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.
From across the valley I watched the storm passing through the valley, bringing heavy winds, lightening and rain. Every now and then there would be opening in the sky and the light was let in. That's when I decided to take pictures and what of. I was looking from side to side and zooming in and out, trying to frame the picture I wanted to take. Finding the right combination of light and shadows.
Top of a dead tree, a Bald Eagle keeping balance in the wind while looking out for the next opportunity for a meal.
Early this morning I went for a walk in Johnston Canyon, there were a couple of things I needed to do and also decided to take long exposures before the crowd moved in. With the overcast weather, the conditions were ideal for taking the long exposures. I started with the Lower Falls and worked my way to the others. When it got busy, then it was time to enjoy the hike back to the car.
When I'm watching wildlife I always have the camera ready to take pictures. When possible, if I'm safe from harm, I'm looking at the wildlife through the camera. Always ready to take the picture I don't want to miss, things happen fast and I don't want to be distracted when seconds count. With the mother near, the cubs were busy playing, and I was busy deciding which cub to follow with my camera. In the end, I kept going back and forth through the camera between the two cubs. For this picture I had a few seconds to get it, the cubs were not interested in staying in one place, they were play fighting or rolling around on the ground. As soon as I got this cub in focus between the blades of grass, I took the picture.
Following their mom, always near her for safety. About a month to go and some bears will start getting ready for the long winter nap. They are busy trying to gain weight, the more they gain the better chance they have getting through the coming winter. For the mother of these cubs, she also have to make sure there is enough food for her cubs.
One by one the wildflower colours are fading into memories as we move into cooler weather.
The beauty of Lake Louise behind the clouds.
We are creatures of habit and wildlife are no different. I came across this medium size black bear, brown in colour, walking and stopping to get a mouthful as he went along. From past experience I had a sense what route he would be taking, I went ahead and waited for him with the window down. I could not see him, but I could see the shrubs moving as he passed by them and on occasion the sounds he made when touching the shrubs. With no one else in the area, the chances were good he was heading toward me. The hope was when he went up the short incline near me, he would see me and give me a quick look before passing by me. My goal was to have the camera focused on his face and get a picture of him looking toward the camera. That evening it played out just as I hoped.
Flowers that are left, their days are numbered as cool weather moves in. A few weeks back on a hot sunny day I was out taking pictures of wild sunflowers. Moving back and forth to get a few good pictures of the flowers and a background to complement them.
Middle of the day in the forest this grizzly mother and her two cubs walking, searching for food. Stopping to dig for roots, eating berries they came across and other vegetation. With no threat in the area, the cubs often lingered behind their mom, playing and eating.
I get lots of bird pictures each year, particularly during the bird season. Because I get so many chances, I tend to have higher standards for what I consider a good bird picture. After taking pictures of birds for several years, I'm always thinking about the pictures I do have and try to get a picture of the same quality or better. In the case of this Spotted Sandpiper, I have a handful of very good pictures of them, but not one of them on a branch. In this case I ended up one afternoon middle of several families of Spotted Sandpipers, they were not happy with me being there. With camera in hand, I was making my way through the area, I just had to stop for a few seconds to get this picture. I took one step back to get the branches to the right into the frame, for me it made the picture that much better. A second after the bird was off the branch, I moved on and the birds were calm again.
Cool temperatures and rain is in the forecast, enemies of wildfires. This pictures taken today through the smoke.