Squirrels (Red & Eastern Gray) - 9 Photos

 

In one afternoon, I encountered both the Red Squirrel & the Eastern Gray Squirrel. No matter what their status, both were extremely photogenic and so so cute.

 

The Red Squirrel is, of course, native to Alberta & unfortunately, because of the introduction of the Eastern Gray to the West in the early 1900's, has had its numbers significantly reduced. There does appear to be some recovery, however. In areas of Fish Creek Provincial Park, there are now Red Squirrels where I've never seen them before. Perhaps, it is because I haven't been aware of them previously but hopefully, the former is true and their numbers are increasing. It is a sad fact that as a species, humans have not learned the lesson of the question, "What could possibly go wrong?" of introducing non-native species in our environments.

 

They are both cheeky but each has a distinct appearance and having reviewed the photos, the terms "Ninja Warrior" & "Sumo Wrestler" struck me because of the stance, shape & attitude of each species. 

 

Review the photos below and see if you agree. That "bring it on" look of the Red Squirrel may explain why it is now showing up in more regions of the park.

 

THE NINJA WARRIOR - RED SQUIRREL (NATIVE TO ALBERTA)

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

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PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

THE SUMO WRESTLER - EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (INVASIVE)

 

PHOTO #6

 

PHOTO #7

 

PHOTO #8

 

PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-ninja-warrior-vs-sumo-wrestler---squirrels-red-eastern-gray Fri, 06 Jan 2023 02:33:05 GMT
"WHAT LOVE IS" - Bald Eagle (Adults) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-what-love-is---bald-eagle-adults "WHAT LOVE IS"

Bald Eagles (Adults) - 9 Photos

 

The photos below are of a pair of Bald Eagles who are permanent residents of Calgary, AB. They have a nest on an island in the middle of the Bow River and frequent the river's shores regularly.

 

The male of the pair appeared in the January 2nd, 2023 blog, "When An Eagle & A Magpie Play Chicken" and unfortunately was "defeated" by the magpie, i.e. gave up his perch.

 

Mid-morning, again the male eagle flew into the same tree and took up the same perch, with the identical positioning as previously (Photo #1). So there I was madly shooting, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a second & much larger eagle coming in for a landing. The male had to move over to allow sufficient room for its mate, who landed in all her magnificence (Photo #2 & Photo #3)

 

The female, however, had taken her perch in exactly the opposite direction to her mate. So there they were side by side but facing different ways. (Male is to the left of the photo, female to the right.)

 

Soon these two eagles will be re-affirming their commitment to each other, which can include chattering to each other with heads lifted up. But in the interim, what better way to show love but to watch either other's back. Magpies beware, there will be no sneaking behind and tweaking tail feathers with these formidable two, standing side by side.

 

And even Bald Eagles can sometimes look silly as they try to establish positioning on a branch (Photo # 6). 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-what-love-is---bald-eagle-adults Thu, 05 Jan 2023 04:02:36 GMT
"WHEN AN EAGLE & A MAGPIE PLAY CHICKEN" - Bald Eagle & Magpie https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-when-an-eagle-a-magpie-play-chicken---bald-eagle-magpie "WHEN AN EAGLE & A MAGPIE PLAY CHICKEN"

Bald Eagle & Magpie - 10 Photos

 

The Bald Eagle a large & truly magnificent bird of prey. Its vision is 4 to 5 times that of a human and with 4 talons on each foot, it is a formidable hunter and sometimes scavenger (Photo #1 through Photo #4)

 

And then there is the Black-billed Magpie. A large flashy relative of jays & crows, it is a social & intelligent creature. One particular magpie decided to take on this Bald Eagle, alone, in what can only be described as a game of chicken. I believe it had figured out, long before I did, that the way the eagle had perched with its talons in a position for a northerly take-off, that if it approached from the south, there was little the eagle could do to defend itself without putting its body off balance.

 

It proceeded to attack the eagle from the south, with extremely gutsy manoeuvres (Photo #5 through Photo #9), at one point going directly up the back of the eagle's tail & back feathers (Photo #9). It was interesting, for once, to see a "duel" between these two birds from the magpie's perspective.

 

It was a quick look through the legs (Photo #10) and then the eagle was off. 

 

Black-billed Magpie 1

Bald Eagle 0

 

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PHOTO #10


 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2023/1/-when-an-eagle-a-magpie-play-chicken---bald-eagle-magpie Tue, 03 Jan 2023 03:05:58 GMT
"SITTING PRETTY" - Great Horned Owl https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-sitting-pretty---great-horned-owl "SITTING PRETTY"

Great Horned Owl - 9 Photos

 

Firstly and most importantly, the Great Horned Owl depicted in the photos below is NOT injured. 

 

I had been given a tip from a fellow photographer that he had seen a Great Horned Owl sitting in the snow on a frozen creek. Now it was at least a 20 minute walk to the site, even longer going the scenic route and that would mean that the owl had already been there at least that length of time already. So what are the chances of it still being there.

 

Well if you don't try - you don't get. So off I walked, took the scenic route around the creek as I thought it would bring me to the best spot to achieve shots without too much obstruction. And there was the owl sitting in the snow, with ravens in the trees lining the edge of the creek. 

 

As the ravens were quietly waiting in the trees, subsequently joined by magpies, this owl was most likely sitting on a freshly killed prey and not wanting it to be eaten by those "uninvited guests", it was literally sitting it out, waiting until the ravens got bored and left. You can see from the angles of its head, it was keeping a close watch on the comings and goings of the smaller birds.

 

And eventually it did fly off, with a small dead bird in its talons, hotly pursued by ravens & magpies hoping to obtain a piece of the "action".

 

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PHOTO #9

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-sitting-pretty---great-horned-owl Wed, 28 Dec 2022 17:38:49 GMT
"IF I LOOKED THIS GOOD" - Swan (Tundra) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-if-i-looked-this-good---swan-tundra "IF I LOOKED THIS GOOD"

Swan (Tundra) - 7 Photos

 

If I looked this good and was this athletic, I would be doing more self admiration too (Photo #3 ).

 

Although the Trumpeter Swan is much larger, whiter & has that special presence, the Tundra Swan has its unique qualities as well, such as its yellow spot just in front of its eyes. And, of course, it has those magnificent white feathers as well.

 

And as for the light discrepancy, all the photos were taken during the same session, the sunlight disappeared the latter half of the day, which gave the softer blue light.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

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PHOTO #7

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-if-i-looked-this-good---swan-tundra Wed, 28 Dec 2022 17:14:39 GMT
"ARCTIC BLAST" - Tundra Swans https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-arctic-blast---tundra-swans "ARCTIC BLAST"

Tundra Swans - 7 Photos

 

Because of Alberta's diverse weather & seasons, its wildlife can also be varied particularly with migrations. Where else can you encounter White-Faced Ibis in the summer months and swans from the Arctic in December.

 

So what do you do on those days that are -31 degrees C with the wind chill and snow showers - well you hunker down with those newly arrived Tundra Swans and hope for some great photo opportunities. 

 

And although these two swans were sitting on an icy shoal, they were much more prepared (and more practiced) for the state of an Arctic blast than one lonely photographer.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-arctic-blast---tundra-swans Mon, 19 Dec 2022 00:21:13 GMT
"THANKS FOR THE CONVERSATION" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-thanks-for-the-conversation---coyote "THANKS FOR THE CONVERSATION"

Coyote - 7 Photos

 

This conversation was between a pair of coyotes and from their sizes & demeanors, I would say a partnership of male & female.

 

I was actually in the area scouting for coyotes when I heard the coyote cries/howls coming from very close-by. It was a conversation between these two and I was the eavesdropper, (although I don't believe they cared). And thanks to that vocal exchange, I knew that coyotes were in the near vicinity.

 

Now I knew where the sound was coming from. It was now a matter of trying to locate movement within the shrubbery & snowy surrounding and flat light. I spotted the larger one first, who I assume was the male, tracking every so often, with his nose to the snow, sniffing & listening for mice/voles (Photo #5). As he headed toward the bottom of a small uprising, I spotted the second coyote, smaller (but fully sized) and appearing to be a little more timid. Believe this must have been his mate.

 

She quickly trotted across the meadow and up the small hill, where she paused for a few seconds (Photo #7), then turned south along the small ridge and back down into the treed area and her mate quickly followed her.

 

Although never venturing too close, they both came in my direction to where I was standing & then leisurely trotted on looking for small rodents, etc. for their morning meal. Both were extremely relaxed & appeared content in their own environment, minding their own business of finding small prey (perhaps, even a pheasant if they were lucky). 

 

Not more than 15 minutes later, a couple of dog walkers arrived into the area, with dogs off leash (a prohibited practice in the Provincial Park), probably none the wiser. The coyotes had long moved on, most likely into the more thickly forested areas where people do not travel or cannot access and I had lost sight of them.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-thanks-for-the-conversation---coyote Mon, 12 Dec 2022 20:30:28 GMT
"ALBERTA'S BLUE SKIES" - Bald Eagle (Mature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-albertas-blue-skies---bald-eagle-mature "ALBERTA'S BLUE SKIES"

Bald Eagles (Mature) - 10 Photos

 

Alberta, CA certainly has its share of extremely blue skies. One reason behind their vibrancy could be is that higher altitudes have less atmosphere to scatter light hence it appears lighter & brighter.

 

The following photos of two different Bald Eagles were taken on two different days. The first set (Photo #1 through Photo #8) was on a day in the early afternoon where the north wind was blowing in fluffy white clouds; hence the dramatic contrast in some of the photos. I don't add blue skies to my photography. The change in the lighting is due to the tracking of the flying bird. This mature eagle was literally just chilling out by the Bow River, Calgary, AB and appeared quite happy to perch and watch any people traffic passing under its tree and any incoming waterfowl.

 

The second set (Photo #9 & Photo #10) were taken on a completely blue sky day in the late afternoon. I had had a bit of a quiet day for photography so when this eagle did a wonderful fly by and angled just at the right moment, it made it all worthwhile. And because the tracking was minimal, the lighting basically remained constant.

 

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PHOTO #10

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-albertas-blue-skies---bald-eagle-mature Tue, 06 Dec 2022 16:59:15 GMT
"FIGHT NIGHT (OR DAY)" - White Tailed Deer https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-fight-night-or-day---white-tailed-deer "FIGHT NIGHT (OR DAY)"

White Tailed Deer (Bucks) - 11 Photos

 

It's not often you get front row tickets to one of Nature's Fight Nights/Days. These two male deer were almost evenly matched with regard to their racks but in the end, perhaps bulk and endurance won over antlers.

 

The match was the most serious I have ever witnessed lasting almost 20 minutes, with one deer, at one point, actually pinning the other to the ground (Photo #8 & Photo #9 )This was a serious contention over who had rights to the doe, who was lingering in the nearby woods. And before proceeding further, I would advise that both the victor & the challenger trotted off completely sound, with perhaps some minor scrapes. The victor scoped out the near vicinity after catching his breath, to ensure there were no more skirmishes to be had.

 

In the end, it was endurance and probably conditioning that won out and the challenger gave in from exhaustion.

 

And that haze that appears in Photo #2 is in fact, the heavy breaths expelled by both bucks in their battling.

 

 

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PHOTO #11

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/12/-fight-night-or-day---white-tailed-deer Mon, 05 Dec 2022 17:24:29 GMT
"ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES @ YYC" - Swans (Trumpeter & Tundra) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-arrivals-departures-yyc---swans-trumpeter-tundra "ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES @ YYC"

Swans (Trumpeter & Tundra) - Mature & Immature - 7 Photos

 

The swan migration south must now be in its final stages. It will be a matter of time to see how many swans actually stay in the Calgary, AB region over the Winter. I personally believe those that overwinter have a definite advantage over those that migrate further south. There are basically no predators, lots of food as the Bow River remains, for the most part, open for the winter months and the journey back up north in the Spring is much less and therefore they expend less calories. And they can get a head start over their counterparts on those nesting areas in the Spring.

 

So here are some arrivals & departures from Calgary. As a photographer, I really appreciate the vocalization of the swans, there is a lot of trumpeting & honking as they fly over & hopefully land and the Trumpeter Swans, in particular, perform synchronized head bobbing accompanied by strong honking prior to departure, which generally gives you some time to position yourself and the camera.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-arrivals-departures-yyc---swans-trumpeter-tundra Tue, 29 Nov 2022 16:49:32 GMT
"LOVE IS IN THE AIR" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-love-is-in-the-air---porcupine-north-american "LOVE IS IN THE AIR"

Porcupine (North American) - 5 Photos

 

I have been seeing this porcupine over the past three years and have managed to capture him in various trees and when extremely fortunate, on the ground.

 

It is definitely a male and a large one at that. 

 

There is a female porcupine who resides in a neighbouring wood. Two years ago, she had a "porcupette" (yep that's what they call a baby porcupine), who was also a male. And trust me, I know he is a male because he has been known to display his nether parts! He left his home woods last Spring and I think he now resides in his own territory much further south.

 

Male porcupines, in particular, can be very possessive of their territories and ladies. You wouldn't think so by seeing them asleep in trees but they will put up quite the defense. Late last Spring when the youngster mentioned above moved down into another male's territory, two photography friends actually witnessed the young porcupine having his butt kicked (literally) out of the tree by the much larger incumbent male. He did land safely on the leafy bed below and went quickly on his way, hopefully to greener pastures. :) 

 

So I assume that the porcupine who appears in the photos below, being that it is mating season, is looking for love from the female close-by. He has been spotted in this tree at least two times now and the tree is at the very end of the woods where he resides and closest to the patch of woods across from the female's home base. 

 

I have not spotted the female since this past Spring so hopefully all is well but as porcupines in the wild generally get up to their mating practices under the cover of darkness, so we won't know any results until next Spring! :)

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-love-is-in-the-air---porcupine-north-american Mon, 28 Nov 2022 17:06:23 GMT
"AGING" - Bald Eagle https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-aging---bald-eagle "AGING"

Bald Eagle - 5 Photos

 

American Bald Eagles generally do not achieve their full white head feathers, etc. and maturity until 5 years of age. This particular eagle appears to be a year or so shy of attaining that status.

 

However, the remaining immature head feathers make for some striking and interesting looks. For example, although it doesn't appear to have reached the "bald" status yet, we appear to have a comb over happening. :) See Photo #1 & Photo #2 .

 

Then there is Photo #3 for which the darker feathers almost appear to be either age or worry lines. :)

 

Am certain within the next 12 months, this eagle will possess its full adult feathering and it will be that much more difficult to identify among the other adults.

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-aging---bald-eagle Tue, 22 Nov 2022 08:30:00 GMT
"LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING" - Long Tailed Weasel https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-looks-can-be-deceiving---long-tailed-weasel "LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING"

Long Tailed Weasel - 7 Photos

 

 

It is an old saying but one that may ring true.

 

Who could resist that adorable weasel face with its long whiskers and pinkish lined round ears? A small little mustelid who changes the colour of its coat for Winter camouflage and yet, such an effective predator regardless of its size.

 

And when confronted with a face to face on view of the Long Tailed Weasel (Photo #1 & Photo #2), one should be grateful that this predator is the size that it is and not that of a much larger predator such as the cougar. Then rodents wouldn't be the only potential invitees of the weasel "having a friend for dinner" (Photo #3 through to Photo #5)

 

PHOTO #1

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"CHECKING OUT THE COMPETITION"

PHOTO #2

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"ONE OF US IS HOLDING THEIR BREATH!"

PHOTO #3

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"HAPPY MEAL"

PHOTO #4

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"CATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN!"

PHOTO #5

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"READY TO STASH"

PHOTO #6

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"LURKING IN THE SHADOWS"

PHOTO #7

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"CHECKING OUT THE TERRAIN"

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-looks-can-be-deceiving---long-tailed-weasel Mon, 21 Nov 2022 01:13:21 GMT
"WILL-O'-THE WISP" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-will-o-the-wisp---coyote "WILL-O'-THE WISP"

Coyote - 9 Photos

 

The Will'-o'-The Wisp in folklore is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night. Coyotes even during the daylight hours seem to appear and disappear into the shrubbery & trees.

 

These were two coyotes on the hunt for food, patrolling across the Bow River in Calgary, AB.

 

The first was smaller & we basically spotted each other from across the water at the same time and then it was off (Photo #1 & Photo #2).

 

The second (perhaps the adult or the male) had no issues with a person safely positioned across a rather large moving body of water and just went on its coyote business, after having locked eyes for a brief moment (Photo #3 through to Photo #9).

 

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/2022/11/-will-o-the-wisp---coyote Thu, 17 Nov 2022 19:16:23 GMT
"FAMILY COMMITMENT" - Bald Eagles https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-family-commitment---bald-eagles "FAMILY COMMITMENT"

Bald Eagles (Male, Female & Immature) Plus 1 - 12 Photos

 

 

This is a pair of Bald Eagles that are true residents in the Calgary area and reside near the Bow River. 

 

They are full time residents, adding material to their nest each year and for the past two years that I have observed them, have been successful in raising at least one eaglet.

 

As they frequent an area along the Bow River, where there is some human activity (including fishermen), they appear to have become a little more accustomed to seeing people and therefore, as long as they haven't something else on their schedules, are more willing to perch in trees along the river for longish periods and tolerate a human presence. 

 

Particularly at this time of the year, I have observed them on several occasions, perching either alongside each other on one branch or one above the other on the same tree, chattering away in eagle speak. Their commitment to each other is outstanding.

 

As I was watching the swans, I saw a shadow cross the meadow, looked up and saw this gorgeous young immature American Bald Eagle (Photos #10, 11 & 12). As it was in very close proximity to the two adults & their nest (at one point it was perched in a tree near the nest) and because of its age, I'll go out on a limb (no pun intended) and say it was probably this year's offspring of these two nesting eagles. 

 

Later in the afternoon, the two adults perched one above the other along the river, checking out, no doubt, the waterfowl available in the water below (Photo #9). There were numerous photos of these two in this tree but this one was chosen because of the magpie that kept flying in and out and got bolder and bolder. So bold, in fact, that it is looking directly into the eyes of the female Bald Eagle - "Are You My Mother"!

 

Photo #1 though to Photo #4 are of the male departing. Photo# 5 through to Photo #8 are of the female's departure.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9 - "ARE YOU MY MOTHER???"

PHOTO #10

PHOTO #11

PHOTO #12

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-family-commitment---bald-eagles Wed, 16 Nov 2022 08:30:00 GMT
"MIGRATION" - Swans (Trumpeter & Tundra) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-migration---swans-trumpeter-tundra "MIGRATION"

Swans (Trumpeter & Tundra) - 7 Photos

 

It appears that the swan migration is now in full flight, with swans (both Trumpeter & Tundra) flying regularly through Calgary, Alberta, CA.

 

Only time will tell how many will actually overwinter here, having discovered that there is plenty of open water and food available on the Bow River for the duration of the Winter. Believe those that stay have worked out that they can go half the distance, spend half the calories in flight exertion and have a head start come Spring. Perhaps even have their choices of the best nesting areas having arrived a little earlier than those coming up from further south.

 

And in this fall migration, it was lovely to see so many families, with adults having more than one youngster accompanying them.

 

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/2022/11/-migration---swans-trumpeter-tundra Mon, 14 Nov 2022 17:53:04 GMT
"FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED" - Bald Eagle (Adult) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-feel-the-need-for-speed---bald-eagle-adult "FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED"

Bald Eagle - 6 Photos

 

This adult Bald Eagle had other things to do on its agenda, so it didn't stay long enough for a few perching poses. However, it was generous enough that when it took off, it did so towards me which gave the opportunity for those dynamic flight poses.

 

The title may come from a "Top Gun" movie but this flyer would put most to shame.

 

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/2022/11/-feel-the-need-for-speed---bald-eagle-adult Tue, 08 Nov 2022 20:32:56 GMT
"JUST QUILLING" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-just-quilling---porcupine-north-american "JUST QUILLING"

Porcupine (North American) - 9 Photos

 

It's hard to believe the photos that follow this commentary were taken only two weeks ago.

 

A porcupine had decided to come out of its den and warm itself. It was extremely low on this broken tree trunk although as the sun moved around, it climbed higher where it could shade its face from the light.

 

But it did present some great opportunities without hindrance of branches. Those photos where you can see the porcupine with its head pointed upwards were the moments where it was sniffing the air. With the aid of the camera, you could actually see its nostrils moving in and out. This is the time of the year when porcupines are "looking for love" and as the sniffing was not in my direction, perhaps it was checking out a potential hook-up. :)

 

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/2022/11/-just-quilling---porcupine-north-american Mon, 07 Nov 2022 20:15:42 GMT
"THE EXTERMINATOR" - Coyote https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-the-exterminator---coyote "THE EXTERMINATOR"

Coyote - 6 Photos

 

Have a problem with mice, voles, gophers, etc.? Who are you going to call?? This handsome creature, of course.

 

Caught this gorgeous coyote on the way out of the park. He/she has donned its thick winter coat and appears to be healthy and a good weight. And has the necessary skills for survival, including a wariness of humans.

So look out rodents where ever you are!

 

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/2022/11/-the-exterminator---coyote Sat, 05 Nov 2022 02:51:12 GMT
"IT SUCKS TO BE A WEASEL SOMETIMES" - Weasel (Long Tailed) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/11/-it-sucks-to-be-a-weasel-sometimes---weasel-long-tailed "IT SUCKS TO BE A WEASEL SOMETIMES"

Weasel (Long Tailed) - 7 Photos

 

The coat colouring of the Long Tailed Weasel, like other mammals such as the Jackrabbit, is dependent upon the hours of daylight, eg. tawny & cream to white for the weasel.

 

Certainly is a great method of camouflage for the changing of seasons but unfortunately for this little mustelid, in Calgary where snow can appear in August and disappear in winter months because of chinooks, etc., it definitely is challenging to maintain their "cloak of invisibility".

 

This little weasel was easy to spot against the terrain of rocks and brown grass & shrubbery but its speed and erratic behaviour wasn't hindered by a coat "malfunction". Snow should return again soon to the woods and then it will be a matter of watching for dancing portions of snow :)!

 

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/2022/11/-it-sucks-to-be-a-weasel-sometimes---weasel-long-tailed Wed, 02 Nov 2022 23:12:16 GMT
"BEAUTY DOESN'T NECESSARILY COME WITH AGE" - Bald Eagle (Immature) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-beauty-doesnt-necessarily-come-with-age---bald-eagle-immature "BEAUTY DOESN'T NECESSARILY COME WITH AGE"

Bald Eagle (Immature) - 8 Photos

 

Some may prefer to sight and photograph mature adult Bald Eagles. I will take any sighting and an eagle that is relaxed, perched in a tree, no matter what age, is a gift.

 

From the colouring and appearance of the feathers, this is most likely this year's offspring. Perhaps female because of its size. And what a beauty even at such a young age.

 

And there it perched, just chilling but keeping an eye on the river and occasionally checking out the waterfowl below and perhaps, the potential of fish and then it was off. 

 

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/2022/10/-beauty-doesnt-necessarily-come-with-age---bald-eagle-immature Mon, 31 Oct 2022 19:25:59 GMT
"A HERON FISHING GUIDE" - Great Blue Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-a-heron-fishing-guide---great-blue-heron "A HERON FISHING GUIDE"

Great Blue Heron - 11 Photos

 

Believe this is the same Great Blue Heron but the photos were taken on two different days at two different (but close in proximity) locations. One was a large open pond, the other at a beaver dam where melting snow had increased the flow of the creek.

 

The heron appears to be wary of loud noises and movement in the water but is a little naive when it comes to people, i.e. it actually walked into the area where I was sitting on the bank. Hopefully with maturity, it will become a little more "worldly", particularly as it migrates south for the Winter and into the southern United States, where there are predators such as alligators, etc. lurking in the marshes/swamps.

 

However, it had no issue with the quantity and quality of fish it was catching, as you will see from the photos below. I was very happy to see it removing (and eating) a number of the invasive Prussian Carp from the eco-system before they had a chance to hit the Bow River. And some of them were whoppers! (See Photo #1 through to Photo #5.) In fact, I actually spotted one carp in shallow water along the bank, myself. It was so large I could see its head, etc. above the water level. The heron at the time was on the other side and it eventually saw it as well and sauntered across. (Photo #1 & Photo #2). I did have a camera moment at the point of shooting where the heron was so close & the fish so large, that the camera initially wouldn't focus. Luckily, we both re-adjusted and the heron took some time in getting the fish just right in its beak.

 

I have also included some grooming and fishing activity of the heron. (Photo #9 through to Photo #11)

 

PHOTO #1 - "OH NO MR. BILL" - (An homage to the character from Saturday Night Live)

PHOTO #2 - "MOUTH CLOSED"

PHOTO #3 - "HAVE I GOT EYES FOR YOU! :)"

PHOTO #4 - "POSING WITH THE WINNING FISH"

PHOTO #5 - "DOWN THE HATCH"

 

PHOTO #6 - "A LITTLE SALAD WITH THE MAIN COURSE"

 

PHOTO #7 - "STANDING TALL IN OUR BLUE "MORNING COAT" OVER THE BEAVER DAM"

 

PHOTO #8 - "WATCHING FOR THE FISH GOING OVER THE DAM"

 

PHOTO #9  - "GROOMING IN THE LATE AFTERNOON SUN"

 

PHOTO #10 -  "PROFILE"

 

PHOTO #11 - "A TOTAL GROOM"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-a-heron-fishing-guide---great-blue-heron Thu, 27 Oct 2022 15:28:06 GMT
"WALKING THE LINE" - Bobcats https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-walking-the-line---bobcats "WALKING THE LINE"

Bobcats (Adult Female & Juvenile) - 9 Photos

Southeast Calgary, Alberta, CA

 

 

This is the second set of photos from the session that took place on October 16th, 2022. (See Blog of October 17, 2022, "Love is Not Just a Human Emotion").

 

As identified on the Home Page of the website, I do not utilize any form of baiting, that includes verbal cues. I also do not trespass on private property. These photos and the ones previous were taken in a public alley way, bordered by wooden fencing & a public building with an open parking lot. The cats were kind enough to stay within those perimeters.

 

As mentioned previously, bobcats in Calgary have set up territories close to residential areas where there is a great deal of prey and protection, but close to wild areas. Another spot much further north from this one where bobcats have been regularly sighted, has an infestation of feral (domesticated) rabbits that have been freed and have multiplied. 

 

So the bobcat like the coyote has adapted to our suburban/residential surroundings, walking the line between human habitation and wild woods & meadows. I would say for the majority of the time, they are reclusive and remain unseen but sometimes an opportunity arises like the one below, where you come to realize that Nature is always around us. We just have to be paying attention, be at the right place & time and you might see wildlife taking a walk on the "not so wild side"! :)

 

PHOTO #1

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Juvenile"ASLEEP ON THE FENCE"

PHOTO #2

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)"A VERY RELAXED MUM"

PHOTO #3

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"TIME OUT"

PHOTO #4

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"WALKING THE LINE"

PHOTO #5

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"FENCE HUGGERS"

PHOTO #6

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"BACK TO FRONT"

PHOTO #7

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Juvenile"A BOBCAT LION KING IN WAITING"

PHOTO #8

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Juvenile"COULD BE OUT OF AFRICA!"

PHOTO #9

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)"CAT ON THE SAVANA"

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-walking-the-line---bobcats Mon, 24 Oct 2022 18:55:52 GMT
"THE TALL FISHERMAN" - Great Blue Heron https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-the-tall-fisherman---great-blue-heron "THE TALL FISHERMAN"

Great Blue Heron - 11 Photos

 

This set of photos were taken over a period of two days. I am not certain if it is the same Great Blue Heron or two different ones, as there have been two spotted flying together.

 

The creek had been full with water rushing over a beaver dam. The heron had discovered just by standing on the dam over which the water flowed, fish literally came to him. And what whoppers were caught. (See Photos #1 and #2.) In this instance, I don't think its eyes were larger than its stomach.

 

Photos #6 through #9 are from the second day when the heron moved further down the creek and did short flights, probably the most expeditious and safe method of travel.

 

It is believed this to be a young heron(s). Feathering does not appear to be as mature and the demeanor is certainly a little naive, i.e. they are not as wary of humans as they normally are. Or perhaps, it's just a food/fish frenzy of stocking up the calories before the migration south as the colder weather sets 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/2022/10/-the-tall-fisherman---great-blue-heron Fri, 21 Oct 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"LOVE IS NOT JUST A HUMAN EMOTION" - Bobcat https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-love-is-not-just-a-human-emotion---bobcat "LOVE IS NOT JUST A HUMAN EMOTION"

Bobcat (Female & Kitten) - 9 Photos

Southeast Calgary, Alberta, CA

 

One of the first unwritten (or perhaps even written) rules is "never put the camera away".

 

I had just had quite a successful day in Fish Creek Provincial Park (Calgary, AB) and was heading home, late afternoon. Proceeding along a main road that borders a residential area and the park itself, I spotted a large cat sitting under a tree next to a building. From its size, colouring & demeanor, I thought "bobcat".

 

Looking for the quickest road to turn off, drive around and park, I headed into a small parking lot. I parked the car, grabbed the camera and thought, "There is no way this cat is still going to be there".

 

As I approached the area, one cat (which I soon discovered was a kitten), jumped up on the wooden fence, which bordered the alley and settled under some tree branches. Grabbed some shots, moved away from the road and looked down and there quietly sitting next to the fence, was Mum. 

 

I am not certain if this was her only kitten or whether Mum had already navigated the other(s) across the busy road into the provincial park. 

 

In Calgary, bobcats have taken to "hanging" out in residential areas, that are close to open spaces such as Fish Creek Provincial Park. There must be ample opportunity for prey (such as rodents, rabbits, etc.) and some protection from other predators. 

 

Mum was so relaxed and was more interested in trying to round up her skittish kitten. The kitten quickly jumped from the fence to join its mother and as you will see from the photos, both had some quality together time. Having had some reinsurance from Mum, both moved along to once again to try and cross the road.

 

Mum lined up first looking left and right and I honestly had my heart in my throat. She waited for the traffic to be held up at the lights and then proceeded to cross. One car made a right hand turn and I stood to one side on the pavement to catch the driver's attention. And yes, she came to a complete stop. Mum crossed the road safely to the park side and waited for her kitten.

 

The kitten was snuggled up under a bush near where Mum had been next to the building but no enticement from Mum or from my feeble efforts, could get it to cross. 

 

Nature knows best so I quietly left the area, got back into the car and drove off. I know Mum was waiting close by and if the little one didn't make it across soon thereafter, Mum probably would have navigated the road again to bring her kitten across later that evening.

 

So my thanks goes out to Nature for this extraordinary gift. As you will see from the photographs, the love displayed between mother & kitten is no less than (and perhaps is more) than that felt by humanity.

 

PHOTO #1 - The Kitten on The Fence (those red objects are small fruit on an ornamental crabapple tree)

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Juvenile"KITTEN WITH ORNAMENTAL FRUIT"

PHOTO #2 - Mum (and no, she is not concerned at all, only panting - it was warm)

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)"BOBCAT MOTHER"

 

PHOTO #3 - A Yawn From Mum

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)"YAWN"

PHOTO #4 - Cat (Mum) in the Grass (waiting for Junior)

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female)"WAITING FOR JUNIOR"

PHOTO #5 - The Kitten Looking for Reinsurance from Mum

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"A MOTHER'S WELCOMING TOUCH"

PHOTO #6 - This Wasn't Just a Snuggle

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"GETTING CLOSE"

PHOTO #7 - Looks Like Someone Was Looking for the Milk Bar!

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"NOW WHERE IS IT?"

PHOTO #8 - Mum and Her Kitten

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"MUM & KITTEN"

PHOTO #9 - Backfield in Motion 

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & JuvenileBobcat (Lynx rufus) - Adult (Female) & Juvenile"BACKFIELD IN MOTION"

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-love-is-not-just-a-human-emotion---bobcat Mon, 17 Oct 2022 21:53:31 GMT
"QUILLY CAPTIONS" - Porcupine (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-quilly-captions---porcupine-north-american "QUILLY CAPTIONS"

Porcupine (North American) - 7 Photos

 

I looked up the meaning of "quilly" and found two definitions:

 

1. Quilly is used to describe something that is limitless or truly timeless; or

2. Abounding in quills.

 

I believe both definitions describe the porcupine in different ways.

 

The photos below were taken late afternoon, early evening some weeks ago, while leaves were green on some trees. I have added captions to capture those porcupine expressions.

 

PHOTO #1 - "PLEASE, NO PHOTOS!"

PHOTO #2 - "OKAY, IF YOU INSIST"

PHOTO #3 - "YOU ARE GETTING SLEEPY"

PHOTO #4 - "AND SLEEPIER"

PHOTO #5 - "NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP"

 

PHOTO #6 - "ASLEEP"

 

PHOTO #7 - "BOTTOMS UP"

 

 

 

 

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-quilly-captions---porcupine-north-american Fri, 14 Oct 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"IT'S NOT THE SIZE OF THE MUSKRAT IN THE FIGHT" - Muskrat https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-its-not-the-size-of-the-muskrat-in-the-fight---muskrat "IT'S NOT THE SIZE OF THE MUSKRAT IN THE FIGHT"

Muskrat - 7 Photos

 

To paraphrase Mark Twain's quote regarding the size of the dog in the fight:

.

"It's not the size of the muskrat in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the muskrat."

 

As mentioned in the October 10th blog, "It's Time to Introduce Sidney", this adult muskrat was taking no prisoners when it came to a mink (no matter what size) who came prowling around its beaver lodge home. There was another smaller muskrat swimming in the vicinity, that I assume was an offspring.

 

There had been a lot of in water splashing & chasing, after which the mink left for another fishing area with less confrontation. It may seem a little strange that a fierce predator such as a mink would give in to a muskrat but in the wild, expending calories without reward can be paramount. That combined with the potential for injury would probably make this mink move along. And there are certainly more lucrative fishing areas in the vicinity and well within its territory.

 

So here is our little champion. If you have taken on a mighty mustelid, taking time out for some grooming & relaxing is a just reward. And, of course, you can always keep a watchful eye on the creek for a certain mink's return.

 

PHOTO #1 - Doesn't this muskrat looked rather pleased?

PHOTO #2 - Yep, nose to tail that's one big muskrat (in muskrat terms).

PHOTO #3 - Nibbling by the creek.

PHOTO #4 - Autumn does provide some great contrast for a little fuzzy brown rodent!

PHOTO #5 - A quick reflection.

PHOTO #6 - You (other than a certain mink) just have to love those feet and claws.

PHOTO #7 - No this isn't a muskrat in distress, just a muskrat having a good old scratch!

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(Ingham Nature Photography Inc.) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-its-not-the-size-of-the-muskrat-in-the-fight---muskrat Wed, 12 Oct 2022 07:30:00 GMT
"IT'S TIME TO INTRODUCE SIDNEY" - Mink (North American) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-its-time-to-introduce-sidney---mink-north-american "IT'S TIME TO INTRODUCE SIDNEY"

Mink (North American) - 7 Photos

 

I have had one previous sighting of this "new" mink but unfortunately it was brief and from some distance. My only thought at that time was that it was big and was some distance from the river (albeit in a large pond). So I am thinking another male due to physical and territory sizes.

 

The day was drawing to a close and I was hanging out at a creek (a completely different area from the Sparky sightings), hoping to photograph some muskrats. I was just about to pack it in when upstream comes a semi-aquatic mammal just motoring through the water. My first thought was a beaver.

 

It dove under the water, splashed and resurfaced by a small fallen log in the water.

 

And there it was, that mink. At the time, I couldn't understand why it remained beside this small log for some time but in retrospect, I think it was looking for the fish that swam in and around the log, potentially easy fishing.

 

Eventually, the mink swam close to a beaver lodge where it encountered one of those "take no prisoners" muskrats. Now if I was a muskrat, no matter how big, I wouldn't think about challenging a mink and would be heading for safety but this muskrat wasn't intimidated. The muskrat eventually made the creek too uncomfortable for the mink and the mink took to the high ground and off to more lucrative areas.

 

A further blog will feature this tough muskrat, who after its confrontation, took time out to groom and stretch on shore, in the wide open. I suppose once you have defeated a mighty mustelid, your confidence level soars.

 

And I have named this mink, Sidney, a name that could be appropriate whether it is male or female (just in case). 

 

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/2022/10/-its-time-to-introduce-sidney---mink-north-american Tue, 11 Oct 2022 01:51:05 GMT
"BATTLE OF THE BIRDS" - Belted Kingfisher https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-battle-of-the-birds---belted-kingfisher "BATTLE OF THE BIRDS"

Belted Kingfishers - 9 Photos

 

So the day before the October 3rd blog "Sky Kingfisher", the kingfisher who I assume occupies this particular territory was sitting in a tree directly across the creek and from my standing position. Not particularly the best location for me, as my shot was slightly obscured by some small tree branches. But I thought, "What the heck, I'll just take what I can get and maybe the bird will move to a better photographic position.

 

So there I was aiming when two shakes of a kingfisher's tail, a second kingfisher flew in & that's when the fight started. And yes, it was fast with a lot of noise but having had the camera already aimed on the original bird, I managed to capture that first "not in my territory, you don't" shot. (Photo #1)

 

And then the chasing ensued. Some aerial fighting took place (Photo #2), followed by a low fly by with the intruder being driven out of the creek (Photo #3).

 

An amusing subplot subsequently took place. After I thought the second bird had left, I saw two birds coming towards me, which I thought from the size and the flight pattern, were the two kingfishers. Well, the second one was the victorious kingfisher chasing the first but as the first one landed in the tree, I realized this was a rather wet Northern Flicker. The kingfisher then chose a branch directly above the flicker.

 

As the flicker shook out the excess water from its wings and began to groom, I guess the kingfisher had an opportunity to count to ten and calm down and realize that this poor bird was not a rival but a mere woodpecker so it flew back to its favourite tree. Perhaps, in the heat of the moment following the original territorial dispute, this poor Northern Flicker had happened along at exactly the wrong place & time, got attacked by the kingfisher, ended up in the drink and hastened its escape to the nearest tree, where cooler heads prevailed.

 

Photo #4 through to Photo #10 are of our kingfisher at various times of the day in a more subdued frame of mind. Photo #6 & Photo #7 are of our little warrior performing that doggie shake to shed itself of excess water. Kingfishers are certainly flexible little birds. :)

 

I have included one additional photo of another kingfisher (Photo #9) taken in the late afternoon at a different location. The lighting and surroundings were so serene, I thought it would make a great ending to a rather exciting day. (But in true kingfisher form, I still had to work for the shot, as the bird flew from tree to tree before settling long enough to capture the moment.) 

 

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/2022/10/-battle-of-the-birds---belted-kingfisher Thu, 06 Oct 2022 00:06:30 GMT
"SKY KINGFISHER" - Kingfisher (Belted) https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/10/-sky-kingfisher---kingfisher-belted "SKY KINGFISHER"

Kingfisher (Belted) - 9 Photos

 

This Belted Kingfisher had had a fight, defending territory, with another kingfisher the day before. The best "fisher" won and sent the intruder packing or flying, in this case. But that's a blog for another day.

 

On Day 2, I had just arrived in the vicinity the kingfisher had been the previous day, hoping to catch some shots when before I had a chance to set up, it arrived and flew into the regular tree. Grabbed the camera and began shooting, when it flew to a tree just on the other side of the creek (Photo #1 and Photo #2). The kingfisher then flew towards the creek and set up a hovering position over the water, some 10 to 12 feet in the air. 

 

Now it felt like a lifetime but it wasn't probably more than 10 seconds, but for once the camera & I had the opportunity to focus, shoot and capture the stunning and extraordinary ability of this little fisherman. (Photo #3 through to Photo #9.)

 

The speed of the wing beats was probably mid-way between that of a hovering osprey and a hummingbird (without the hum).

 

As no diving took place, I assume it did not zoom on a fish that it could catch and the little bird flew back to the original tree.

 

And no, on this occasion I did not manage to capture bird with fish but the photos I obtained that day evidence an amazing acrobat worthy of a place in the Avian Hall of Fame.

 

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/2022/10/-sky-kingfisher---kingfisher-belted Mon, 03 Oct 2022 22:40:00 GMT
"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" - Bald Eagle https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/9/-the-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts---bald-eagle "THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS"

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

 

It is an extremely special opportunity to see two mature 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. :)

 

A 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---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

PHOTO #3

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!

 

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/-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

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/-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

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

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.

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5 

 

 

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

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

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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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Young Beaver (Last Year's Offspring)

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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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(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"

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Moose - MaleMoose - Male"GREEN CANOPY"

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Moose - MaleMoose - Male"SAMPLING THE GOODS"

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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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(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

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IN A TREE

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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

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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.

 

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/2022/6/-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.

 

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/2022/6/-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

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

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)" - Bald Eagle & Trumpeter Swans https://www.inaturephoto.com/blog/2022/3/-birds-in-flight-or-almost---bald-eagle-trumpeter-swans "BIRDS IN FLIGHT (OR ALMOST)"

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 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---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

PHOTO #2

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

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PHOTO #9

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PHOTO #11

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

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/2022/2/-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.

 

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PHOTO #3

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PHOTO #9

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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

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PHOTO #6

PHOTO #7

PHOTO #8

PHOTO #9

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PHOTO #11

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 #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!

 

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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

PHOTO #2

 

PHOTO #3

PHOTO #4

PHOTO #5

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PHOTO #11

 

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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!

 

PHOTO #1

PHOTO #2

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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! :)

 

 

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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

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"ALONG THE TREE"

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

PHOTO #4

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".  :) 

 

 

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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 

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"INTO THE TREE CAVE"

 

"ONE WAY OUT"

PHOTO #2

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed'COMING OUT OF THE TREE CAVE"

PHOTO #3

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"A LONG WAY OUT FOR A LITTLE WEASEL"

PHOTO #4

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"EXIT STRATEGY"

PHOTO #5

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"EXIT"

 

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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!

 

PHOTO #1

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"ONTO THE NEXT APPARATUS"

PHOTO #2

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"TREE CLIMBER"

PHOTO #3

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"NEXT STEP"

PHOTO #4

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"UP THE TREE"

PHOTO #5

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"DOWN THE TREE"

PHOTO #6

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"SNACK STOP??"

PHOTO #7

 

Weasel - Long TailedWeasel - Long Tailed"JUMP THE TREE"

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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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