The elk rut season is full on, bugling can head throughout the valley. This male was busy calling out after taking his aggression out on the vegetation. The larger stronger males's bugling will attract the females who are interested in mating with this male. As well keep males away, except for those who feel they can challenge the bugling male.
With the heavy smoke passing through Banff last week, the place had a surreal look, even more so when looking at the moon or the sun. For few mornings while making my way to work I could look straight at the sun as it came over Tunnel Mtn. Most of the sun's light intensity was being blocked by the smoke, that was coming from all those crazy fires taking place in British Columbia. The sun with its sun spots, filtered through smoke.
Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America, roughly the size of a crow. They have an amazing zany call, inspiring the cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker. If you come across rounded rectangle holes near the bottom of the trees, then this woodpecker has be there, looking for wood ants. Here in the mountains they can be spotted year around.
This least chipmunk was keeping busy, climbing up the sunflower stem to get at the seeds. They like other mammals who hibernate over the winter, are busy putting on the weight to survive the winter.
Over the summer I got to see this big guy few times, the last time was when he visited me, well sort of. I was leaving town early in the morning when I spotted him sniffing for two bears that were in the area hours before. Just the way he was moving you can tell he was on their trail, going back and forth following their every step. Grizzly's sense of smell is several times better then that of a bloodhound, they use it to track food and in this case each other. They can smell a carcass upwind from over a kilometer away and even food located in a sealed can. But in this case he was tracking two grizzlies. In this picture it looks as if he was smiling, nothing of the sort, it was all business. As soon he got the scent he was off into the bushes, I found out later the direction he headed, two grizzlies were spotted in that area.
The heavy smoke allowed me to take this picture of the sun rising over Tunnel Mountain this morning. The last few days the sky has been filled with heavy forest fire smoke from the fires in B.C.. The way it's going, we might have to wait until it snows before the fire season will be over.
Playing with water again behind the Bow Lake this time. Trying different long exposure at different angles to get a picture I like.
So many times this summer it felt and looked as if rain was going to fall, the clouds moved on with not even a rain drop. For this picture I was at Herbert Lake, liking the clouds, got the camera out quickly. The water was calm, but for how long, you have to take advantage of the situation before the sky changes and before the wind picks up.
I came across an active Rufous Hummingbird nest during the latter part of July, normally when the hummingbirds are done with nesting and enjoying the summer until they make their way to Mexico for the summer. During the summer the Rufous Hummingbirds can be found as far north as Alaska. No other hummingbird breeds farther north then the rufous. One way travel from their winter home Mexico to Alaska is about 6400 kilometres, not bad work for a very small but feisty 8 cm long bird.
There are not lot of times when you can take a picture of the sun with a normal camera and lens. One of those times is when you have thick fire smoke in the air and its later part of the day. That was the case few evenings back.
It's has been a tough summer for the wildlife. Out here in the mountains wildlife does not do well when we have above normal warm summer, this year it has been a very hot summer and still days to go with above normal temperatures. Wildlife has been spending more time out of under the sun, choosing to be out in the open when the sun is low on the horizon.
Over the summer I got to watch this mother look after two nestlings. Over a three week period saw her catching insects, feeding and as well looking after herself. This picture I took in the morning after she just finished with the feeding and taking a rest.
After watching a beautiful sunset at Peyto lake, I then decided to sit down among the rocks and watch the sky get darker and the stars make an appearance. Only sounds I could hear as the brighter stars were making their appearance, was of the vehicles when they would go over the rumble strips on the road in the distance, the water making its way down from Peyto Glacier and more then likely a pika moving among the rocks near me in the dark. I was still able to see some of the warm colours from the setting sun in the distance, in the clouds and in the fire smoke from the west. In the sky I could also see a glow, just a hint of northern lights. Once my camera had taken the pictures I had planned, I packed up and and made my way to the car. Half way there, a small owl flew front of me. Nice way to end the trip.
I started out taking picture at Bow Lake when i saw the sky changing toward Peyto Lake. Got into the car and headed in that direction, got there just in time. No one was there, set up the gear and started taking pictures of the sunset. Sometimes it's that easy.
The buffaloberries or shepherdia crop was not good this year as last year, overall. There are some area the crop was very good and then others few berries could be found. The bears were taking advantage of the areas where they could find them, This bear was working the shrubs along a very dusty trail with few berries to be found. Every bit helps.
I was up early and headed for 93 North, looking to take pictures. But the overcast weather changed those plans, it was time to head for Mistaya Canyon. A great place to be first thing in the morning, had the whole place to myself taking long exposures of the water.
I get to see this female grizzly about once a year, and normally at the start of the summer. I'm assuming she then moves to the back country, rarely seen in the front country during the summer. Each time, I see her for few minutes, after which I move on or she will walk into the forest. This summer I came across her eating along side a very skittish young black bear. The black bear ran into the forest, she sat down and stared into the distance for few minutes. The she stood up and started to eat before walking toward the forest, I was on my way before she moved away. Until next year.
After dinner I made my way to Moraine Lake area , with the hope of getting a sunset picture form the shore of the lake. But the wind changed that, the water was just not calm enough for a reflective water surface. I was about a km away as I was making my way to the lake, the scenery looked not too bad for a picture. So after reaching the lake I decided to head back to that location and that's where i got this picture from.
I was taking pictures of other birds, when I saw this Cedar Waxwing fly by front of me and land near running water. I quickly put my camera on it and realized the bird had landed on a garter snake. The snake did not even look back, it moved forward and the bird got off it and started bathing in the water.
Spending sunny afternoon taking pictures of birds and along the way of insects among the flowers. This summer I had my first chance at taking pictures of the painted lady butterfly. Beautiful colours in the sunshine.