Blossoming Trees

Spring seemed to take its time arriving but now everything is bursting out all over. The leaves are out and starting to lose that fresh spring green as they mature and the blossoms on the trees are at their finest. I took the time to try to capture some images, which was a bit challenging because it was a little breezy outside, but worth the effort  as it is so pretty outdoors.

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Flowering Crab Apple

 

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A bit of yellow from the Caragana or Peashrub tree- try finding a yellow warbler in that!

 

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 A branch in Isolation
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The fruit is still on the limbs from last year
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Pink Beauties
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A view of the trees
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Some of you know I have my favourite tree but people were picnicking underneath and even had a hammock attached so I took an image of a small section of it.
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A group of blossoming trees, one of many groups in the park.

 

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A Big Dose of Cute-ness

Saw my first sighting of newly hatched Goslings today, five of them surrounded by a few pair of Geese guarding them and keeping a watchful eye on intruders. Grateful for my longer lens, I got close enough for some very cute photos of these hatchlings.

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Guarding the young is a group effort
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Pretty young maybe a week old?
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Staying together
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Five goslings in total

 

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So Cute!

 

 

Another New Visitor-American Coot

While visiting this lake in the south side of the city, I found another visitor, an American coot. I love their red eyes and they can fold their wings and rear feathers into a oval shape at their hind end when they are displaying, quite beautiful to see with white feathers around  the edges . Otherwise they are somewhat plain but can provide a lot of entertainment with their young and are ferocious defenders of their territory. To my knowledge, there is only one, which was standing on a tree limb, preening itself.

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The Red Eyes of the Coot
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Preening its Feathers
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Busy enough to let me get Closer
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Stopping for a Pose

 

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from another year with a Chick

 

 

A Pair of Red-Necked Grebes

It is interesting to see a pair of grebes at this city lake where I don’t usually see them. Since they are a pair, perhaps they will stay. The neighbours of the feathered variety may not be too appreciative of their presence, will wait and see who wins the territorial battles.

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Guarding their area, they need a lot of space
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Calling to each other in their Courtship display
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Swimming Together
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Heads held High
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More Courting

 

Ben Calf Robe Pow Wow – 37th Year

Saturday was the occasion of the 37th Ben Calf Robe Annual Traditional Pow Wow.

After noting the high drop-out rate from high school for Indigenous youth, the Ben Calf Robe society, named after  a respected Blackfoot elder, was started in 1980, working with the Catholic School Association in Edmonton to support  indigenous youth between 16-24 years of age in education and culture. The society supports many organizations from group home to counselling services.

The organization, whose motto reads: Our children are sacred: our work strives to protect and enhance this sacredness by providing children and their families with holistic education, supportive social services and programs of high quality and cultural relevance, offers several important programs and initiatives to help support children, women and families.

Saturday night was the 37th annual Ben Calf Robe Pow Wow. Rhythmic beating of drums, singing,  beautiful regalia,  sound of bells, jingles and eagle whistles was mesmerizing. I saw friends from my recent course and fellow members of the camera club who come to take photos every year. The light is challenging as well as the background but I had a good time and even joined in on one of the inter-tribal dances. I must do some research to brush up my memory on the  dances and regalia.

This Pow Wow took place on the traditional land of Treaty 6 Territory. It was a gathering of family and friends, an evening filled with good energy.

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Grand Entry in the evening
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Dancers in the Grand Entry

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Women’s Traditional
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Women’s Traditional
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Jingle Dancers

 

Images of Birds and Signs of Early Spring

I decided it was time to try a new theme, and liked one and even chose it, but one option was not available and that was the header. I missed it, so tried this new theme. It is easy for me to read because I am developing cataracts and need the high contrast. It is also a good choice for displaying photography. Feel free to let me know what you think.

The following images are a random selection from last weekend when I ventured out to two different sites, celebrating the arrivals of  migrating birds and the commencement of Spring. Enjoy!

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Pair of Mallard Ducks
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Budding
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Courtship of Red-Necked Grebes
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Male Red-winged Blackbird
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Male Mallards
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Shimmering Common Grackle
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Sunning Female Mallard
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Canada Goose
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Trio of Canada Geese
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Early Spring by the Lake
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Female Lesser Scaup
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Pair of Lesser Scaups

 

American Widgeons

These ducks are described as having a voice that sounds like a rubber ducky. That is how I knew they had arrived at this city pond , before I actually saw them. Hunters call them “bald pates”. Here are a few of my most recent images, ha ha, with them preening and facing away from me, followed by one older image…

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Goldeneye Ducks

After some exchanges with some fellow bloggers, I need to correct my observations. The Male Goldeneye does indeed do a great display and is zealous in chasing off competition, especially after finding a mate, but does not help in incubation of the young nor in their raising. He is basically out of the picture, wooing young ladies again, I think, but I will record this with images over the coming season.

Presently the Male Goldeneye is very territorial, chasing off any other ducks that come too close to his chosen mate or the nest. Lots of action on the pond right now. Some of these chase scenes are very poor photos but my purpose is to share the behaviour, with more good photos being my aim.

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Chasing off other Ducks
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Speeding after other competition
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Mission accomplished

 

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Both Male and Female do bobbing and head-stretches

 

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Displaying to His Mate
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She has her tail up , a sign that she has accepted him

 

 

 

Watch Where You Walk

When I write “Watch where you Walk”, I could be talking about goose poop, because the amount is piling up but I am referring to being careful about getting in the middle of an argument. There are constant skirmishes between  Canada Geese fighting over territory at this time of year as they prepare for prime nesting sites.

I walked between two trees and had just come out in the open to get  close to the water and heard honking and hissing and realized I had inadvertently walked into the middle of a quickly-accelerating  altercation.  I made eye contact with one briefly but  saw this  agitated gander  was focused on another gander and I backed off in a hurry. The two charged each other and I could hear the impact of their breasts thumping as they connected in mid-air.

I was not the target but do not recommend  coming between two who are having an argument. Once I was safely out of the way, I managed to capture a few shots that show this altercation that consisted of charging, biting and loud honking in order to chase off the offender who had crossed boundaries.

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Out of My Territory!
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I mean business!
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Going for the neck
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On the attack
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Look at that wingspan!

The defeated gander will come back again, but perhaps stay a little further away, but these skirmishes happen over and over. Please keep your children close to you and do not try to feed or pet the geese, especially at this time of year.