Nearby Nature – August 2015

I’m taking a very short break from blogging about Iceland to publish this regularly scheduled post about nearby nature.

Each month I share a few photos of wildlife, flowers and natural scenery, generally from our west Calgary neighbourhood. Why? I realized several years ago that I am happier, more energetic and less stressed out after a day in the mountains. Since I can’t be in the mountains every day, I’ve developed the habit of closely observing nature that’s more proximate. I hope that by sharing nature in my neighbourhood, I’ll encourage you to enjoy nature in your part of the world.

Since we didn’t spend much time in Calgary over the past month, this month’s photos were taken on one of my favourite walking routes in Canmore:

1. I don’t know if this red squirrel was really hungry or just accustomed to people walking along the Riverside Trail. Whatever the reason, it completely ignored us while it ate the seeds from an unripe spruce cone and then appeared surprised that we were watching!

2. There’s a bright turquoise pond in the meadow beside the TransCanada Trail just east of Canmore. I rarely see birds in the pond, maybe because it reeks of sulphur. So I was surprised one morning to see two mallard ducks and six ducklings enjoying the aquatic plants growing on the bottom. I stopped to watch them for a bit and noticed right away that the ducklings were two different sizes. Three of them were quite large – about half the size of the mallard hens. The other three were quite small, with yellower, more downy feathers. They were separated into two groups of three, one group with each mallard hen. I became even more convinced that they were two different duck families when the mother of the smaller ducklings chased off one of the larger ducklings when it paddled too close for her liking. It made me wonder how territorial ducks are and also how late in the year ducklings can hatch. I haven’t taken the time to look up the answers (yet) because I’m still enjoying the fact that I was in the right place at the right time to be inspired to wonder about such things.

Mallard-Duck

3. I’ve been regularly walking along Three Sisters Creek for about 5 years. It changed a fair bit after the 2012 spring runoff and even more after the June 2013 flood. Just this month I spent some time enjoying (and photographing) some of the new cascades along the creek between the unfinished Three Sisters golf course and the Three Sisters Parkway. Although one of the drops is quite a bit higher than the ones in this photograph, I like the way one cascade splits into two at this particular section and the way the roots and long grasses hand down like fringe along the embankment.

Three-Sisters-Creek

If you took some time to enjoy whatever nature is near your home this month, please let me know what you found most interesting.

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