Saturday, 7 July 2012

Beautiful British Columbia

Up early yesterday as we are driving to Banff National Park and then across the border into the Provence of British Columbia.  Entering the Park we take the Bow Valley Parkway a minor road where I photographed Wolf on my last visit.  There are signs up indicating Wolf activity but none this morning.  We did locate a magnificent Elk stag which quickly moved off into the forest. Further on feeding on the roadside we did encounter 2 Black Bears.

Black Bear
We then stopped off at Lake Louise village for a coffee and toilets and were greeted by our only Clark's Nutcracker of the day in the car park.

Clark's Nutcracker
We were now ready to press on to our destination Emerald Lake in BC.  It is only about thirty minutes drive from Lake Louise so we were soon there.  Our first task was to have a picnic lunch then some of my family decided to rent a canoe and discover this beautiful place.  I opted for walking.

Emerald Lake
I set off around the lake first of all noticing a single Common Loon (Great Northern Diver) which was all I could find on the water.  Further on an Osprey flew high over the forest and a pair of Chipping Sparrows were gathering nesting material on the path.  There were lots of swallows in the area and I picked out some Violet-Green Swallows amongst the Barn & Tree.  The forest and open areas were full of American Robins all busily collecting food for their young. I also caught a glimpse of a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

American Robin carrying food.
Returning back along the trail I heard a distant but persistant call reminiscent of a woodpecker.  At first I thought it was coming from the far side of the lake but then I realised it was from a tree between me and the near shore.  Moving about 3 metres off the path I discovered a hole in a tree where the racket was coming from.  Within minutes I was photographing a pair of American Three-toed Woodpeckers feeding young.  What a treat!

Male American Three-toed Woodpecker
After collecting everybody together we set off for the nearby small town of Field where we enjoyed supper at a pub called the Truffle Pig.  It was excellent.  Starting off for Calgary we had not gone far when we noticed at least 3 Mountain Goats on rocky cliffs right down by the road.  This is very unusual as they are usually white dots way up in the mountains.

Mountain Goat
Back now in Alberta we drove a little way up the Ice Parkway but no mammals.  We did see 3 Lesser Scaup and hear the electronic song of Varied Thrush.  We retraced our steps leaving the park but found nothing else and continued the long drive home in the dark watching the Calgary Stampede fireworks as we approached the city.  Another great wildlife day.

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