Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/17/2016

Photo taken on August 13, 2016

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Im Wald - At forest Im Wald - At forest


Anne Elliott
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past its prime
W of Calgary
Upper Kananaskis Lake
Sarrail Falls Trail
© Anne Elliott 2016
Canadian Rockies
Rocky Mountains
13 August 2016

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Treasures of the forest floor

Treasures of the forest floor
Wow, it's noon and there are only 10 new photos on My Contacts page.

A few evenings ago, on 12 August 2016, friend Dorothy phoned and asked if I'd like to go with them to Kananaskis for the day. A last minute decision - and of course I said yes! What a great day we had in the mountains, with perfect weather and so many mushrooms to keep all three of us happy.

When I think how many endless rainy days we have been having the last few weeks, we were so lucky that the sun shone, the temperature was pleasant, and a slight breeze kept comfort levels just right.

Our first brief stop was at a pond on the way to Bragg Creek, where a mutual friend had been seeing a Common Loon, but there was no sign of it when we were there. From there, once we eventually reached the mountains, we stopped at a large pond to check for birds and kept our eyes open for any mushrooms. The ground seemed too dry here, for any fungus to be growing. However, we were treated to wonderful views of a beautiful Osprey perched on top of a tall coniferous tree further down the path. It flew to a few different trees and then finally made the plunge for a fish, with success. What a splash it made! Once caught, it flew out of sight - maybe it had a nest somewhere with young ones to feed.

"Unique among North American raptors for its diet of live fish and ability to dive into water to catch them, Ospreys are common sights soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming. These large, rangy hawks do well around humans and have rebounded in numbers following the ban on the pesticide DDT. Hunting Ospreys are a picture of concentration, diving with feet outstretched and yellow eyes sighting straight along their talons." From AllAboutBirds.

Our next stop was further into the mountains and we found that the ground was damper and more conducive to the growth of mushrooms. I suspect that after all the rain we've had this summer, one could find mushrooms growing anywhere now. We were certainly lucky at this location, finding various species. One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing one of my favourite fungi, Strawberries and Cream fungus / Hydnellum peckii - the one that produces small, ruby red droplets on the surface. The individuals we saw were not hugely photogenic, but wonderful to see, both at this location and our next stop, at Kananaskis Lakes.

Lunch was eaten at a convenient picnic table right by a large creek after this first walk. While we were sitting there, a cute little Chipmunk (Least Chipmunk?) stopped long enough to take a quick peek at us through the tall grass blades. I suspect it thought it was well hidden.

After our lunch, we drove to Kananaskis Lakes and went for a most enjoyable hike - a very slow one, as there were mushrooms everywhere! We had been along this trail in previous years and had found a good variety of fungi. There were so many people on the trail! Good to see everyone out enjoying the good weather, fresh mountain air, and beautiful scenery. My friends returned to the same areas two days later and found about two-thirds less the number of mushrooms, so hopefully we will have more rain soon (and preferably at night!).

Thanks so much, Dorothy and Stephen, not just for this great day out, but for also helping to make my wait for my new car to arrive, easier! Greatly appreciated.