29.1 C
United States of America
Monday, July 15, 2024

Mike Drew: The birds, the mountains — however perhaps not the melting snow Categorical Instances

Must read


Article content material

Effectively, that was just about a waste of time.

Commercial 2

Article content material

Mendacity within the snow with my digicam geared toward water dripping down from a roof, I used to be attempting to get footage of the drops simply as they hit the bottom. I had the lens aimed on the spot a bunch of earlier drops had splattered and was attempting to determine when the subsequent drops would fall so I might hit the shutter button on the proper time.

Article content material

The drops made a sound like “pap” once they hit. So after every little pap, I counted one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand and so forth till the subsequent one splashed. Clearly, if I attempted to shoot proper because the drops hit, I used to be possible going to overlook. But when I might anticipate their arrival, I might depend on the digicam’s capability to shoot 40 footage each second to up my odds.

If I’d been right here — Clear Lake, east of Stavely — even the day earlier than, I wouldn’t have been doing this. Although the climate had been simply superb, the temperature had nonetheless been beneath zero and that may have meant the snow wouldn’t have been melting. No melting, no dripping.

Commercial 3

Article content material

However now, with the solar shining and the west wind choosing up, the temperature had risen and was now hovering round 5 C. Water was starting to run in all places.

Meltwater drips from a roof east of Stavely, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Meltwater drips from a roof east of Stavely, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

It hadn’t been fairly that heat once I’d left the town, but it surely was straightforward to see that it was on its approach. Rolling south, I might see the chinook clouds starting to churn with high-altitude wind whereas down within the Highwood River valley, skinny blue mist hung over the fields the place the warming air met pockets of chilly.

Heading southeast, I crossed the Arrowwood Creek valley, handed by way of Herronton — so glad that outdated grain elevator remains to be standing — after which as much as the subsequent ridge south of Mossleigh. The view from up there’s spectacular, with nothing however farmland between there and the intense, snowy, sunlit mountains to the west.

Article content material

Commercial 4

Article content material

The grain elevator at Herronton shimmers in the warming air south of Mossleigh, Ab., on Wednesday, January 24, 2024.
The grain elevator at Herronton shimmers within the warming air south of Mossleigh, Ab., on Wednesday, January 24, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

But it surely was onerous to get a pointy image. The nice and cozy air rolling in and mixing with the chilly air was making the densities shift. So it was like attempting to take an image by way of water. Nonetheless beautiful, although.

I had higher luck with a little bit herd of mule deer. They had been a bit nearer, so there wasn’t as a lot air to shoot by way of and so they stood nonetheless lengthy sufficient that I might shoot a number of further footage to extend the probabilities of not less than one being in focus.

Mule deer pause on the edge of a coulee south of Mossleigh, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Mule deer pause on the sting of a coulee south of Mossleigh, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

The redtail hawk down the highway was much more accommodating. It let me drive up proper subsequent to it after which simply sat there wanting forlorn. Kinda don’t blame it. It was fairly uncommon to see one as redtails normally head south for the winter. However this one, I suppose, determined to remain and from the look on its face, it was regretting it.

Commercial 5

Article content material

This redtail hawk looks a little regretful about not heading south with the rest of its kin south of Mossleigh, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
This redtail hawk appears to be like a little bit regretful about not heading south with the remainder of its kin south of Mossleigh, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

Flocks of horned larks and redpolls had been in all places alongside the gravel roads, the redpoll flocks particularly thick round canola fields that also had a number of crops standing. Humorous little birds, they descend en masse to no matter they wish to feed on after which fly off solely to circle again and descend once more. Fairly little issues, too.

A flock of redpolls gangs up on leftover canola near Herronton, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
A flock of redpolls gangs up on leftover canola close to Herronton, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

From Ensign on south, the roads had been beginning to get sloppy. The wind hadn’t picked up but, however the temperature had and the snow was starting to soften. Slush was splattering across the tires as I drove alongside. And by the point I acquired to Clear Lake, the soften was effectively underway.

I hadn’t actually anticipated to search out a lot there. Because of the deep freeze and snowfall of the previous couple of weeks, every part was frozen and lined in white. However one of many causes I used to be heading southeast was to verify if there have been any ice ridges on massive Keho Lake down by Lethbridge. So I figured I’d cease by Clear Lake for a search for no different purpose than it was on the way in which.

Commercial 6

Article content material

No ice ridge, no birds, no sound however the dripping of water from the roofs of the buildings. Oh, and a rooster crowing. By no means did work out the place that was coming from.

I used to be nearly to show round and maintain going once I noticed the daylight glistening off the snowmelt falling from a small constructing by the boat launch. Aiming the digicam at it, I attempted to time my shutter to get the drops forming as they fell and when that labored, it appeared logical to attempt to get them as they hit the bottom, too.

So I flopped on the moist snow to provide it a shot. Or, because it seems, about 300 pictures. I laid there for quarter-hour, choosing the spots the place I believed the drops would hit, shifting my focus level a number of millimetres at a time as they landed nearer or farther away, wiping the splashes off the entrance of the lens and eventually counting the seconds between drops within the hope of timing my 40-frame bursts to catch not less than considered one of them hitting.

Commercial 7

Article content material

All I acquired out of it was a moist stomach and thighs. Yeah, I acquired a few hits however they regarded supremely uninteresting. The video was higher however solely since you might hear the drips. Visually, stultifying.

Melting snow drips down the side of a boulder with interesting patters east of Stavely, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Melting snow drips down the facet of a boulder with fascinating patters east of Stavely, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

The entrance of my garments now soaked by way of — not less than I didn’t have to sit down on it — I saved rolling south and east. There gave the impression to be fairly a bit extra snow right here which was a little bit shocking, however that helped me see the snowy owl out in a area a bit west of Barons.

This one was closely mottled with darkish brown feathers along with the standard white, so I assume it was an immature feminine. Her darkish color made her straightforward to identify in opposition to the white snow and judging from her place, she had simply tried to pounce on one thing. She had both missed or devoured it down earlier than I noticed her, however she had nothing in her claws when she took off.

Commercial 8

Article content material

A snowy owl covers up its catch west of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
A snowy owl covers up its catch west of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

Simply down the highway from her I discovered one other flock of redpolls. These ones had been bunched up in a row of caraganas, chirping and flitting from department to department within the thorny tangle. Amongst them had been English sparrows and even a few chickadees. Their mixed voices had been almost sufficient to overpower the hum of site visitors coming from the freeway that was shut by.

A redpoll perches on a caragana branch west of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
A redpoll perches on a caragana department west of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

There was certainly an ice ridge on Keho Lake. The issue was that it was approach out within the center, a good distance from shore, and although it might need been enjoyable to discover, with my moist garments and innate laziness, I actually didn’t really feel like stumbling my approach on the market. So as a substitute, I circumnavigated the lake.

Snow and warm wind at Keho Lake south of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Snow and heat wind at Keho Lake south of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

The wind took a little bit of the sting off the balmy 7 C temperature, but it surely was nonetheless nice as I finished alongside the shore for footage. There have been small drifts among the many grasses and willows and partridge in all places. There have been small flocks of them choosing by way of the grave about each kilometre across the lake. A few very nervous pheasants, too.

Commercial 9

Article content material

Tracks in the snow east of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Tracks within the snow east of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

The sky was filling with chinook cloud and the sunshine took on a bluish tint once I regarded again on the lake from close by Albion Ridge. Within the foreground, a quartet of horses milled round a picket windbreak, whereas off within the distance Chief Mountain stood shrouded in cloud. An iconic chinook arch was beginning to kind, so I went increased up on the ridge to get a greater look to the west in addition to the south.

And there was one other snowy owl, this one a shiny, white male. He sat simply lengthy sufficient for me to get a few footage after which flew off to the sting of the ridge to pose for me with a mountain background. Thanks, sir!

A snowy owl relaxes on a ridge east of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
A snowy owl relaxes on a ridge east of Barons, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

The solar was westering now, so I started to consider heading again. Humorous, the times appear to be getting a lot longer now despite the fact that the solar is setting at simply after 5 p.m., barely a half-hour later than it did a month in the past. It totals as much as simply over an hour of additional daylight however, to me, not less than, it seems like an additional half-day.

Commercial 10

Article content material

Unsure what it feels wish to the deer. There have been bunches of them in all places popping out to forage within the fields or, like one buck, attempt to steal grain from a bin. I didn’t fairly catch him within the act, however he clearly felt responsible and hopped away, barely even acknowledging the cease signal at a rail crossing.

Mule deer crossing near Carmangay, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Mule deer crossing close to Carmangay, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/PostMedia

I reduce north to Champion after which west once more because the arch solidified and the solar sank towards its edge and the lastly stopped simply south of Brant, to observe the final of its orange rays splay out between the dual blankets of purple sky and blue snow. And as they did, one thing fairly cool occurred.

Because the solar dropped behind the mountains, its rays hit the entrance of the chinook arch, the half dealing with away from me. And once they did, the clouds mirrored them again onto the showy mountains and lit them up nearly as brightly as if the solar was shining instantly on them.

Such an interesting technique to finish the day.

Sunset reflects from the chinook clouds back onto the mountains east of Nanton, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Sundown displays from the chinook clouds again onto the mountains east of Nanton, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

A barely irritating day. True, I noticed a redtail hawk, two snowy owls, a complete whack of mule deer, redpolls and a few beautiful landscapes.

However these drops of snowmelt coming off the roof?

They had been just about a whole waste of time.

Chinook sunset east of Nanton, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
Chinook sundown east of Nanton, Ab., on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Mike Drew/Postmedia

Article content material


- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article