Posts tagged “snow

A Snowy Owl’s flight over the prairies

Irricana Snowy Owls - © Christopher Martin-1458

On the weekend I followed reports of Snowy owls northeast of Calgary near Irricana.  I left home early and arrived in the area just after sunrise.  I was lucky enough to spy the first Snowie of the day perched on a fence post glowing in the soft light.

Irricana Snowy Owl - © Christopher Martin-1415

The pure white owls were until quite recently thought to always be males.  That has been disproved leaving it hard to determine the gender from casual observation.  I will allow for the old convention though and refer to this one as a he.  The other four birds I photographed that morning were banded to varying degrees and I will refer to them as ladies in a future post.  It took only a few minutes before he launched and scouted low over the field for breakfast.  This was repeated a couple of times with each sortie ending with a return to the fence line.

Irricana Snowy Owls - © Christopher Martin-1457

On the last flight that I photographed of this owl, he flew away from the fence and landed in the middle of the field on a pipeline valve which allowed for an interesting backlit shot as he flared his wings to land.

Irricana Snowy Owls - © Christopher Martin-1474


A sentinel on the Prairie

A sentinel on the Prairie - © Christopher Martin-0331-3

I spent one morning this weekend on the prairies north of Strathmore around Bruce Lake.  This trip along the backroads came in between two chinooks and there was a thin blanket of snow that had fallen the day before to cover the land in white.  I had not explored this area previously and when I saw this tree framed by the broken down fence line, I was happy I to have come this way.  I can only imagine the vignettes that have played out in front of this gnarled trunk over many years.


Foxy runner

Foxy runner - © Christopher Martin-0195

 

I found this Red fox sprinting away from a farm west of Springbank, Alberta.  A dog was just giving up the chase when I caught sight of the fox running at full speed in the ditch.  By the time it passed me it was out of pursuit and was cantering along.


A visitor on the deck

Fawn hills fauna - © Christopher Martin-9466

Bobbi and the kids watched a Lynx walk around our house and into the woods behind yesterday.  I wasn’t home so that wasn’t a show meant for me but we do have less elusive wildlife that comes around.  Particularly in the winter, some of the mule deer who live in the community clip clop onto the deck looking for seeds underneath the bird feeder.  This doe was bold enough to visit during the daytime.  She was rewarded with a pretty good snack being the first visitor in a couple of days.

Deckside deer - © Christopher Martin-9445


Snow in the forests

Snow branch - © Christopher Martin-5283

(Please click the image to open a higher resolution version)

… and just about everywhere else in this part of the world is frozen solid.  Temperatures have been stuck below -20°C for the week.  Much too cold but rather beautiful.  This branch hung over a trail I was on near Johnson Lake in the Banff National Park.  It seemed to be a fitting summary of the change into full winter.


Bow Valley – late autumn, early snow

First snow in the Bow Valley - © Christopher Martin-8598

Winter snuck an early snowstorm into Banff National Park’s Bow Valley last weekend.  By mid-morning, most of the snow had melted away in the valley bottom but the upper slopes were still dominated by the white mixed with the green of the forest.  It was a beautiful landscape to enjoy – we’ll see how long it takes before the snow takes hold for a longer stay.


When it snowed, we went sledding

 

Kian's airtime - © Christopher Martin-9801

When they returned from school in the middle of our strangely early snowstorm, my son and one of his friends headed straight to the shed and grabbed their sledding gear.  There was no disappointment with a suspension of late summer, they were ready to toboggan.  I was happy to join them and we had a great time playing around.

Sledding - © Christopher Martin-9726

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Dismount - © Christopher Martin-9818

The bent and broken trees, power outages, traffic accidents and many other challenges that this storm has unleashed on Southern Alberta has been hard to believe.  I’m glad that we were able to find enjoyment in the snow but our thoughts are with those not near so fortunate.

Kian at the ready - © Christopher Martin-9787

 


Snow… already?

September Snowfall - © Christopher Martin-9686

It was 27°C (81°F) on Sunday in Bragg Creek and we enjoyed a wonderful summer day.  Monday was an altogether different story.  It dropped to 0°C (32°F) overnight and freezing rain turned to snow before noon.  By the afternoon the fields towards Calgary were white and in Redwood Meadows, the tree boughs were weighed down by a thick blanket of snow.

September Snowfall - © Christopher Martin-9707

The forecast indicates that this unseasonal (though far from unheard of in these parts) weather will not last long.  By next weekend, we should be over 20°C again – here’s hoping!


Flying off a red roof

Off the red roof - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We’re in Fernie with family for the Easter weekend.  We escaped Calgary’s heavy snowfall but the Elk Valley was socked in today with heavy leaden clouds.  Rain, snow and sleet took turns falling through the day which provided a great background with some of the birds I came across.  This raven was a favorite with the red roof providing great color to a potentially weary scene.

 


Dark snow

Night snow - 2014 © Christopher Martin

A blizzard swept out of the mountains on the weekend.  The ground had been almost bare but winter felt everyone’s enthusiasm for spring was premature.  The snow fell through the night and in the morning there was almost a foot blanketing the grass, the trees and almost anything else that doesn’t move.  In the middle of the storm, I went outside to watch the snow and enjoy the sound of the huge flakes touching down and watching them tumble through the darkness.


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