A few weeks back it was an overcast morning and it was going to stay that way for the duration of the day. With minus five degree the hike started about half an hour after the sun rising behind the clouds. Much of the hike to Rockbound Lake is in the mostly evergreen forest, slowly the sounds of the vehicles from the road and highway disappear. Any wildlife encounter was mainly in the form of small birds and the only mammal spotted was a red squirrel. When the train started to even off, the reason why I was on the hike became visible, larch trees in their beautiful fall colours. The numbers increased as I got near Tower Lake and becoming the dominant tree upon reaching Rockbound Lake. I probably ended up spending more time exploring the lake than it took me to reach it. Taking pictures from various locations as a Common Loon and a Raven watched me. This picture described what the morning looked like that day by the lake, various shades of grey with the golden larches.
Still few leaves cling on, time is moving fast before they also join the leaves who have ended on the ground.
On my way back from a great outing, where I was exploring and taking pictures, I came across this large grizzly walking near the road. In his full fall weight, all ready to go into a deep sleep to pass the winter. Every now and then he would stop to dig for some calories and then continue his merry way.
Standing next to the Bow River, watching the end of the day as the sun sets behind the mountains.
Moose like other wildlife have been dealing with more snow and cooler temperatures much earlier this year. Even with warmer days coming up tomorrow, much of their food has fallen to the ground. The moose will start eating twigs sooner then later.
The decibel level of elk bugling is 90 dB at 4 meters, lawnmower and food blender are two items that have similar sound levels. I have heard the bugling as far as 1 km away, with elk's larger ears, they would be able to hear the bugling from even further distance. this is important for the females who want to mate with a stronger male and help keeps weaker males away. Over 85 dB can lead to damage for human ears, another reason for us humans to keep our distance from wildlife. The recommend safe distance from elk i at least 30 meters. at that distance the bugling sound level comes to 72.5 dB. Close to the sound level when you're using a vacuum.
Even on their own, each larch tree needle looks beautiful in their fall colours.
Just a couple of weeks ago the leaves belonging to Trembling Aspen and Balsam Poplar were starting to turn colour. Since then we had a few snow storms and several minus temperature nights, resulting in many of the leaves ending up on the ground.
First came the snow, than below freezing temperatures, followed by balsam poplar leaves falling to the ground. Creating a gold coloured effect.
A Blue Jay surrounded by fall colours and snow, searching for food.
If one was waiting for a sunny day to hike in this fall, not much hiking would get done. I stopped listening to weather forecaster long time ago, for only so long I could listen to a person in the morning telling me if the temperature and the other elements of weather was just not right it was not a good day. I don't get many days to hike, there's no way I'm going to let a person decide what type of day I will have outdoors. I look up the weather in the morning to help me decide what to wear and then head out to have a great day. The day this picture was taken, we headed out to make the most of the day after snow had fallen and more was on the way and the clouds blanketed most of the mountains. We spend the morning exploring the mountains and got to enjoy great views.
I came across this bull elk during a snow storm. I saw him with a small harem, away from any other males that might challenge him. He was still bugling, letting others know the harem was his.
The month of September was full of days that resembled winter, first day of October started the same way.
During the last few hikes I have been enjoying the fall colours of the larch trees, one of the few coniferous trees that change colour and lose their needles in the fall. To save nutrients for later, the plant turn colour in the fall as the days get shorter and the temperatures started cooling. The part in the needles that photosynthesize or another way to put it, create sugars from carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. Starts to break up and the chemicals get stored in the tree. At this time the needles become beautiful golden yellow. This fall with the added bonus of few early snowfalls in the mountains, the larch trees were sparking under the sun.
The rut season is full on, the bulls can be head calling out throughout the Bow Valley. Here’s one of the bull with its harem I have been able to watch. The bull working to keep his harem together, calling out to attract more females and keep lesser males away. Still few weeks to go for the rut season, still time for other bulls to challange.
The larch trees are showing their fall colours. On a hike in the Moraine Lake area there was snow to deal with to see the larch trees. The morning started with dark overcast sky, looking as if more snow was going to fall, in the end few snowflakes fell before the clouds gave way for the light to come through. But as I was returning to the parking lots when I took this pictures, the clouds were back again.
If it takes a village to raise a child, the same can be said about a grizzly bear in the front country. A grizzly growing up near people will be spotted by visitors and locals, they will pass on the sightings to dispatch. Dispatch will inform resource conservation officers dealing with wildlife, supported by the wardens and wildlife guardians and others. If the bear decides it wants to spend time where people live, visit and play, wildlife officers can be dealing with the same bear several times a day. Keeping the bear and people safe, giving the bear space to eat and move without the two legged mammals getting in the way. Providing a balance between letting the bear making a living and providing an opportunity for the people to see and or get a picture when it's safe to do so. The risk factors increase when you include moving vehicles in the mix, even more so when the road is a four lane highway and its middle of a very busy summer day and you have close to hundred vehicles stopped. People wanting to or do cross over four lanes, sometimes with kids by their side as vehicles drive by 90 km or faster, just to see a bear who is moving on the good (the side road is not on) side of the fence or across a wildlife overpass. Day in and day out, these are some of the constant challenges for the bears and those protecting wildlife and people face. All this for many small and one ultimate payoff, adding a new generation to the ecosystem. For eight years two grizzly sisters were looked after when help was needed, this May those two came out of their den with their first cubs. Here's one of them with one cub by her side and the other still playing in the shrubs behind them on a quiet evening in the mountains.
Few weeks ago the fall colours started to appear. With the overcast weather and rain it has been a challenge getting pictures of the colours. That changed couple of days ago and more opportunities to come.
Work took me to Rocky Mountain House NHS, where early in the morning I got to see the small bison herd kept there. Here several cowbirds hanging out on the back of a cow.
Living in Banff National Park, nature is never far away. A bull elk hanging out at the rec grounds with a rainbow from of Mount Rundle.