Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 02/05/2014


Photo taken on December 15, 2013


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Gray Jay in winter

Gray Jay in winter
For those of you who visit my photostream regularly (thank you so much!), please just ignore the description below, that is a repeat of what I wrote under my previously posted Gray Jay photos from the same day! I usually do repeat descriptions, to jog my own memory : )

On 15 December 2013, friends Cathy and Terry and I drove out to Kananaskis and along the Smith-Dorrien-Spray Trail. They were really hoping to see Moose that day. For me, seeing anything from scenery to maybe a bird or two, is more than enough to keep me happy : ) The only birds we saw were a couple of Ravens and two (or was it three?) Gray Jays (seen in the photo above) and a beautiful male Spruce Grouse. We don't get Gray Jays in the city anymore - the last two I saw were down in Weaselhead, maybe five years ago. The Spruce Grouse was down on the road when we first saw it in the distance, eating gravel to help its digestive system. Wouldn't you know it, just at that moment, a vehicle came from the opposite direction around a corner, and the bird flew up into a tree and "hid" behind a tangle of branches. You know how that goes - any birder / photographer will have had many similar experiences. Was able to take photos, but nothing too brilliant. Just thrilled to see the Grouse, especially a male.

There was a lot of snow on the ground out there, though not on the trees. The road itself had been ploughed, which made driving easier. In one spot, the snow plough must have ploughed a little closer to the snowbank along the edge of the road and then drifting snow had been blown on top. Our front wheels started out in snow that was maybe an inch deep, but the deeper snow pulled the car closer and closer to the snowbank - and into the ditch we went!! We were only driving slowly, thank goodness. The snow came well up my side of the car and there was no way I could get out. Within just a matter of minutes, on this quiet mountain road where we had seen little traffic all day, several cars all came at once. Everyone stopped, discussed the situation, and within a very short time, one of them attached a rope and had us pulled out of the ditch. To say we were very thankful and grateful is an understatement! Can't thank all those people enough for rescuing us - it was later in the day and I knew that light would be fading, and I had visions of us having to spend a very cold night in the car! So, it felt wonderful to once again be on solid ground! For years, I have read about how dangerous this gravel road is, especially in bad weather, but I'd never pictured ending up in a snowbank and ditch, lol. Both Terry and Cathy are excellent drivers, so I always feel totally safe being driven by them - this was just one moment of bad luck. One that thankfully ended safely, so we were able to laugh about it afterwards. Thanks, guys, for a lovely day in beautiful scenery!

Reported by CBC News on 21 December 2013:

"December (2013) SNOWFALL in Calgary has broken a 112-year record according to the city. The City made the announcement in a tweet Saturday morning after weeks of on-and-off heavy snowfall left many residents complaining about the lack of snow removal in parts of Calgary.

"A total of 43.8 cm of snow has fallen in Calgary this month. We haven’t seen this much snow in 112 years!" tweeted the City."

www.flickr.com/photos/annkelliott/12325161474

Cats 99, LeapFrog, Gerda, Malik Raoulda have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Malik Raoulda
Malik Raoulda
Superb capture of extreme beauty ...
Thank you for all that information.
Vu au www.ipernity.com/doc/293827/30229183/in/group/214601
4 years ago.
Gerda
Gerda
A wonderful capture and sweet bird...the feather details are very clear and sharp.
4 years ago.
LeapFrog
LeapFrog
Haha ... a fantastic detailed shot of this one Anne ... beautiful colours and pronounce wing markings ... at least this one does not have to shovel snow ... my area got about 25 cm of snow with 60 cm drifts ... in about 1/2 hour, I will be back out for the 4th time to shovel last nights snowfall ... the roads were terrible as I had to be out yesterday for an appointment ... it took me about 1/2 hour to go a few kms which usually takes me about 10 minites ... the snow is granular thus very bad to drive in ... lucky it is cold enough that it is easy to shovel with my tiny red snow blower ... LOL
4 years ago.
Anne Elliott has replied to LeapFrog
Yay, Art, for your little red machine : ) Hope your snow has stopped by now. Also hope that all is well with your Swans.
4 years ago.
Cats 99
Cats 99
He is so cute! Considering that Gray Jays are supposedly common in our area, I do wish I could see one! :)
4 years ago.