Posts Tagged "spring"

Nature in the City – Saskatoons are in bloom this week

Posted by on 25. May 2013 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Nature in the City – Saskatoons are in bloom this week

Nature in the City – Saskatoons are in bloom this week

Saskatoon trees are in bloom this week. The name of this tree (well, more of a shrub) derives from the Cree noun ‘misâskwatômina’. The city of Saskatoon is named after the berry. Have you ever tried the Saskatoon berry pie? Delicious.     I took a few images you see here as part of the NatureCity Festival that starts today. Over 40 organizations are taking part in setting up nature-related events. The NatureCity Festival is one week of free family fun that takes place in neighbourhoods across the city of Saskatoon. It is the inaugural event of Wild about Saskatoon, a group of nature lovers who aim to connect nature and culture in the city of Saskatoon. The willow tree was photographed at the University of Saskatchewan campus. I love the stiking contrast of bright green leaves that emerge at this time of the year, against the clear blue sky.  The cloud came as a bonus. My favourite tree is one in front of the Kirk Hall – it has a perfectly round dome.     The Great Horned Own on nest was photographed at a friend’s place near Pike Lake. He set up a solid metal box that serves as an artificial nest. A pair of owls had been using it continuously over the last few years....

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Nature in the City – spring has arrived to Saskatoon

Posted by on 17. May 2013 in Blog / Journal, Photography | 1 comment

Nature in the City – spring has arrived to Saskatoon

After a few days of unseasonably warm weather, signs of spring are everywhere: robins are busy looking for earthworms in my backyard and the elm trees in front of my house are slowly releasing new leaves. I went for a walk along the South Saskatchewan River and managed to photograph prairie crocuses at Petturson’s Ravine. It is so strange to be able to still see them in May. A very late season this year. Here are a few images from the project to photograph elements of Urban Nature for a series of lectures that I will be presenting during the NatureCity Festival (May 25 – 31, 2013). Check out the schedule – there is something for...

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Nature in the City – birds along the edge of ice

Posted by on 30. April 2013 in Blog / Journal, Photography | Comments Off on Nature in the City – birds along the edge of ice

Nature in the City – birds along the edge of ice

I can not believe that we have had winter conditions in Saskatoon for over 6 months. This is the longest period of continuous snow cover that I can remember. Finally, we experienced a day or two of warm weather last week and the ice cover on South Saskatchewan River started to rapidly melt away. I decided to walk along the river bank and try to photograph birds that started to congregate along the ice edge. My goal was to capture interesting patterns including birds at the edge of flowing river and ice. This is not my usual photography taken at the edge of daylight  – sunrise & sunsets. Rather, the edge here is a physical interface between two forms of water. Here are a few images from last week; they were taken in preparation for a series of public presentations that I will be giving during the NatureCity Festival at the end of May of this year.     I was intrigued by the large flock of gulls resting and preening on the ice and took several photographs with a 400 mm lens and later combined them into a panorama composite image. One crop from those large panorama shots is shown below.   I am glad that I did get out as the river ice completely melted away by Thursday, April 25th. For people who keep an eye on freeze / thaw dates of lakes and rivers (like participants in the IceWatch program), the South Saskatchewan River thaws a bit earlier along the section that flows through the city. This un-natural phenomenon occurs  thanks to the incredibly wasteful habit of cooling the Saskatoon Power Plant with water drawn from the river (instead of using that energy to heat...

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Solitary Canada Goose at Wanuskewin

Posted by on 28. December 2012 in Wanuskewin Park | Comments Off on Solitary Canada Goose at Wanuskewin

Solitary Canada Goose at Wanuskewin

Solitary Canada Goose on the banks of Opimihaw Creek. Canada Geese nest in the vicinity of Wanuskewin and can be seen almost all year round (except in the middle of winter when any open water and South Saskatchewan River are frozen solid) . I photographed this goose in early May along the Opimihaw creek running through the park. Vegetation was still brown and I like how brown shoots of grass frame the bird. Back to the Wanuskewin Heritage Park photo gallery....

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Bison viewing in Grasslands National Park

Posted by on 15. June 2012 in Blog / Journal, Grasslands National Park | Comments Off on Bison viewing in Grasslands National Park

Bison viewing in Grasslands National Park

This post is coming with a slight delay – I have been quite busy preparing for the photography trip to Iceland. In mid May I went to the Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan. After a week of rain, the vegetation was starting to look really green. There was so much moisture in the air that a thick layer of fog cloaked the Frenchman River Valley and provided some great photography opportunities. My buddy Larry captured me in action one morning, a tiny person in a vast open prairie. In addition to new moisture, sloughs and dugouts were quite full of water remaining from last year. The prairie in the Park looked quite soaked and ready for the new growing season. If we get a prolonged period of warm weather, the flowers could be very nice this year. I plan to visit the park again in late June, to photograph early summer flowers and blooming cacti. One change I noticed in the park is the more frequent occurrence of plains bison along the main Ecotour road in the West Block. Parks Canada brought a small herd of bison to the West Block in December of 2005. Sixty calves and 11 yearlings were brought in from the Elk Island National Park in Alberta. The bison were kept in enclosure and fed to help them get used to the new home, and then released into the Park in May of 2006. The herd quickly adapted to the new environment and produced several calves the first year. The number of bison steadily increased to 116 in 2018, 190 in 2010, with the estimated herd size for the end of this year of around 325 animals. The bison herd in the Grasslands National Park is large enough that park biologists expect to see the herd break into smaller groups. This might increase a chance for visitors to see the animals in a larger area of the West Block. I did see two small groups during my short stay in the Park. To control the spread of invasive plant species, Park managers have burnt several areas along the Ecotour road. The bison took advantage of the fresh grass regrowth, and could be seen frequently grazing in those spot. We spotted the first group near the black-tailed prairie dog colony closest to the north entrance to the West Block. This group was rather far and I need to use a long telephoto lens to capture a usable image. We saw the second group near the old Belza farmstead (right next to the new monstrous campground being build the park). Several males were grazing right next to the road and we had a chance to enjoy observing and photographing them. As an added bonus, we saw a coyote walk right behind the animals, respectfully keeping a safe distance. If you have a chance to visit the Grasslands National Park this year, I would recommend that you come in early summer. You might be rewarded with a sight of blooming prairie wildflowers and photograph wild prairie bison in a natural setting. Be especially careful during the rutting season (from mid July to mid August) when bulls are more aggressive and unpredictable in behaviour. Check at the Visitor Information Centre in Val Marie for the most current information about the bison location in the...

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