Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chillin' in Chilliwack

Last month after my nature trip in Saskatchewan, I went a little further west to visit my brother Nelson and his wife Shirley in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Here they are (above) with their sweet dog Katie.

It was a relaxing visit where we just hung out and did a couple of day trips to interesting places not too far away. Also, their lovely home is situated within walking distance to the Vedder River, a gorgeous, wild, rocky river that is home to all sorts of wildlife!  I enjoyed getting up at dawn and walking along its shoreline.

The following photographs depict the glorious nature found in the area.  What a wonderful place to enjoy retirement!

I suppose this slug is not everyone's idea of "glorious nature" but I think they are beautiful in their own way!

This is more like it - right?! :-)

These lovely flowers were blooming along the river banks.

The fog one morning condensed on these webs making jeweled necklaces.

One of the web designers.

It was late in the year to see a baby Cottontail Rabbit.  

Isn't the Spotted Towhee a handsome bird?

 More scenic beauty!

A Barred Owl.

A Garter Snake.

A female Common Merganser.

Canada Geese.

This little bird is an American Dipper. It is a shy, uncommon bird which dives into the water to catch its prey. I watched it for several minutes hopping from rock to rock all along the river side.

Bridal Veil Falls.

Some of the lush vegetation at the falls.

Doris and Shirley standing at the base of the falls.

A view at Harrison Hot Springs.

Nelson, Shirley and Katie pausing to pose for a photo.

Sunset over the Vedder River ...  

The end of a beautiful day and a great visit.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Land of Living Skies

"Land of Living Skies
is what you see on the licence plates in Saskatchewan.

I was privileged to see how appropriate this was when I visited Saskatoon and its environs in early October. The photograph above shows a massive flock of Snow Geese taking off in a clamor due to the presence of a Peregrine Falcon.

Joining a nature tour to search for the endangered Whooping Crane, our tour leader, Ian, took us to several picturesque places within an hour or so of Saskatoon. Presented below are several photographs of the wonders of this province. You can click on the individual photos to enlarge them.

Ian and group observing wildlife in the fields.

Sandhill Cranes in the beautiful afternoon light.

Skittish Sandhills taking off.

Dark skies provide a dramatic backdrop for the prairie landscape.

 Bonaparte Gulls.

 Mallard "teenagers".

Greater Yellowlegs.

Braving the cold winds to get a look at the waterfowl.

Snow Geese taking flight.

Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia

Clouded Sulphur, Colias philodice 

The elusive and rare Whooping Cranes!  
We observed these at Rice Lake.
There are two adults (white) with two juveniles (reddish).  
One juvenile is standing in front of an adult (on the right).

Long-billed Dowitchers.

An American Avocet with a Long-billed Dowitcher.

Quill Lakes.

Checking out the waterfowl at Quill Lakes.

American Avocets and a Greater Yellowlegs.

A friendly encounter between birds.

Snow Geese on mass. 

If you click on the link below you will see a short video of the geese including comments by Ian.

The Snow Geese form lovely necklaces as they flock together.

Canada Geese lit by the warm afternoon light.

A moose on the loose near Watson, Saskatchewan. This is very unusual to see a moose so far south in Saskatchewan!

Back in Saskatoon there were some interesting animals as well:

Least Chipmunk.

Beaver in the Saskatchewan river.

You can see a very short video of the beaver by clicking on the link just below.

A great trip with great companions!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ladybug life cycle

I have had the good fortune to find a number of ladybugs this year in all phases of the life cycle.  I must say that I didn't know what I was looking at half the time and only my searches on the Internet enlightened me.  Now I am fascinated!

I pondered where to start this cycle (the age old chicken versus egg dilemma) but why not start with "love". :-)

A beautiful cluster of eggs!

The larva.  Some people have described it as looking like a miniature alligator.

Here is the same larva in its defensive pose.  I guess I got too close!  Very Hallowe'enish to my mind.

The pupa.  According to what I have read, the larva encases itself in a shell and becomes a pupa within which it transforms into the adult form.

Interestingly, the pupa does "headstands" every so often.  I have yet to find an explanation for this. Perhaps it is necessary for metamorphosis or is an attempt to avoid predation.

The fully formed adult!