Friday, July 27, 2012

July 26,27-Fairview

I write this outside a Subway in Sexsmith-Dian's old home town.  We left Fairview yesterday after a good couple of days.  There was a small spit on Cummings Lake about 200 meters from our campsite.  It had a picnic table on it and it was a great place to watch migrating shorebirds.  Some of the birds we observed follow.  Click on the picture if you want to see a larger version.

Long-billed Dowitchers

Semi-palmated Sandpiper

Common Snipe

The Snipe picked up this feather and carried over to the water where it dropped it.  It then strolled over to where I was seated.  It came to close for my lens.  Amusing to watch.

This Stilt Sandpiper was keeping company with a couple of Dowitchers.

The Stilt and a Lesser Yellowlegs.

Stilt and Dowitchers

There was a small flock of Semi-palmated Sandpipers scurrying around.

I would visit this area 2-3 times a day and it had nice surprises every time.  We will be exploring the Grande Prairie area the next few days but first we have to replace our cell phone.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25 Last days in Yellowknife and into Fairview Alberta

Dian and I spent some time doing local trails around Yellowknife the last 2 days.  There are many lakes in and around town and most have trails.  The following shots of Yellowknife are HDR images.  That is 3 images combined into one to try to get all the details.  I have yet to master this technique.  Yellowknife can be quite a shock when it comes to shopping.  I usually pay around $80 for an oil change back home.  Here it cost $175 at Lubex.  We went for lunch at a famous restaurant here called Bullocks Bistro.  It looks like an old shack and it was good thing we got there early as before long it was standing room only.  They serve fish and chips and the fish is local (Char, Grayling, Lake Trout etc.).  The waitress never offered a menu but told us what fish they had for the day.  Dian ordered Arctic Char and I the seafood chowder. It was very good and so was the price...$55.00.  I am glad I didn't order the Muskox stew as I am sure the bill would have doubled.

Niven Lake.  A trail circles this lake and is great spot for birds.

Orange-crowned Warblers are feeding young now.

A Canvas-back has decided she and her brood need a nap.

This Horned Grebe has what looks like an elastic band through her mouth and around the back of her neck.  I fear for her and her little one who was constantly begging.

A Swamp Sparrow made a brief appearance as we stood on a bridge at Niven Lake.

We left Yellowknife on a nice day and made it to the Twin Falls Campground where we stayed on our way up.  Next was Hutch Lake-just north of High Level.  Then on to Manning via Fort Vermillion and Le Crete.  I write this in Fairview where we are spending 3 days before we head into Grande Prairie.  Spending time in one location gives us time to explore many faucets of the area.  For example yesterday we drove to Dunvegan on the Peace River.  It was a very important stop on the river at one time.

Dene drummers in the campground the night before we left seemed a fitting goodbye.

Visiting the NWT legislature.  That is Dian and someone from Ont.

Greater Yellowlegs at Hutch Lake.

Lesser Yellowlegs at Hutch.  

Butterfly at Fairview.

Horned Grebe and chicks.   Notice the difference in plumage between this grebe and the one above taken a week ago in Yellowknife.  All the birds are rapidly changing into winter plumage. Taken at Cummings Lake, Fairview.  Lots of peeps coming in now including a Solitary Sandpiper.

A nice Dragonfly in camp.

Least Sandpipers are part of the peep invasion.

As are Pectoral Sandpipers.

A young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker likes Saskatoons.

Very hot here and thunder heads in the sky today.  When it rains it really pours.  Next blog should be from Grande Prairie where we meet relatives for Dian's mom's funeral.  I forgot to mention she has been with us for the trip ever since we left Edmonton.  In an urn in the back seat.  She has been very quite so we can only assume she is enjoying the trip.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17 Ingraham Trail Foxes Yellowknife NWT

Today we had a great experience with a family of foxes.  I counted 5 kits both silver and red.  I presume they are all of the same family but there were many dens.  I did see only one adult.  They were amazing to watch.  I sat on a rock and let them get accostomed to me and before long their curiosity got the best of one of them.  Hope you enjoy some of the shots I got.  Click on them if you want to enlarge.

The only adult I saw.  I would love to see it in its' winter coat.

This one chewed on a stick as she watched me from about 50 feet.

Peeking out from behind a rock.

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 12-15 Yellowknife and surrounds

The sky is cloudy today for a change as we have been having fabulous weather.  However the air is thick with smoke from forest fires to the south.  We are quite comfortable in our campsite at Fred Henne park here in Yellowknife.  We managed to erect our satellite dish on a rock mound behind the trailer so what else could you ask for.  Dropped the cell phone into a lake yesterday.  Will have to get back to Alberta so we can get connected with Telus again.  They only have Bell here.  There is a road that leads northeast of here called the Ingraham Trail.  It seems to be the road to "the" recreation as there are so many lakes along it.  We have travelled it twice now.  Many of the following shots are taken along this route.

Palm Warbler in our RV Park.  Saw a few the first day here and none since.

Slate-colored Junco-the only kind up here.

Yellow-rumped Warbler feeding young.  Also in the RV Park.

A lake had an small island close to shore.  Arctic terns were performing some mating rituals.

I was photographing Pacific Loons and Bonaparte Gulls were nesting nearby.  I learned their accuracy in emptying their bowels is very good as I had to clean my camera and t-shirt after I was dive-bombed.

Just a butterfly.  I should get a field guide for these.

Hermit Thrush was compelled to get into the open when a young Grey Jay threatened its' nesting area.

Lincolns' Sparrows are here.

Old scarface was in a berry patch and gave me a many opportunities for shots.  I bet he has a lot of stories to tell.

Cameron Falls is a popular destination.  The bright contrast of water and forest made getting a good picture difficult and I wasn't really satisfied with any of them.

They were quite a ways offshore but I managed a few pictures that attempt to show the beauty of these Pacific Loons.

We found a Red Fox den along the Ingraham Trail.  This is a young one.

Red-necked Grebes are switching incubating duties.

Spruce grouse are quite common.  Here is a hen.

And here is one of her chicks.

This Bonapartes is in winter plumage, yet was feeding young.  Many other gulls in the area were still in breeding plumage.

We found the Horseflies to be plentiful when the temperature gets over 22-23 degrees.  Below that they are almost nonexistent.  However the Mosquitoes fill in the gap when they are not around.  Our Watkins insect repellent is proving to be very effect. Got a tip from some locals on a Red-throated Loon.  Will have to check it out.