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!