Category Archives: Observations

Morning in Whitemud Ravine

Went for a cool(ish), windy and relatively uneventful walk in Whitemud Creek Ravine this morning. After a wet evening, the ravine was damp and fragrant. Brought some nuts and seeds with me, but couldn’t get any chickadee action. The bird song in the canopy was beautiful but not a lot of sightings, and only one insistent squirrel who demanded a second helping of peanuts. The areas where I left nuts on the first part of the walk were left untouched as I made my way back an hour later. Not sure where everybody was.

There were other walkers, and quite a few dogs, including one stray. I think he was a stray. He just showed up out of the bush. A shepherd-cross, I think, with no tail. He seemed tired, but he wouldn’t come near. I followed him for awhile and called and whistled, but he took off running. I hope he knows the way home, or that someone is better at calling him over than I was. I can’t stop thinking about him. Stay safe, doggie.

By the time I emerged out out of the ravine, it was warmer but still windy with a glorious blue sky overhead.

9:30 – 11:00/19C


Owls for lunch!

Great Horned Owl & babe enjoying a meal of indeterminate species

Once again, I am writing after the fact. Or, after the walk to be more exact. This particular adventure took place on Thursday morning, June 7. Knowing that I would be unable to go for long walks for the next several days because of Tom’s hernia surgery (now complete and successful!), I jumped into the ravine around 9:00, before the heat set in.

I entered via the stairs in Whitemud North, and while I was intending to walk all the way to Snow Valley, the trail was cut off about 3/4’s of the way because of bank re-construction. On the way back, while battling mosquitoes, I saw a guy with a lot of camera equipment pointed up into the canopy. I said, “owls?” and he said, “yes!”. He then helped me find the mama Great Horned Owl and babe enjoying a meal of something very dead. I think it might have been a squirrel since the claws didn’t seem that long. I didn’t actually see what they were doing because they were too far away, but my camera caught some awesome photos (for me)! Also, I’ve never photographed owls and have barely seen them in my 20+ years of trekking in the river valley and ravines. So yay. Big yay!! And thank you photographer dude for being so nice and helpful.

Hey, watch it!

Because squirrels

Dark-eyed, really dark-eyed junco

Hot ‘n Buggy

Another late afternoon walk in Whitemud Ravine, via Rainbow Valley Road. It was very humid in the bush, and the mosquitoes were flying. I could barely stop to take a photo without being quickly and definitively occupied by the imperial forces.

There were lots of people on the trails, but still many moments of solitude. Green solitude. It’s so lush and alive in the woods, and everywhere.

Mice can swim? Who knew?

3:38 to 5:15/24C

Wild Thing. You make my heart sing.

Rather than wax poetic about Whitemud Ravine and its many tiny creatures, I will let it…and them, be the poetry. These photos were taken late afternoon, June 3rd (Saturday), about 24C.

And then this happened:

A little bug-on-bug action. I couldn’t not, not look…

Junk-eyed darco, I mean, dark-eyed junco (with worm)

Some sort of moth/butterfly

And then this happened…


A coyote happened!

Very thrilled about this. I’ve seen and/or heard them for years, but never managed to have my camera with me or ready quickly enough to snap a picture. This guy was crossing the baseball field in Rossdale just steps away from where Joanne lives. I thought he looked quite healthy and beautiful. At one point he gave me a stare down, but otherwise was intent on whatever he was intent upon, which I’m guessing had something to do with mice.

My walk was rather circuitous as I had to find several alternative paths into the river valley from downtown because of the a: funicular and b: other assorted river valley construction. As I contemplate moving back into the area, I am cognizant of the fact that some of my commuter routes will be impassable for months and in some cases (like the LRT extension) years.

However, I enjoyed the walk into Mill Creek via Rossdale and Skunk Hollow. After 40+ mm of rain and 100k winds the other day, there was some damage in the form of fallen branches and trees. The creek was high and may have flooded, but the trails were fine. We were nearing peak spring the day before the storm, but in the aftermath we seem to have surpassed it. Many of the blossoms have fallen from the trees, and the lilacs are suddenly, gloriously in bloom. And holy cow, the city is greeeen

Thank you coyote for making my walk so spectacular.