Rising up, drying off
I photographed this loon near Bragg Creek at the end of April. It dove for fish most of the morning – stopping now and then to preen and smooth his feathers. This was my favorite image of him spreading his wings to shake the water off. He was relaxed and serene here. An immature bald eagle swooped low over him a little while later which ended his tranquility. He dove quickly each time the eagle came by so he was not caught. I will share some images of that encounter soon.
An owl hunting deep in the forest
My pup and I found this great gray owl perched in a small clearing. He was watching us when I noticed him on this fallen tree root. A short stare and he returned to scanning the ground.
At one point a raven flew over the treetops, the owl followed it pass by and then returned to watching the forest floor.
After close to 15 minutes, this spot lost whatever interest it had held and he flew deeper into the forest.
Wildlife photos from 2022
I had some great encounters with animals over the past year. I’d always love to get out more but it was great to have these images and the memories. Here is the link to the gallery with my picks from 2022.
This was probably my absolute favorite of the set. Heavy fog rolled in as dusk approached. Des and I sat above the field waiting for an owl to go hunting. Instead, this white-tailed deer materialized out of the mist and we watched it walk in front of us. At this moment she picked up something in the air and lifted her head to concentrate on that. Her almost silhouette framed beautifully in the scene.
Who’s coming for tea?
We found this beautiful teacup and saucer reimagined as a bird feeder at the Winter in the Woods Festival in Bragg Creek a couple of weeks ago. Desirée loved it at first sight and I quickly got onboard imagining little birds perched along the lip.
As soon as we hung it off the roof above our second floor deck, the chickadees and nuthatches began landing and sifting through the cup for their preferred seeds. We have several of each of these birds that overwinter, It is fun – and a little magical – to watch them flying through trees, perching on branches and chasing each other around.
With a little sunshine these Red-breasted nuthatches looked amazing as it came back and forth to the teacup. Photographing them was great and I was happy with the images I came away with.
Des, our cat Pitbull and I watched the chickadees, bluejays and nuthatches snacking on the bird seed on our deck this afternoon. It was a mild day and they were excitedly flying, feasting and chasing each other between the railing, our tea cup bird feeder and the forest in our backyard. I photographed them to catch the fine details of their feathers and features as well as focusing on them in motion as they flew back and forth. This image wasn’t either of those. It was one of those beautiful errors – whether it was me not reacting to the incoming bird fast enough or my camera’s autofocus wasn’t up to the job, I really loved how this out of focus Red-breasted nuthatch looks like a painting. The backlit halo framing the bird, the narrow strip of focus on the bird seed and the angles of the deck create an interesting scene. I had fun capturing the shots I was working for but always want to give space to the happy accidents. I love how this one came together.
Winter owl hunting
It has been a few months since I saw a great gray owl. This afternoon, I found one down an old gravel road hunting in and around an open stand of trees.
A lot of perching and waiting punctuated with a few flights between trees.
And a couple of attack dives into the snow.
This dive was unsuccessful but she did capture two voles while I was there.
I look forward to the next opportunity to have some owl time. No matter when that is, it was great to close out 2022 with this encounter with one of my favorite animals.
Moose on the Prairies
Driving the gravel roads that divide up the fields north of Calgary, I found this moose in the tall grass near the end of August this past summer. She was alone and seemed relaxed laying down under the late afternoon heat. I stayed for a minute, the peaceful scene one to enjoy before retreating to leave her as she was.
Autumn bunny in the park
I walked around Prince’s Island Park in the late afternoon sun last week for a little while. This bunny rabbit ran around the edge of the forest across the pond a couple of times while I was by the water.
Her coat looked to be preparing for winter – even if I am far from it. It was nice to watch the golden leaves fall, a few birds and this little bunny in the warm sunlight. I enjoyed watching this little nature scene – especially right on the edge of Calgary’s downtown core.
In a misty field…
A humid afternoon slipped away into dusk with peels of fog rolling over the long grass inviting the darkness of night in earlier. This whitetail walked past Desirée and I a few minutes before I took this photograph. When the visibility dropped away, she raised her head to sniff the air. She wasn’t on edge, her tail stayed down, it seemed just a focus on one sense with another being curtailed. Her profile created a beautiful shape and the moment felt calm and intimate.
Catching fish in Kananaskis
After returning from the ospreys in Invermere without any shots of them catching fish, I was happy to capture this osprey’s successful hunt in Kananaskis last weekend.
This osprey and its partner hit the lake a couple of times over the course of a few hours. On this run, the raptor was close enough to afford good detail and provide a couple of nice images. Later in the afternoon, one of the osprey settled on a nearby tree to eat another catch to complete the cycle – no catch and release here!
I’ve been visiting this spot frequently and look forward to more opportunities through the summer.
Osprey in the trees
We were in Invermere last weekend. I spent some time watching a family of osprey on the water. This adult perched in this tree and made a couple of passes over a pond but no dives for fish. They looked pretty fantastic in the evening sunshine so I wasn’t too disappointed.