Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 07/27/2014


Photo taken on July 14, 2014


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Keywords

nature
on road
SW of Calgary
Ruffed Grouse
Bonasa umbellus
Alberta
Canada
ornithology
adult
bird
mother
female
birds
waiting for babies to cross road


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Mama Ruffed Grouse

Mama Ruffed Grouse
On 16 July 2014, it was another hot day, and my computer room became unbearably uncomfortable. That meant only one thing - I would have to drive around in my car for some air-conditioning. Spent about four hours cruising the backroads SW of the city, not seeing a whole lot. Went as far as Brown-Lowery Provincial Park, with the intention of doing just a very short walk into the forest. Didn't get that far, though, as there were things to photograph around the edge of the tiny parking lot and just part way along the path that leads to the two short boardwalks.

The first thing I saw and heard was a Tennessee Warbler and when I reached it, discovered that there were now several young ones, too. Talk about friendly little birds - not sure that they didn't think I was going to feed them. Interesting to see birds that acted rather like the Black-capped Chickadees - just as fast-moving, too, making it difficult to get even a half-decent photo.

The next thing that welcomed me to the park was a beautiful, bright orange Western Wood Lily. They always almost glow amongst all the greenery. A few other plants that I photographed included Sticky Purple Geranium and Richardson's Geranium, Purple Avens, One-flowered WIntergreen, One-sided Wintergreen, Pink Pyrola, Twin Flower, Creamy Peavine, Bishop's Cap (already in seed), and Round-leaved Orchid.

On the way home from Brown-Lowery, I saw a couple of fun things. One was a Wilson's Snipe on a wooden post to which was attached a Bluebird/Tree Swallow nesting box. I've never seen one by a nesting box before. The other thing I saw was this Ruffed Grouse female walking along the side of the main road. Didn't realize what it was until I had driven past it. Did a quick U-turn and, rounding a bend, saw not just the adult standing on the road, but also a young one. I pulled over to the edge of the road and very slowly walked a little closer - then I noticed about four other youngsters in the grass. Mom walked very slowly to the middle of the road and one brave little soul took a few very hesitant steps towards her. It wasn't quite sure that it liked being that far out in the open, so started to return to its siblings. This was repeated a few times, with me becoming more anxious that a car was bound to come racing down the road at any minute. Another of the babies tried to take a few brave steps - which is when a vehicle appeared. With Mom and two of her babies (seen in the photo in a comment box below) on the road, where they'd been for maybe 10 minutes, I just had to signal to the driver, who slowed down, waited a moment, and then got out of her car and loudly clapped her hands. Off they all flew, into the long grass. I suspect she was a country girl - and not a photographer, lol! If only she had scared them off to the side of the road that they had been trying to get to! And so ended my fun experience ..... and I returned to my house, that felt like walking into an oven.

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