Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 07/10/2014

Photo taken on July  5, 2014


Wynchell Lake
Water Valley area
NW of Cochrane
NW of Calgary
Anne Elliott
hind wings

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A Swallowtail's tails

A Swallowtail's tails
Five days ago, on 5 July 2014, I decided at the last minute that I just couldn't take being in an "oven" any more. The hot, sunny weather we are having at the moment turns my house into an oven (no air-conditioning) and then tends to stay that way for many days or weeks afterwards. I left the house later than I had hoped (10;00 a.m.) and drove NW of the city and NW of Cochrane. Hadn't been that way for a long time and wanted to see if I could find an owl of some sort, especially a Great Gray Owl. No luck, and in fact it seemed like all wildlife was in hiding, except for four Deer.

My morning's finds included a patch of beautiful Indian Paintbrush flowers. Also a noisy little Wren that I saw when I pulled over to take a look down a hillside, to see if I could see the Red Fox that had just run across the road ahead of me - no luck. The next sightings were a lone Deer - forgot to check its tail, but it had enormous ears - and a Tree Swallow that was perched on its bright orange nesting "box". Nearby, there were several of these Swallowtail butterflies down in the mud along the edge of the road. Before I could get there, a car came along in the opposite direction and off flew every single one. By the time I had photographed a few nearby wildflowers, one butterfly did return, so I was able to get a few shots, including this macro of the two tails on its hind wings.

Deciding to return to Highway 1a the same way as I came, I passed two horses that always seem to be in the same place. I'm never sure about the health of these two, and they never seem "happy" animals, though maybe they are just getting very old. The white horse seemed to like resting its head against the rough bark of the tree they were standing under, or maybe it liked the smell of it. When I reached the road that I wanted to check out (including for a possible owl), I found that it had just been oiled ready for a new surface to be laid, so that plan had to be abandoned.

Wanting to stay away from my unpleasantly hot house for as long as possible, I came home via Bragg Creek and some of the backroads that I love, SW of the city. Brown-Lowery Provincial Park was my first stop - and it has the wonderful, added benefit of an outhouse in the parking lot - the first one I'd seen all day! I checked out the area near the parking lot and then went maybe a hundred feet into the forest. After checking for any fungi (none yet), I heard a very loud cracking of branches and eventually spotted a huge, very dark shape through the trees. From that angle, it looked horribly like a Bear, but when it lifted its head from feeding, I was so relieved to see that it was "only" a huge Moose! A young couple were coming along the trail towards me and I said they must have seen it even closer. My voice was heard by the animal and unfortunately it moved quickly away. I like to think that a Bear or Cougar would react in the same way, lol!

From Brown-Lowery, I passed my favourite little wetland and found the Wilson's Snipe standing, as usual, on a fence post. Sorry, everyone, you might just get fed up of Snipe photos - if you aren't already!

Got home around 6;00 p.m., feeling content that, even though the morning had been pretty disappointing, the day was a a good one.

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