Nearby Nature – June 2015

Calgary has been blessed with fantastic conditions this month: warm temperatures and sunshine, very few mosquitoes, daylight from early morning to late in the evening and not much rain (a little more rain to help natural vegetation and farm crops would actually be welcome). I took full advantage of Mother Nature’s open door policy. I explored in and around our neighbourhood in an effort to counterbalance the increased frenzy related to wrap-up events and activities at school and for extra-curricular, sports and other activities. So far, it’s worked pretty well. If you still haven’t tried getting out into nearby nature for a 15 minute rest and rejuvenation break, what are you waiting for?!

The neighbourhood jackrabbits produced kits and this one’s been hanging around our front yard for several weeks, nibbling the grass, the tender shoots from spring bulbs and even a few flower blossoms. It really seems to like this spot, surrounded by Osteospermum plants, to the point it’s made a little hollow in the ground so it can nestle right in. Our youngest son’s bedroom window overlooks this spot in the yard and he’s noticed that this little rabbit will stay in that one spot for hours at a time.

White-tailed jackrabbit

Like many parts of the world, Calgary’s been through some major flood events in the past decade, most recently in June 2013. All through May and June, I hear people talking about snowpack in the mountains, wondering whether it’s going to rain much and keeping a watchful eye on the Bow and Elbow Rivers. While the Bow River is currently flowing strong and fast, the Elbow is pretty tame. But those in charge of such things have lowered the water levels in the reservoirs upstream of Calgary and in the Glenmore Reservoir in the heart of Calgary, just in case. Water birds (ducks and geese) are taking full advantage of the exposed silt bars and hardy vegetation to nest.

Duck-family

Sometimes I get lucky and spot something amazing, like I did in South Glenmore Park the other day. I was walking with a friend along a trail that parallels the shoreline of the reservoir and we were just about back at our parking spot when we spotted a young buck deer browsing just a few meters from the paved pathway.

Browsing-Buck-Deer

Quite a few people stopped and pulled out their phone cameras to preserve the moment. I overheard hushed comments and questions, mostly about how this deer was ignoring all of us on the pathway. I guess he’s accustomed to passersby. I hope I never become so accustomed to nearby nature that I just pass by.

Comments sharing a few details about your favourite place to observe urban nature are always welcome, as are ideas about how to make time to enjoy a daily dose of Vitamin N (for nature). If you’re at the stage of thinking about developing a nearby nature habit, a couple of good resources are the Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 nature challenge and Miles Richardson’s Finding Nature blog.

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