Today dawned as a really beautiful day; brilliant blue sky, a few scattered clouds and really pleasant temps in the upper 50’s when we left about 1030 for our field trip to the Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary nearby run by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. After a 15 minute or so drive straight down Highway 60 outside Glowing Embers Campground we arrived at the parking area, changed into our hiking boots, and headed off. Our total hike was about 3 miles of which almost 2 were on a boardwalk through the marsh and along the edge of the lake on the sanctuary.
Our first find shortly after leaving the parking area was a Yellow Warbler.
followed by some dandelion blooms and a bright red dragonfly
After half a mile or so we got to the first of three overlooks jutting out into the lake. While at these overlooks we spotted a plethora of waterfowl of various varieties including Blue Winged Teal
and a pair of nesting Canada Geese across the other side of the lake.
We spotted in addition some Bufflehead Ducks, Coots, a lot of Red Winged Blackirds and what we thought were Northern Shovelers but none were close enough for a decent picture.
Leaving the lakeside and heading into the woods we spotted a Tamarac tree which looks like an evergreen but is actually deciduous, losing it’s needles every fall. Moose eat the needles and alongside the maybe 1/2 inch long needles were the daintiest little buds you’ve ever seen.
They look almost exactly like miniature rosebuds but are only about 1/4 inch in size. We also spotted a Robin right before we left the boardwalk and took awhile to identify him because the variation up here in Alberta is a lot longer and skinnier than Robins back home in the US…and they also spend a lot of time in this display position with their wings sort of spread out.
During our walk in the wooded portion of the sanctuary we spotted some more wildflowers and some sort of tree that was releasing a thistle like spore.
as well as spotting this little orange and black butterfly.
After a mile or so in the woods we rejoined the boardwalk and hiked back to the parking area where we headed home for lunch. Tonight we’re headed to the Sherlock Holmes Pub in downtown Edmonton for pints and snacks then right around the corner from the pub is the Windspear Center where the Saint Saëns concert takes place. Tomorrow it’s church, drop by the library for blog posting since internet is lousy in the campground, the Star Trek movie in Spruce Grove and then a stop at Walmart on the way home…we need to make sure we have groceries for the next 10 days as stores in Jasper are few and far between.