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Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
southern Alberta
front/side view
Callospermophilus lateralis
near Canada-US border
Spermophilus lateralis
Cameron Falls
© Anne Elliott 2017
8 July 2017
chipmunk-like stripes but no facial stripes
Waterton Lakes National Park
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
wild animal

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Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
This little Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel was seen on our second day in Waterton, when we stopped at Cameron Falls on the edge of town. The cooling mist that came from the waterfalls felt so good! As usual, this little animal was doing what these cute animals tend to do - approach people, look cute, and beg for food! I saw a number of empty sunflower seed shells scattered on the ground. Of course, WILDLIFE SHOULD NEVER BE FED!! However, I hope the children feeding this little animal will develop a love for wildlife and grow up to help protect any kind of creature.

Late afternoon on 9 July 2017, I arrived back home from a wonderful three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park. I had just been on a one-day bus trip to this beautiful park on 24 June 2017, so felt very lucky to be returning for a longer stay so soon. I travelled there and back with friend, Darlene, who had very kindly offered to take me, and we had a fun time, seeing so many interesting things. Thank you SO much, Darlene - I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciated being able to go on this trip with you!

It was wonderful to again be surrounded by such magnificent scenery, go on a few walks/hikes with plenty of time to look for, and photograph, wildflowers, insects, and a few birds and animals. Lots of good company with around 20 (?) people, some of whom I already knew and lots of new faces, too. The trip was organized by Nature Calgary. Everyone was free to go wherever they wanted each day, but for the two nights, we stayed at the very basic but adequate Canyon Church Camp, off the Red Rock Parkway. Dorm-style cabins (about which I will say nothing, lol!), but they do have showers and even flush toilets at the camp. We were fed SO well - lots of variety and good food. We were given two breakfasts and two suppers, plus a packed lunch for the two days. Our huge thanks go out to Jean Kennedy, the camp cook, who cooked and prepared these great meals for us! Jean was there in 2015 and 2016, when I attended this weekend, and it was really good news when I was told that she would be there again this time. The food was so much enjoyed and greatly appreciated!

On the second day, Darlene decided to go on a long day hike to Bertha Lake with a few of the group, which I knew would be far too much for me. Car space was very limited for other locations, so I was beginning to think I would have to stay at the camp all day - with no walks around the camp grounds, seeing as a few if us had seen a Black Bear in the camp the previous evening! As it turned out, I was able to get a ride with Caroline, for which I was extremely grateful, and we went with another couple in a separate vehicle, to Cameron Lake. There, we went on the forest trail along the edge of the lake, as far as one is able to go. This trail is a favourite of mine, especially as it is level, not uphill. A few birds and lots of wildflowers to see and photograph, including a Stellar's Jay that was seen in the parking lot when we first arrived. I think I have only ever seen a Stellar's Jay twice before. A neat bird to see along the forest trail was a Fox Sparrow. More Bear Grass along this trail, so of course I couldn't resist taking a few more photos.

After this hike, we stopped at a small picnic area along the main parkway, where we managed to find a table in the shade. There, we saw something that I had never seen before - on the distant mountain slope, there were thousands of Bear Grass, giving an interesting texture. I will post a photo of this sometime.

After our lunch, we went into town and visited the Cameron Falls, where this photo was taken. From there, we drove to Red Rock Canyon. It was packed with people and there were so many of them sitting or climbing on the beautiful red rocks along the creek. Made taking a few decent scenic shots impossible, unless one zoomed in on a particular spot. It was SO hot, and once we had taken a few photos, we left and made our way back to the camp by late afternoon.

After supper, Andrew, organizer of our weekend, took everyone to the Maskinonge area, where we were lucky to see a group of several Swans, two extremely distant Sandhill Cranes, and a couple of very distant Loons. There was also a small group of deer down at the water's edge on the far side of the lake. All ridiculously distant photos, but I may add some of them later just for the record.

From Maskinonge Lake, we all drove a short distance to the Bison Paddock, where we saw a group of about six Bison, including two little ones, and nearby a massive male standing alone. The rest of our group were ahead of Darlene and I and they reached the main road quickly. By the time Darlene and I reached the intersection, there was no car in sight. Should we turn left or right? I remembered in a previous year going all the way up the Chief Mountain Parkway to watch the sun set over the mountains, so this is where we drove, as far as the border crossing into the US. Not a single other car to be seen! We found out later that the rest of the group had gone elsewhere, so all Darlene's driving was in vain - and I felt really bad!

Three days of 32C temperatures, and then I arrived home to find that my thermostat read 29C inside my home. I am not good at dealing with the heat and then to walk and hike in such temperatures was exhausting. Back in Calgary, we had already been having a heatwave, but we have had rain and it temporarily cooled down the last couple of days, thank goodness. Today, 13 July, we are back to high temperatures again.

Our huge thanks to Andrew for organizing this trip so brilliantly! He has been organizing these annual weekends for a number of years now. A great time was had by all.

Rymie Jolie, slgwv, Tractacus, Claudine Gaulier-Denis and 3 other people have particularly liked this photo

8 comments - The latest ones
 Pam J
Pam J club
Love the photo and what a super trip !
2 years ago.
Anne Elliott club has replied to Pam J club
Thanks so much, Pam!
2 years ago.
 Pam J
Pam J club

Admired in ~ I ❤ Nature
2 years ago.
 Marie-claire Gallet
Marie-claire Gallet club
AWWWWW, such a cutie !!! ADORABLE **********************
2 years ago.
 Claudine Gaulier-Denis
Claudine Gaulier-Den… club
2 years ago.
 Ken Dies
Ken Dies club
Lovely photo. These squirrels are so neat to see in our mountain parks.
2 years ago.
slgwv club
One of the most common rodents in western North America!
2 years ago.
 Peggy C
Peggy C club
Enjoyed in EXPLORE ....
2 years ago. Edited 2 years ago.

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