Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 06/23/2014

Photo taken on June 22, 2014

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E of Calgary
Mallow family
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Scarlet Mallow
Malvastrum coccineum

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Brightening up the Badlands

Brightening up the Badlands
Yesterday, I was up at 4:00 a.m., to get ready for a long day trip east of Calgary, to Dinosaur Provincial Park. I had only ever once been there before, that I can remember, and it must have been 30+ years ago, so yesterday's bus trip was an absolute treat. 46 people went on this annual outing and when we arrived, we split into two groups. One half went on a mini bus tour in the morning to an area of the park that is kept closed to people in order to protect the landscape. The other half took this tour in the afternoon. The rest of the day, we could go on a walk along one of the trails in the park that are open to the public.

I was in the group that walked in the morning. We went on the Cottonwoods Trail, that eventually led to the river - a long walk that was much further than I expected! We saw very few birds, the main one being a Yellow Warbler that had its beak full of soft, white "down" from a Cottonwood tree. When we were almost back at the starting point, a Nighthawk was spotted lying on a very high branch. Well done, Shirley, for spotting this bird that was very difficult to see! A real thrill for me, as I had always wanted to see a perched Nighthawk! I saw three of them flying over the Bow River and over our heads in Bow Valley Provincial Park just a few years ago, but no chance for a photo. While back at the parking lot, we had a few minutes to "explore" and I was so happy to spot this little Scarlet Mallow plant just a few feet away. We had great weather, which was very lucky, as we had had rain for quite a few days before. When wet, the Bentonite clay becomes treacherously slippery, so we did not have to experience that, though in a few places we could feel our feet slipping.

Our mini bus tour in one of the Park's buses in the afternoon took us through some spectacular scenery. Will be posting a few different views in the next little while.

I got back home around 6:30 p.m., barely able to move an inch, but it was definitely worth it. Thanks so much, Lynn, for organizing such an enjoyable trip to this fascinating area! A lot of work goes into organizing an event like this and it was much appreciated! Thanks, too, to friends Val and Wendy who took turns to sit with me for the long 2 1/2 hour journey out there and back! Great to catch up with both of you!

Overslept till around 11:30 a.m. this morning, which is why I'm posting so late, around noon.

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