Category Archives: Observations

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.


Spring Sprung’d

Western Tanager

It’s exploding out there. Not peak pink yet, but days away.

Went for a short walk in Whitemud Ravine via the Aspen Gardens entrance. Funny, Sharon and I were just talking about warblers (she’s taking a class) and I spotted one about ten minutes in. For years, I’ve been seeing yellow birds, but have never been able to capture them on film. I got lucky today.

A Western Tanager!

OK, not a warbler, but I’ve always thought the yellow birds were warblers. It’s far away, so the shot isn’t as clear as I’d like, but I’m very pleased I’ve finally bagged the mighty, tiny and ubiquitous yellow bird, which prior to this has never been named. Hello western tanager!

Many years ago, I very clearly remember seeing a tanager just off the little wooden staircase in Mill Creek, although I didn’t know what it was at the time. Red head, yellow body. I thought someone has lost a tropical bird. At the time I identified it as a scarlet tanager. Who knows if that’s what I saw back then, but this guy for sure is a westie.

Other than that, hot and sunny in the ravine.

23C/1:40 – 2:40 pm.


Oh hello Mill Creek

Second day of my mini-holiday. Drove over to Mill Creek Ravine, and it didn’t disappoint. Still lovely, of course. It’s very hot so it’s weird to look around and see barren trees. There are buds everywhere, but the leaves remain furled. Nice to see the creek high and fast. So often, we have a dry spring.

11:00 to 1:00/27C

The snow is gone and the frogs are back!

I guess we’re kinda sorta on track, spring-wise. This time last year there was more greenery and even blossoms, but it was also very droughty. This year, no drought, but the greening has been delayed because of multiple snow events and coolish temperatures. Today and yesterday, it reached 21C. Tomorrow even hotter, and then very nice for the next week. Spring is here!

I’m taking a couple of days off and so this afternoon I headed into Whitemud Ravine after about a month. There is no snow anywhere and the frog bogs are full of water and frogs, singing their love-sick frog songs.

On that theme, I stood for quite a long time photographing frogs. With the bird song and frog song wafting in the warm air, it just doesn’t get any more bucolic. The frogs were hanging out, clearly enjoying the beautiful day just like me, but with more slime. I saw ducks too, but DUCKS ARE DEAD TO ME (until the Oilers successfully out of this second round of playoffs).