Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sept.12-16 2012 Camping with the Bartels

The weather looked promising for the next week or so, so Dian and I hooked up the trailer and met Art and Marlene for a few days of camping.  Our first stop was Juniper Campground on the Thompson River east of Cache Creek.  We got the last 2 campsites even though we rolled in early; and they were almost side by side.  I walked the trails and got a few pictures but the birds were not that plentiful.  The Meadowlarks were still singing and Yellowrumps dominated the campsite.

White-crowned Sparrow

After the second day we decided to head to Tunkwa Campground.  The rise in elevation from about 1200 feet to 3000 feet and it was evident in the temperature at night when the thermometer in the trailer read 5 degrees.  Daytime temperatures were mid to high 20's.  Just perfect.  Tunkwa was not as crowded as Juniper and the people that were there, were mostly fishermen.  Many more trails provided more opportunities for hikes and as a result more photo ops.
Click on the pictures for a larger view.


I followed this Hairy Woodpecker around camp and finally got a clear shot.

Quite a few Mountain Bluebirds were passing through.

Art and I were surprised by the sudden appearance of this Northern Goshawk.  I only had a short time to react with the camera as it glided by.

A Northern Harrier checked me out.

A Red-tailed hawk also wondered if I was a threat.

Around the campfire.

You can't camp with the Bartels unless you play Blongo.  Here is Blongo Man showing his winning form.

I didn't realize there was so much involved with the follow through.

Dian is going to connect this time.

It was a good 4 days and now it is time to winterize the trailer and wait for spring.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

July 28-Aug.8 Grande Prairie to home Abbotsford

The last installment.  Two months and six days after we started we arrived home Aug. 8.  The lure of the olympics on TV was getting to hard to ignore.  Grande Prairie was completely occupying our time with visiting and arranging Dian's mom's internment.  We tried to stay in Tumbler Ridge when we left Grande Prairie but it was a long weekend and all the campsites were full.  However we lucked out in Moberly Lake north of Chetwynd.  We got there before the weekenders arrived and it was a very nice campsite.  Click on the pictures if you want a larger view.

A young buck was a standout in the yellow flowers.  

Our campsite in Sexsmith where we stayed while visiting Grande Prairie.  It was an fitting opportunity to meet up with Neil and Wilma again as we stayed at their place in Kamloops at the beginning of our trip. 

Young birds, females and moulting males are making it more difficult to identify this time of the year.  It took a look in the field guide to decide this was a Townsends Warbler.

A Common Yellowthroat was annoyed by our presence at Bull Moose Marsh near Tumbler Ridge.  We tried to get to Speiker Mountain at Tumbler Ridge but the road was washed out.  

We visited a banding station in Mackenzie.  It was a treat visiting with the friendly banders there.  Northern Waterthrushes were some of the more common captures.  These skulkers are difficult to get in the open.

This bird was also a common victim of their nets.  A Magnolia Warbler.

Our campsite in  Moberly gave us this Black and White Warbler.  I tried for about an hour to get a reasonable shot.  This is not great but the best of many attempts.

I will finish off with a few sunset shots at Moberly.  

When I started this blog I thought I might get few hundred visitors.  I am completely surprised that the total is well over 3000 and will probably reach 4000.  I found the biggest drawback to creating a blog is finding wifi to keep the blog up to date.  I think it would be fair to say that for every picture I have submitted here, 20 were taken.  Hundreds of shots were deleted to ferret out the best.  Our highlights were the branding in the Cypress Hills; getting up at 3AM to hear the coyotes and try to photograph Sharp-tailed Grouse in Grasslands NP;  finding our lifer Piping Plover at lake Diefenbaker;  and mingling with the foxes at Yellowknife and have them sort of accept me.  Thanks to you all for your interest.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and will join us on our next adventure.  To see these and many other photos that didn't make the blog visit my website;

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.