Monday, August 9, 2010

Spring Trip 2010 – Day 34 – Writing on Stone – part 1

When you spend the entire day, doing what you like doing best, wandering and taking pictures, that results in a  lot of pictures to go through….which is why it has taken me a few days to get back to this and why I’ve had to break it into parts….  So let’s get busy!

Tuesday, May 25th got up to cloudy, but dry skies…. 

Spring Trip 2010 1978 

Started the day with a walk out on the river bank behind the campsite….there is the visitor center up there on the hill…

DSLR Spring Trip 605

walked along the shoreline….there was a Spotted Sandpiper in this area, but never managed a decent picture…

DSLR Spring Trip 607

up on the rocks, we had some more of those ‘sentinel geese’ (remember the ones at Dinosaur Provincial Park?)

DSLR Spring Trip 597

here is another pair, coming in for a landing on the river…  My perceptions of what constitutes ‘goose habitat’ certainly changed on this trip!

DSLR Spring Trip 591

Back in the campground, that female Downy Woodpecker continued to work on all the trees in the vicinity ~ maybe there was more than one, but I never saw more than one at one time.

DSLR Spring Trip 586

Chipping and Clay coloured sparrows were back and busy in all areas where dandelions had gone to seed…although this isn’t a very clear picture, I put it in just so you could get an idea of the quantity of them….at times it looked like the ground was hopping.

DSLR Spring Trip 609

Black billed Magpie were around…..and as we set out for our big walk of the day, along the approx. 2 km trail that winds up and over and through the rock formations….

DSLR Spring Trip 615

caught sight of one of those American Redstarts again….this one a male, and no more co-operative for picture taking then they’d been the evening before!

DSLR Spring Trip 619

as we start out….look at what is up on that ledge….another Canada Goose!

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here is a closer look…..

DSLR Spring Trip 622

This view, taken from one of the high points on the trail….the Milk River down there and another ‘sentinel goose’.

DSLR Spring Trip 624

there are several spots along the trail where you drop down right beside the Milk River.  A popular canoe trip is from the town of Milk River, approximately 40 km away, and then paddle back to the campground.  A group had actually set off from the campground that morning, to do just that.  It is a trip I’d love to do but requires being part of a group as someone has to bring the vehicle(s) back to the campground after launching the canoes (and babysit dogs)….being part of a group isn’t something we seem to be able to do!

DSLR Spring Trip 628

back up in the rocks, here is a higher view of the Milk River…you can see the skies are breaking up and the sun is starting to shine….

DSLR Spring Trip 626

and there, upon top of one of the rock formations…is another Canada Goose….this one on a nest!

DSLR Spring Trip 627

There she is….and believe me the top of that rock, although lower than the surrounding ones, was still a long long way down to the ground….it would be something to see how the goslings get down to earth…being ‘light as a feather’ I guess they just sort of float!

DSLR Spring Trip 630 here is one of the many interesting rock formations you encounter along this trail….this one a bit of a ‘bridge’

DSLR Spring Trip 631

of course there are also wildflowers growing along the trail….this little yellow flower has the rather ungainly name of ‘Spatulate Bladderpod’ and is only found in this extreme southern section of the province (at least according to my ‘Plants of Alberta’ book.

DSLR Spring Trip 632

and this, which looks sort of like a white for-get-me-not, is Macoun’s Cryptanthe.  Surely these plants have common names but my reference book doesn’t list them..

DSLR Spring Trip 634

a bird I’d been watching for on this walk….was a Rock Wren….and here is a little guy singing his heart out.  These birds nest in holes in the sandstone formations….we watched a pair carrying nesting material.  When we had been here previously, it was about a month later and we had watched them carrying food into their nests…

DSLR Spring Trip 639

back to the wildflowers….here is Hooker’s Townsendia….remember we saw this wildflower at Dinosaur Provincial Park as well, although this plant is much pinker than the ones I saw there.

DSLR Spring Trip 641

here is one of the really high sections of the trail…..this is looking westwards….

DSLR Spring Trip 642

and here we are, pretty much looking eastwards now, the campground is situated in the area that the river is about to bend around.

DSLR Spring Trip 643

there is one of those Rock Wren with a mouthful of nesting material…

Spring Trip 2010 2008

and before we take a break….wanted to throw in this picture of a Spotted Towhee.  There were a lot of Spotted Towhee, both in the campground itself and in a bushy area down close to the river.  I’ve seen them here before, but I’m always surprised to see them, as to me, they belong back home in our west coast forests ~ I guess that is because they winter with us, although many remain with us all year.

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