Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles do enjoy eating fish, but they are open to other dishes when the opportunity presents itself. Water-fowls, small mammals, carrion and if they can't find their on food, they will steal from other animals. This adult was hoping to catch one of the water-fowl that was hanging around the marsh I was visiting. But the ducks were too quick that morning, alert and in the air before the eagle had a chance. As the eagle made few circles in the air before flying away, I quickly got myself higher to get this eye to eye level picture.

Bald Eagle 171117 Amar Athwal.jpg


Toward the end of rut season I came across this bull moose. He was near a female, who was with her calf. I was in my car, all three looked toward me, I parked the car on the side of the road and watched them. They stopped looking toward me and went back to their normal behaviour. I got few pictures before another car stopped near mine, they rolled down their windows and loud excited voices came out. Just like that the three moose were gone.



 I was never into following celebrities until I had spent few years in Banff. After considerable amount of time outdoor,  seeing the various stars roaming the landscape, I was captivated. One of those star is this grizzly crossing the road and getting the VIP treatment. Just to the front and beside me was the ever alert Human Wildlife Conflict colleague. Who was aware of any approaching train, stopping all road vehicles and keeping everyone quite while informing them about the celebrity we were watching. The goal was simple, to let the grizzly cross the road as quick as possible without being distracted. Now if I can only build up enough nerve to ask for an autograph from these celebrities.

Grizzly 171109 Amar Athwal.jpg

Pilot Mountain

Yesterday morning I was travelling through the Bow Valley in the morning, looking for subjects to take pictures of. The first few pictures I took was of Pilot Mtn covered with snow from few days back. The morning light hitting the top part of the mountain and the snow covered trees in the foreground and on the slopes of the mountain. With the cold temperature, it was winter time. 

Pilot Mtn 171108 Amar Athwal.jpg


The ever protective mother kept an eye on me, always making sure her calf was safe. She had nothing to worry about, I was about 50 meters away and had no plans to get any closer. The view was clear and my lens was easily able to reach the two moose.

Moose 171106 Amar Athwal.jpg

Giant Steps

Winter  has arrived to the Canadian Rockies, bringing snow and colder temperatures. It was just few weeks ago we were having  a great fall hiking season. One of the highlight  from this fall was the Paradise Valley hike. With an early start, the temperature was close to freezing, moving fast kept the body nice and warm. The goal was to make it to the Giant Steps before the sun reached bottom of the valley, I wanted to explore the steps and take long exposure images, direct sunlight on the water would have made things little more challenging. With some side exploring, it ended up being a 25k day. To and back from the  steps, the views were amazing, the snow capped peaks, juvenile Common Goldeneyes in the lake, the fall colours, pikas getting ready for the winter ..... you get the idea. In the end I got the pictures and another chance at exploring the mountains my favourite way, on my two feet.

Giant Steps 171103 Amar Athwal.jpg

Castle Mtn

It looks as if the winter has arrived this week, with snow and cooler temperatures. But just few days ago the valley was without snow. I was off the beaten path taking landscapes pictures. Last year a beaver family moved into the area, water was raised, resulting in this pine and other trees dying. I had to move around the water, trying to find a spot that was dry and at the same time get a reflection of Castle Mtn.

Castle Mtn

Blue Jay

We don't get that many chances of seeing Blue Jays out here in the mountains, let along get a good picture of one. During one afternoon I was exploring when I saw this one, it was looking for food along the edge of the forest. Took my time getting close enough to get pictures, once we were both comfortable with the space between us. I then ended up spending about half an hour getting few good pictures. 

Blue Jay 171031f Amar Athwal.jpg

Short-tailed Weasel

I was hiking among the larch trees in the fall colours. I moved away from the trees to get a different look and perhaps a pictures of the fall colours. That's when I heard and saw this short-tailed weasel moving around among the rocks and snow. The next several minutes I spent taking picture of this little one. At that time more then likely just weeks away from changing into its winter colours of while with black tail tip. 

Short-tailed Weasel 171029f Amar Athwal.jpg


With the elk rut season coming to an end, it was interesting to see the male challengers were taking every steps to avoid fighting with the defending bull. Only when the challenger though he could take on a defender there would be a battle.  First step would be to listen to the defending bull's bugle, which indicates size and strength of the defender.  If the challenging bull was not deterred from the bugling, then he would locate the defender and size him out. If the challenger still felt confident, there might be bluff charge or two, both bulls walking side by side with each showing the other how big they were, this can go on for several minutes. If neither bull moves off, the next step would be to fight each other, this can last few seconds to several minutes.  From my experience, in most cases the defender is the winner, even more so the larger the harem a defending bull has. Because there is a good reason why a certain bull has a large harem, the females decide which male to seek out for mating from the bugling. A weaker bull not only has tougher time defending but also keeping his harem together.

Elk 171027f Amar Athwal.jpg

Peyto Lake

It has been great spending more time taking pictures of various landscapes. Visiting few different areas and as well getting something different form the areas I visit often. Getting sunrise, sunset and night pictures. This one of Peyto Lake was several weeks back, when I took this picture of the sunset and hanged out afterward to get a night picture. 

Peyto Lake


It's late October and the bears have started to go to sleep for the winter months. It starts with the young bears and  the mothers with the cubs and in the end will be the big males. The last one normally will go off to sleep early December.

Grizzly 171023f Amar Athwal.jpg

Cascade Mtn

During the falls the larch trees seem to get all the attention when it comes to fall colours in the mountains. There are other trees and shrubs that add to the colours during the fall, one of those are the trembling aspen trees. Normally aspen propagates through root sprouts, which can create a very large clonal colonies with a single root system. By mass a aspen colony is considered to be the largest organism on earth. Each colony is its own clone, all the trees in a clone will have similar characteristics, for example producing a wonderful bright tone of yellow at the same time with the occasional red colour showing up.

Cascade Mtn

Mule Deer

Snow falls and snow melts, until cooler temperature stays, the snow will not stick around the valley's bottom. These two fawns were still finding something good to eat, from the grass to the leaves on the shrubs. 

Mule Deer 171014f Amar Athwal.jpg

Giant Steps

It was good to get back to the back of Paradise Valley to go see and take pictures of the Giant Steps. I was there before the sunlight touched the area, to take long exposures. For next year, the plan is to get there during the early summer snowmelt, the falls would be great with even more water making its way down.

Giant Steps 171014 Amar Athwal.jpg


It's not always a bad thing when the plans you had for your days off get changed at the last minute. In this case it was the location where the hike was going to take place. On the way to the alternative hike, a mother moose and two calves were spotted.  Most often a female moose will have one calf, but not uncommon for a cow to give birth to twins. For the cow there are big challenges trying to get one calf to survive through its first year, with twins even harder. Finding food is not the problem, but dealing with harsh winter and predators is. Moose populations and nutrition play a role if a cow will have twins. With better  foraging area and lesser moose population, the chances are increased birth will be given to twins. On the day the picture was taken, the twins were busy eating and staying close to their ever protective mom.

Moose 171013 Amar Athwal.jpg

Mount Rundle

It snowed yesterday and last night, this morning with the sunrise the place looked like a postcard. While making my way to work, I saw the beautiful light toward Mount Rundle, I quickly got my camera out and started to take pictures. After this picture from top of the Bow Bridge, it was time to look for other opportunities.

Mount Rundle

Crowfoot Glacier

The first time I saw Crowfoot Glacier was over twenty years ago, since them it has lost some of its mass. The summer we have gone past was one of the warmest, many glacier are bit smaller. They have shrunk from the area they once covered and reduced in height. I still enjoy looking at it when I come across it, but one day it will be gone.

Crowfoot Glacier 171010f Amar Athwal.jpg