Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/12/2015

Photo taken on April 11, 2015

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in pretty good condition
Frank Lake and area
SE of Calgary
old barn
extremely windy

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Strong winds on the prairies

Strong winds on the prairies
I had a great day yesterday, 11 April 2015, when a group of maybe 13 or 14 of us decided to meet in High River at 9:00 am, about half an hour's drive SE from the southern edge of Calgary.

The first thing we did was go to see the heronry (or rookery) there. Quite a few years ago, I did get to see it on a couple of birding trips. Now, you have to view it from a main road and look to the far side of a huge field. You can see several large nests built high in maybe three trees that were touching each other and some of them had a Heron standing in the nest. You really need a scope in order to see much.

"Most herons likely change nests each year, and often change colonies year to year as well. Adult herons are known to return to nest in the same colony they were born in. The pair works together to fix up existing nests or build new ones, and continues improving and maintaining their nest through the season.

Nests can be 1m in diameter and 0.5 m deep. They are a large collection of twigs and often contain a small cup at the center lined with soft materials such as moss, lichens, or leaves to hold the eggs and young chicks. The male goes to gather sticks which he brings to the female to weave into the nest. Nest building may be completed within a day or take several weeks. Sometimes the pair selects an existing nest or starts a new one from scratch."

After the heronry, we visited a couple of Great Horned Owl locations - Mom with three owlets were in one of the nests. At Frank Lake, we took some time viewing the lake from the bird blind/hide. Not a whole lot of birds have returned to Calgary and surroundings yet, plus the wind was so strong yesterday that the lake water was really choppy.

From the lake, we returned to High River around noon and enjoyed a coffee and a chat at Tim Horton's. I couldn't resist the temptation to drive a few backroads on my way home, just around the Blackie area, eventually arriving back home about 5:00 pm. Photographed a handful of old barns including this one, as there was quite a build-up of storm clouds. So many of my barn photos have such uninspiring skies, so these clouds were much appreciated. Not only was it very difficult to hold my camera steady the whole day, but it was also difficult to open the car door in such strong winds. Today, my hands and arms are painful and very weak from having to grip the steering wheel for hours, trying to stay on the road. This whole area does tend to often be very windy. Despite the wind, it was a great day, and hopefully we can all get together like this again.