Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tunkwa P.P. – Easter 2010 – April 3

We weren’t exactly sure what we would wake up to, I fully expected it to be ‘white’ but no, we woke up to gray skies but you could see blue sky off in the distance, so after a leisurely breakfast we decided to take off for a walk.  Since the temperature was hovering around 0 and the wind was still howling, we decided to head over to Leighton Lake as it is lower and more sheltered…

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Shantz was just eager to be going anywhere!

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Leighton was pretty much like Tunkwa, still frozen over but with some open water along the edges…and of course there were Canada Geese there as well. Tunkwa Easter 2010 012

You can see from Ernie’s bundled appearance that it was a bit chilly in the wind!  The area around Leighton is a mix of forest and open grasslands, so we decided to follow a ‘cow path’ up into the trees, away from the open area of the lake.  This whole area is free range for cattle so there are well worn cow paths winding all over…it is impossible to get lost….the path will come out somewhere..

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and this one brought us to June Lake.  This little ‘lake’ isn’t much more than a glorified mud puddle – in fact that is exactly what it is, a watering hole for cattle – one of which had met it’s demise as you can see from the partial remains…

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Shantz was quite delighted with the part she found!

Tunkwa Easter 2010 018While she munched on her prize I amused myself taking pictures of a Northern Flicker that was feeding in the grass.  That huge flock of Robins was in this area too, I counted 126 as they flew from one lot of trees to another.

Tunkwa - Easter 2010 -2 057  When she’d finally got all the flavour from her find, we skirted the back of June Lake and headed through the forest, (following another ‘cow path’ although this one was mainly still snow covered).  As we walked this path, which was in fairly heavy forest, Shantz became more and more excited…we’ve learned to trust her when she starts sniffing the air and dancing on tippy toes….even though I figured she wouldn’t act like this if it was a cougar or a bear…I was still getting rather nervous and looking to all sides as we walked….however, what she found was…

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a pair of wild horses!!!  There is a fairly large herd of wild horses that lives in the area but this is the first time we’ve got this close to any of them while walking….

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they were very spooky and took off as soon as they realized we were there – if we hadn’t had Shantz on a strong lead we would probably have never seen her again because she really wanted to take off right after them!

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with that excitement over with, we continued on and came out at the aspen grove – as we knew it would, since we’ve done this walk before.

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It was still quiet around this ‘bird nursery’ but it won’t be for long! 

Having left April back in the camper we figured it was time to be heading back, so skirted the slough area…

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but not before noticing that there was a Bald Eagle sitting on the nest already.  This nest is located up on the hillside between the slough and Tunkwa Lake.

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then just to prove that winter really is over and it is spring – the first Sagebrush Buttercup was spotted.

When we got back to the camper and looked at the time we were a bit shocked to realize that 3 hours had gone by!  Fortunately April remembered about being ‘abandoned’ in the camper and was still curled up on the seat where we had left her.

Later in the afternoon, the sun made it’s way out and I took off for a walk by myself.  Back over to look at Leighton…

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looking a lot prettier with sunshine and blue skies!

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then across the grasslands to the slough, where I spooked a small flock of Swans…

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then I just wandered along the shoreline taking pictures, after all you don’t get a chance to take pictures of a frozen lake very often….at least I don’t!

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While I was wandering, thinking I was all by myself, a young couple with a very young baby came around the side of the little mountain and continued on – they are that small dot in the middle of this picture.  I’m not sure where they came from, but where ever it was, it was a long way and despite my layers of clothing – it was cold!  I couldn’t imagine taking a baby out in that, even though they had it tucked in under the mom’s jacket!  It did prove that we aren’t the only crazy people who think being out in these conditions is fun!


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