Green Spaces-A Godsend

I feel blessed to live close to a couple of green areas a block from where I live. I am close to the river valley and a large yard at a church, as well as a little park with an ornamental pond. It is known that green space in cities increases mental health. I can vouch for that.

The spacious yard where you are invited to come in and rest.
Immaculate gardens tended by volunteers make this a delight to visit.
A perfect place for weekly evening concerts although expect the occasional sirens from firetrucks, barking dogs and local transit briefly interrupting the peace.
The water at this park runs out of a fountain then down a runway to the pond. There are Red-winged blackbirds here and a Pair of Wigeons and Lesser Scaups.
The view from the other end of the pond. The tall grey rectangle is the fountain where the water comes from.
There are walkways, trees and benches all around the pond. Often musicians will play on this platform ahead to the right.

I am very happy that I live where I do, surrounded by green, and cafes, as well as a garden in my own back yard.

This shows half of the back yard with fountain, grass, benches and lots of flowers. Also the vegetables that I am growing in the planter box on the right.

Yes, I feel blessed to have all this pretty well at my doorstep.

Bees and Blooms

While I am still interested in birds, I am also enjoying taking photos of bees on flowers in my friend’s garden while I stay at her place dog-sitting.

No bees yet, but I do love these colours of the Geraniums and Bachelor Buttons.
Bumblebee on a Bachelor Button
Orange-Rumped Bumblebee on a Lythrum
A Trio of Day Lilies
Big Blossom; Big Bee, maybe a Queen? 17 mm

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

There are a lot of forest fires in B.C. and some in Saskatchewan as well as in my home province. Before we were isolating because of Covid-19, now it is because of the smoke from the forest fires. the air quality report is 10+(out of ten) These pictures are of downtown Edmonton. I can smell the smoke in the hallways of the high-rise I live in. I have asthma and needless to say I am not going out today. Fire crews are coming from Mexico and Quebec to help fight the fires in B.C.

There has been very little rain in the past couple of weeks. You can see the green trees but the grass is colourless and dried out in many places. We have had temperatures in the mid 30’s degrees (high 90’s in fahrenheit) for the past three weeks, but don’t misunderstand me, I do not miss winter. Today is is much cooler, 20 degrees(68 F) and it would be great to throw open the windows for that cooler air, but, no, not a good idea. It is extremely smoky and may stay this way for a couple of days. The temperatures are going up again next week.

Looking west from downtown Edmonton
Looking east toward downtown Edmonton.
A few hours later, I can’t see the buildings at all. took the photo lower than before in order to get a focal point. The top of the school is at the bottom of the photo above this one.

This smoke will travel across the country and into the United States. I feel for the people, birds and animals that are living in the middle of it. I am hunkering down with my puffers and staying quiet.

A Good Bath

This adult American Coot had a rigorous bath at the urban lake this day. I wish my settings had been set to a higher speed, but I still like the effect.

Just starting the bath.
A good shake.
A good workout.
A dunk.
A good splash
Refreshing! just a bit of preening to finish the job.

Swimming Lesson

I went to the urban lake today with a friend-not one pelican in sight although others had seen them yesterday. I was wondering why there were no baby Coots . Well I saw them today some older, some just about a week old. Get ready for a dose of cuteness.

One of the parents leading the chicks into the water.
I would guess that these are just over a week old.
Approaching the big jump.
Mustering up the courage…
A great jump! And off you go!

Take Off

These photos are from last week when I went to an urban storm run-off lake. I was going to go back to the lake yesterday to shoot more photos but upon awakening felt very apathetic so put the fan on, stayed inside and edited for most of the day.

I got some shots of a lone pelican taking off so wanted to share them. That is a Red-necked grebe in the background.

Doing a bit of a run
i thought it was going a short distance and maybe that was its intention , at first
Lift off!
I think the ones at this pond are not breeding , did not see one bract on the top of the bills
Last big push of the wings
Now it’s airborne.

We are entering a heat wave and it will be roughly 32 (90 F) today and going up to 37(98.6 F) by Wednesday. I have stocked my fridge with jugs of water and ice (and lemonade for flavour). Last night it cooled down and there was a bit of a breeze so it was good for sleeping. That may not be the case in a couple of days.

Fledgling Heaven and Pelicans

I went in the morning earlier this week to an urban storm run-off lake, hoping to see great Blue Heron, ducks and ducklings and American White Pelicans. The water was smooth and the light great. Missed the Great Blue Heron but lucked out with a sighting of a Black-Crowned Night Heron.

The first thing I saw was this Mallard Hen with her brood of ducklings.

I heard a “swooshing” sound as I was taking a photo of the duck family , looked up and guess who was coming in for a landing?

American White Pelicans coming in to fish. these must be first year youngsters because no breeding bracks
A chance sighting. I moved to get a better shot and it flew away, so I cloned out the branch that was poking into the picture.
A first for me. A father Red-winged Blackbird feeding his fledgling. i love those eyebrows! I had read the fathers never help with the young. Not true.
Male Hose Sparrow with fledgling. Is the feather stuck, or is he taking it back to the nest?
Female red-winged Blackbird searching for insects to feed to her young
Canada Goose family getting up to go for a swim. they came back later to sun and shade. There are actually four goslings, one is just out of the picture range.
American Coot on the rocks. Check out those feet. I did not see one chick.

I am still editing and also plan to go back to this lake at the end of this week or the beginning of the next. Maybe I will spot some Coot chicks or the Great Blue Heron. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here on the first day of Summer.

One Curious Gosling

The forecast was for rain but I decided to take a risk and catch a bus to an urban park that has a little lake and is notorious for goose poop. I knew it was fairly late in the breeding season but was hoping to see some young ducklings and goslings and I was lucky to see both.

The longest part of the journey is the walk from the bus stop to the lake, but I actually walked around the lake with the aid of my newly-acquired walker. I love the freedom it gives me to be able to get out in nature. It did not rain for a few hours until I was a block away from home. It was worth it.

Half way around, near the shore was a Mother goose with her goslings. One youngster got up from the family unit and walked toward me, its head turned to one side and locking eyes with me. Mother noticed this and got up , with her head stretched out and headed toward me. I said to her, ” your child is approaching me, but its okay, I am going to leave.” and I turned away. She relaxed and went back to her brood.

It was a special moment and I got three photos of this cute character before exiting peacefully away.

Mother Goose with her brood
I loved this little one’s open curiosity.
Was it already learning the habit of begging or was it curiosity?
Mom has noticed and is approaching . This is the point I excuse myself and leave, reducing any chance of escalation.

I was so happy to see them this young in mid June. There were a lot of gangly teenagers walking with their parents who are cute, too, but seeing the babies bring me joy.

That in-between stage when the adult feathers are coming in but mixed with a bit of down.