I went to Wild Rose Lake a few days ago to see what animals might be active early in the day before dawn. I’m waiting for the loons to return to the lake so I visit regularly. On this morning, a beaver and a muskrat were paddling along different parts of the shoreline and there were small bands of ducks nearer to the middle. Thin bands of fog blew over the surface and I stopped to watch that dance for a while. It was a tranquil scene supported by gentle calls from the birds including three Canada geese (Branta canadensis) that floated by.
And then, all hell broke out. Apparently the geese were not three friends but one couple and a third wheel. The boyfriend apparently had enough and changed his tone from soft quacking to loud, angry honking. That happened right when he lunged at the other male and the two were in the equivalent of a back alley brawl – maybe a better description would be a pond pounding or a mid-lake mashup. The beaks were the main duelling weapon but wings and bodies were used to attack and defend as well. The main fight lasted less than a minute and then the chase began.
The male in the relationship trounced the other one and sent him scooting away. The chastened goose started beaking off from a short distance away and that seemed to rile the champion up. He then swam/flew to the instigator and nipped at him until he dove under the water. Popping up several meters away, the cycle then repeated itself six or seven more times. It was crazy to watch!
In the end, the lone goose ended up flying across the lake and the lovebirds continued their morning swim.
Robins are heralds of spring where I live. Our weather can be 20°C in the middle of winter or have a snowstorm in July so we have a lot of fits and starts between each season. I know that winter has mostly retreated when the robins return to our backyard. This one showed up with its partner about a week ago and I photographed him having a drink in the pond over the weekend. It was a mild winter but I’m still very glad to be enjoying spring now.
This bird was teasing seeds on the roadside in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis. It continued on as I got close to the ground and photographed it at eye level.
This Great egret (Ardea alba) stepped around the point and into view from the rocks where I was photographing.
After a short pause, she flew across a small gap and began fishing. The head cocks back and then strikes into the water, rarely coming up without a fish.
At home I photograph the Great blue herons frequently which is in the same family as egrets. Their mannerisms are very similar as is their size. The white feathers are the most obvious difference and I love shooting them against the blues of the water and the warm hues in the rocks.
In flight, I find them particularly alluring and this bird flew between several outcrops affording me great opportunities to watch.
The Summit Cafe is a favourite place for Bobbi and I to have breakfast when we are in Canmore. I was there last weekend, sitting on their patio outside. The sun was out, the snow had melted and it had more of a spring feel than anything else. These House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) contributed to that with their chittering and occasional outburst of song. There were about 15 that darted between the roof of a nearby building, a deck railing and a shrubbery that was more stick than bush given the time of year.