Paul has been able to camera capture this amazing bird’s capture of its own! “Here are a few shots I took while out & about fishing in Edmonton on the North Saskatchewan River. This Pelican would wait to catch a fish and then swallow and eat it right away.” Spectacular! In photo number one we see how the Pelican has scooped the fish into its pouch. Second photo is a great illustration of the function of the Pelican’s bill tip – and how the fish has been virtually ’stabbed’ so it doesn’t get away. And finally – the taste test. Head has been tilted back and dinner swallowed whole.
DID YOU KNOW? White Pelicans love our lakes and fresh water rivers and all the great fishing they provide because these astounding birds have voraceous appetites! An adult pelican can consume up to 2 kg of food each day. Favorite menu items are perch, northern pike and lake whitefish, but they won’t refuse a tasty salamander or frog. Pelicans leave Alberta before freeze-up in late September and migrate to warmer coastal areas like the Gulf of Mexico and Florida where they spend the winter.
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Me thinks the 2 folks above have found their happy place – as have the people in the photo below. That would be George and Danica. “The Mrs. and I were alone. No dogs, no kids, no inlaws - just us and a squirrel. Weather was warm & humid, water was clean & cool. It was our first time there and the campground was clean, neighbors polite .. except the squirrel.”
DID YOU KNOW? This big beautiful lake is just minutes south of the equally gorgeous Lac La Biche. Those who throw their line into Beaver’s waters – which are 33 square miles – can land: Burbot, Perch, Pike, Walleye, Trout or Whitefish. If you would like to know more about the area you will be interested in an incredible interview given by a man named Sam Bugle. He is former chief of Beaver Lake Reserve and spoke about the history of the area including how raiders passed through during the time of the Riel Rebellion. Bugle says the rebellion in their language was called: Ka-mi-yak-kum-kak. Click below for the transcritpt: http://ourspace.uregina.ca/bitstream/10294/2003/1/IH-170.pdf
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Wow – talk about up close and personal! This is Joyce’s keen eye as well as a moment of kindness from Red Deer: “This little dragonfly took refuge on my covered deck while we were having a good windstorm a couple of weeks ago. I picked it up off the floor and settled it on a plant. It stayed there until the storm was over .. and then away it went!”
DID YOU KNOW? Get a load of this guy’s eyes! It has what are called compound eyes, and as we can see are huge compared to the size of its head. If you were a dragonfly, your eyes would be the size of a football helmet! And the wings are a marvel in themselves. Each of a Dragonfly’s wings operates independently, giving them incredible maneuverability. They can fly forward, backward and turn almost instantly while hovering and accelerate to full speed in a split second. Guess that’s why they are some of the fastest insects in the world.
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Here’s a photo that’s been passed from family member to family member and finally on to me. Landon emailed this to his aunt Simone who knew that we of the Fresh Air Photo Nation needed to see it. Landon writes: “I was in Sherwood Park and couldn’t believe the haze from the fires. This was the evening of Friday the 13th at about 9:30.” Other than Landon, the beautiful community of Sherwood Park is home to more than 60 thousand happy people who see the North Saskatchewan River meander through their county.
DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that the North Saskatchewan River originates from glacial run-off from the Columbia Icefields? ”She” also has an incredible history! About 12 thousand years ago there was a glacial lake that drained away leaving rock, sediments and what is now the North Saskatchewan River. It began to carve a valley, and as it moved deposited sand and gravel. Over the last 8,500 years, the river stayed at the same elevation but eroded into the valley sides. The level ground is ideal for parks, trails, golf courses and houses but as we know is prone to flooding. For more on the incredible life of the North Saskatchewan River, click here: http://www.rivervalley.ab.ca/river-valley-factoids/
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What an amazing five days. As we have done every summer for the past few years, my pals Mike, Tim, Brent and I set off last week on an ambitious hiking adventure into unfamiliar territory. This time around, we took on the Sawback Range Circuit just off the Bow Valley Parkway.
From reaching the highest trail-accessible point in Banff National Park to battling some of the nastiest conditions Mother Nature could muster up, it was a memorable 73 kilometre march through some truly wild terrain. Click on the video link below for a peek at a few of the photos I snapped along the way.
We’re already tossing around ideas for next summer’s big getaway. Any suggestions?
Shane doesn’t mind sharing a moment that takes him “back in time”. “I took this in early June at Alberta Beach. I was on a quest that day to photograph what I had lost - someone who was very important to me. He and his 2 daughters lost their lives two years ago near Edmonton. Turns out he used to take his children to these swings all the time. Brought back a lot of great memories.”
DID YOU KNOW? Seeing these swings brings back memories for me too. We are told that we are never too old to swing. Not only is it fun, but it’s good exercise. For every hour you can burn 200 calories. Try this: As you sit on the swing, instead of pushing off with your legs, bend your knees and draw them into your chest. Do this a few times and you will start to feel your abdominal muscles working. You can also sit on the swing and do scissors with your legs, use the chains to do pull-ups, even put your feet on the swing with your hands on the ground and do push-ups. OR - you can just put your head back, feel the wind in your hair and swing!
SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS IS GOOD FOR YOU “AND” FOR US! WE OF THE FRESH AIR PHOTO NATION ARE WAITING FOR YOUR KODAK MOMENT – RIGHT NOW!
This photo brings back so many wonderful memories for Ruth. “This is the sun setting on Lac St. Anne as seen from our cottage at Alberta Beach… our kids grew up enjoying this view and are better for it.” Ruth tells me she has 8 children: “For awhile we were 3 and 3 and then I had twin girls!”
DID YOU KNOW? As far back as 1889 it has been recorded that Lac Ste. Anne has healing waters. People proclaim to have been cured from general malaise to tuberculosis, gout, even paralysis. More than 40,000 people now attend the annual pilgrimage during the last week of July in the largest ‘annual’ First Nations gathering in North America. In fact, in 2004 the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage was declared a National Historic Site of Canada for its social and cultural importance. Lac Ste. Anne was first called Wakamne, or God’s Lake by the Nakota Sioux, and Manitou Sakhahigan (Lake of the Spirit) by the Cree first nations before the arrival of the settlers.
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Rick shares a sighting from his hometown of Tuktoyaktuk on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. “Check out the Caribou mother and baby – not far from the centre of town”. It’s fitting that we are looking at caribou in Tuk, because Tuktoyaktuk is the anglicized form of the native Inuvialuit place-name, meaning “resembling a caribou.” According to legend, a woman looked on as some caribou waded into the water and turned into stone, or became petrified. Today, reefs resembling these petrified caribou are said to be visible at low tide along the shore of the town. You might be wondering why that female has antlers: Pregnant females keep their antlers until shortly after their babies are born in the spring. Keeping the antlers during winter helps them compete for food, which they need more of to nourish their unborn babies.
DID YOU KNOW? Caribou – peaceful vegetarians – are primarily animals of the north. Up in that part of our incredible country is the Porcupine herd which ranges between the Arctic coast of Yukon and Alaska. Some groups of caribou are called herds, and others are referred to as populations. The difference is that some groups migrate to areas where the caribou give birth. These calving areas give the name to the herd. So, for instance, the Porcupine herd ‘calves’ in the area of Porcupine River, Yukon. The caribou that do not appear to migrate for calving are simply referred to as populations, such as the Victoria Island population. Some migrating caribou walk more than 4,400 kilometres in a year between calving grounds and trying to find food.
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