Tag Archives: Autumn

September Roundup

Coyote along ravine drive (Sept 25)

September isn’t over yet, but I’ve gone on more than a few unremarkable remarkable walks — the usual, in other words, around Grovenor, Glenora, Ravine Drive and MacKinnon Ravine. And in between, summer turned to fall. I’m longing to get back in the woods, but these walks are good enough.

The river, looking west (Sept 25)

We’re headed into a mini-heatwave and a long weekend, so hopefully some ravine walks are in my future. Today, it looked like autumn but felt like summer.

MacKinnon Ravine, looking east (Sept 25)
MacKinnon Ravine, looking west (Sept 25)
Canoes on the river (Sept 21)
Surprisingly, not alien pods but horse chestnuts… (Sept 21)
Tom of the Ravine (Sept 21)

Day of the Giant Water Bug

This photo in no way conveys the absolute f’d up size of this thing. And it was crawling.

I was today years old when I found out that we have something called Giant Water Bugs in Edmonton. Turns out, they are the largest insect in Canada, and (after getting my face nice and close) they are poisonous!!

When I first spotted it, about a block off 142 Street as we headed west to the MacKinnon Bridge, I thought it was a palm-sized moth. It was rather hideous and clearly on its way out. When I shared the photo on the What’s App family thread, I was corrected by my ever resourceful niece Kate, who said it was a Giant Water Bug (or GWB). She sent along a photo of what it looks like when it’s healthy and ready to kill. Good god.

From the interwebs, a sprightly GWB!

Also from Kate: “The only reason I know about them is my Bio 30 teacher lectured us during a swamp diving field trip. Apparently, the year prior she had to send a kid who got bit to the hospital because his arm was melting.”

It was really creepy, crawling on the road propelled by what looked like two large antenna, or as my other niece Beth suggested, like it had swallowed a frog, head first. Gross and fascinating. I had considered putting my hand beside it for scale, but glad I didn’t. I’d hate for my epitaph to read “Killed by Giant Water Bug”. Or, would I?

Some of the comments from my Facebook post:

Brian Thair: “It’s a true ‘bug’. It has piercing mouth parts to inject digestive enzymes which dissolve the innards of living prey caught with those 2 powerful front legs that you can see. What has always impressed me is the aquatic, paddle shapes of the legs. Rolled over, the underside of the body has a keel like a boat. If wing span mattered for the size of Canadian insects, then several of the Saturnidae moths are the winners. Polyphemus and Luna are overshadowed by Cecropia which can be the size of my hand.”

Janice Hurlburt : “Not sure if you saw my post from a week ago of a White-faced Ibis with one in its beak. Here’s what John Acorn (the Nature Nut) said “Wow! Giant water bug (Lethocerus americanus)! Physically big, with a painful, tissue-dissolving bite, and chemical deterrents as well. Not sure what an ibis might do with such a thing. I’ve never seen ANYTHING eat a giant water bug. Very cool picture!”

White Faced Ibis carrying a Giant Water Bug (photo: Janice Hurlburt)

It was an otherwise uneventful morning walk, with some fabulous non-bug scenery.

From MacKinnon Ravine bridge
Glenora fountain in Alexander Circle

Golden Gorgeousness

Hello gorgeous!

Yeah, I know I keep posting this particular scene at the old provincial museum, but I think it just really captures the season, whatever the season. Monet had his haystacks, I have this trail. Or something like that.

Groat Road looking south, around 4:15 pm.

I was out at lunch and it was cold and overcast. After work, it was cold and sunny, in a twilighty sort of way. This is probably the last snowless day for a long, long time. -1C.

The turquoise river

Addendum to this post: we got about 25cm of snow between Saturday, November 7 to Monday, November the 9th. It’s full winter now. It happens just like that in this part of the world.

The twilight river

Fort Edmonton/Terwillegar (Again)

Looking over the Fort Edmonton Footbridge

Wow, what a gorgeous day! November 1st, and it’s 17C. A bazillion people out and about but easy to distance on the trail from Fort Edmonton to Terwillegar. About 12,000 steps.

Hard to tell, but the trails were packed

We had such a cold second half of October, but the last few days, including Halloween, were beautiful.

North Saskatchewan River from the Terwillegar Footbridge
Terwillegar Footbridge
Terwillegar Footbridge (again)

The Sun Returns!

Frosty in MacKinnon Ravine

I was having a tough time with the weather until lately. It was pretty nice early October, but for two weeks (up until Sunday) it was gloomy, cold, snowy and in all ways just plain ugly. The snow was gross, but the clouds felt like a bag of dead cats on my shoulders. I am really affected by the sky. If it’s not blue, I’m blue.

My beloved museum trail
In MacKinnon Ravine, looking north

The sun came out two days after my birthday however, and it’s been off and on sunny ever since. It rained as well, so all the snow is gone. Today, the sky was bright blue and so I went for a 90 minute walk at lunch (a late lunch, I left at 1 pm) to take advantage of the blue sky and to celebrate a story I just completed for work. I often go after work over to Tom’s to pick him up but the sun sets early now, so around 4:45 when I would normally leave we’re already into ‘the gloaming’, not my favourite time of day. The light is diffuse, like it is now as I write this, obscuring the sun.

At 1 pm, however, it was just gorgeous. I feel so much better!

Looking over MacKinnon Ravine

I walked down into the river valley from the Victoria promenade, and then through MacKinnon Ravine and up into Glenora. In some places, there was still pretty frost on the leaves, but it was mostly warm(ish), bright and lovely. Not surprisingly, I ran into Tom.

The walk up to Glenora (which I did not do)

About 90 minutes in total, 11,000 steps. 7C.