Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Alberta Trip 2008 - Elk Island - Day 2 - June 7

Our second day at Elk Island National Park, we decided to drive back towards the north entrance. We had seen what looked like an interesting nature walk and decided to check it out. As I recall, there wasn't much in the way of bird life (at least I don't have pictures of many) but there were a lot of wildflowers. Ground Dogwood, or Bunch Berry, (above) which are actually classified as a 'shrub' lined the path in the more forested areas.
Twinning Honeysuckle (above) was just coming into flower.

As were Star Flowered Solomon's Seal.

We found more of those Marsh Marigolds, growing in particularly boggy areas. It's song led us to the House Wren, in the picture below. This was obviously 'daddy' as there was a snag with a hole in that must have been occupied my 'mum' sitting on a nest.

After going as far as we could on that trail - it sort of petered out in a wet area, we went back and decided to drive north to the little town of Lamont, for a few supplies. After stocking up, the weather had deteriorated to sort of on again, off again showers, so we elected to take the gravel road that bordered the park boundary, traveling east as far as the park went and then turning south. The area opposite the park was all farm land so there were quite a few of these Eastern Kingbirds sitting on fence posts. Photo's not as clear as I'd like, but that is what happens with a telephoto taken from an idling vehicle.

The shot below gives a pretty good indication of what the area looked like. Rolling hills with marshy areas in the bottom and open grasslands outlined with Aspen trees.

This male deer was one of several we found. I kept looking for a moose, there was supposed to be quite a large population of them in the park, but I never saw one the entire trip.

A male Red Wing Blackbird - just to show they were there as I haven't actually posted a picture of one yet.

The picture below gives a good illustration of the size difference between these two duck species. There is a pair of Blue Wing Teal on the log, beside a male Canvasback.

I think I've mentioned before that Blue Wing Teal are one of my favorite ducks, in fact I like all waterfowl. Blue Wing Teal are quite 'spooky' as ducks go so difficult to get a really good picture, the one below shows the 'blue' on the wing that gives the species it's name.

We got back to the campground quite late in the afternoon, so decided to take the walk past the golf course again so Shantz could stretch her legs after having been cooped up in her dog kennel in the truck for most of the day - not that she minds that in the least!

Came to this little pond or lake area. There is a beaver house off in the distance (remember, click on picture to bring up to full screen - use 'back' button to return to blog).

These Cut-leaf Anemone or Windflower were growing in the grass beside the above pond.

and of course we can't forget the Wild Roses....after all Alberta is Wild Rose Country!

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