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nesting box
Anne Elliott
Tree Swallow
Tachycineta bicolor
NW of Calgary
orange metal can
taken 5 July 2014

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Some like wood, others like metal

Some like wood, others like metal
I'm never sure exactly what these poles, with an orange "can" on top, are used for, but they can be seen along so many backroads. I wonder what the diameter of the holes is (the other is directly opposite the small hole you can see) and if it was deliberately decided on for certain birds to be able to use as nest "boxes". Lots of Tree Swallows, like this pair, seem to like them.

At the last minute, I decided I would have to get out of the house on 5 July 2014. I just couldn't take being in an "oven" any more. Not complaining about the hot, sunny weather we are having at the moment, but my house turns into an oven and then tends to stay that way for many days or weeks afterwards. I had planned on leaving the house earlier than I did (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 (deep pink, yellow, green and peach colours) 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 judging by the enormous size of its ears, maybe it was a Mule Deer - and this pair of Tree Swallow that was perched on a bright orange nesting "box". I wonder who chose the colour of the box this year; he or his mate, lol. Nearby, there were several 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 wildflowers, one butterfly did return, so I was able to get a few shots.

Deciding to return to Highway 1a the same way as I came, I passed a couple of 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. When I reached the road 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 went out the window.

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 washrooms in the parking lot - the first ones 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), 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 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 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. Would love to get in my car and go out again today, but I have things to get done and I don't want to overdo the driving, in case I make my shoulders any worse.

 Cats 99
Cats 99
It's my understanding that those orange boxes are meant to be nesting boxes. We have them around here. Some get vandalized, but I have to say I can't recall ever seeing a bird actually using one. It's cool that these Tree Swallows were using this one.
5 years ago.

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