A serene summer evening in Waterton. I spent an hour waiting beside the river for the right light, and was thrilled when the light and the loons showed up at the same time!
A bear’s sense of smell is thought to be better than any other animal on earth. It is commonly cited at being 7 times stronger than a bloodhound and over 2000 times better than a human’s sense of smell! Bears do not have poor eyesight as is commonly thought, but their sense of smell is just so good that they rely on it much more than their vision. The best way to avoid issues in bear country is by making sure your food and other attractants are secured so that a bear can’t get at them. Alternatively you can always leave your baked goods with me before you head into the backcountry and I can keep them safe…
It’s hard to believe that only a year and a half ago this valley was nothing but scorched earth and blowing ash. Now there is a carpet of lush vegetation, in some places already growing over my head! The wildlife has returned and is finding plenty of high quality food in the burned areas. Pretty incredible how quickly nature can rebound.
A Bald Eagle flashes its wing into the evening sun as it flies past. In the 1960’s bald eagles were at risk of extinction due to the pesticide DDT, illegal shooting and habitat destruction. Thankfully we changed our ways in time and the bald eagle has made an incredible recovery. It’s crazy to think that many of us could have been born into a world with no bald eagles. I probably wouldn’t have missed them, just as I don’t miss all the other species that went extinct before my time. But the world is sure richer with them in it. Today thousands of species face extinction worldwide, and in order to survive they need us to change our ways once again. A few small changes in our lifestyles would make a world of difference to them. I’m sure our future generations would appreciate having them around, just as we appreciate the eagles.
Spring in Waterton. I took this photo prior to the fire of 2017. The trees in the foreground are all burned, but the mountains remain relatively unchanged. While some people find Waterton less beautiful after the fire, I don’t think this at all. It is different, but just as beautiful. Watching the land recover and the animals return after the fire has been fascinating! So many new stories to be told.
It’s hard to believe a year without Charlie has already passed. I came across this photo and I couldn’t help but smile. Charlie crawling across extremely thin ice in early spring while out on one of our walks in Waterton. This is how I will remember my friend. Charlie was exploratory, determined, and no stranger to taking risks. Qualities that allowed him to inspire and encourage us toward a greater understanding and compassion for bears and all wilderness. Although he is gone, Charlie Russell’s message continues stronger than ever in all the people he has touched. A new book “Talking with Bears – Conversations with Charlie Russell” is soon to be released in his memory, written by one of his long-time friends. You are missed Charlie.
As summer approaches, all I can think about is spending some long days in these mountains. Can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.
Hummingbirds are tiny, but it is less widely known that they can be extremely aggressive toward each other when defending feeding areas. In particular, the male Rufous Hummingbird is notoriously hostile. But despite his hot temper, he’s not too hard on the eyes!
It's that time of the year again!
There's always good company to be found in these mountains.
One of those evenings when it looks like someone’s been drawing on the sky with a pink marker.
Vimy and Venus
On islands inhabited by penguins, blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, and albatrosses, I was a bit surprised to also find flamingos thrown into the mix!
While Marine Iguana’s don’t have too many predators (would you want to mess with this guy?), their biggest threat comes from the changing temperatures of the ocean currents. The green and red algae that the iguanas eat rely on the cold currents hitting the Galapagos to grow. With global warming and more frequent El Nino events, the marine iguana is a greater risk of starvation in the future.
With all the life in the Galapagos, you can be sure someone is always watching.