Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wagner Natural Area

At the beginning of June Gerald and I ventured to Wagner Marl Ponds to look for wild orchids. Now I don't know much about orchids yet figured I would take photos of any flowers in bloom then attempt identity later. I had expected the bugs to be bad but didn't fret, I knew that our natural mosquito repellant was in the vehicle and we could squirt some on our clothes upon arrival to the bog, but the repellant was not where it should be. The mosquitoes were abundant and voracious so it ended up being a speed walk with most of the images blurred due aggravated body jerks as the little beggars needled my hands and buzzed my face. Anyhow, today Gerald suggested we check out the Marl ponds again, but we got smart and stopped by the fabric store for noseeum mesh and I quickly stitched up bags for our heads, I wore my rain coat and leather gloves, but my goodness was I hot, too hot, but I wasn't bothered by mosquito swarms. The mesh made seeing clearly difficult so I put my camera on auto focus even though its not as good as manual focus I did get some okay images of wild orchids.

Saline Shooting Stars

 labrador Tea
Field of Saline Shooting Stars by the board walk.
 Marsh Marigold. These top four photos were taken beginning of June. The rest were taken today.

 A tattered Blue flitted about my feet on the path.

 Still have some flowers to identify, such as these pretties.
Common Fleabane

  Prickly Blue.

 Lady Slipper Orchids were abundant early in the month and many in bloom now.

 Not sure but these may be orchids.
Thanks to David I now know this is an orchid past flowering, these are pods of the Early Coralroot

Tall Bluebell 

Dwarf Raspberry

 Round Leaf Orchid, these tiny beauties are what I was after, the individual flowers are tinier than my baby finger nail, delicate and o-so-charming. There is a call out for orchid images for an exhibition in Oct so intend to paint wild orchids delicately in watercolor.

Bunchberry are in full bloom, these are very white. The camera doesn't capture white detail well on auto focus but theres no way I was going to lift my protective netting to clearly see to use manual focus.

 Bunchberry carpet.

Twinflower carpet.


 Marl Pond natural springs though the forest.

 Bog violet?
David has informed me this is Common Butterwort which is a carnivorous plant, how cool is that. Now I am excited to have the chance to return for a closer look.

 Shooting Stars were few today, most have gone to seed already. You can see the dampness reflecting off the ground cover behind the pretty stars. I like how they face opposite directions.

 Northern Green Orchid
I may have to send these images to someone in the know as I am finding it difficult to identify with conflicting names attached to it on the web.
 The flower close up, I'm not sure if its quite in full bloom yet.
confirmed, Northern Green Bog Orchid.

 The Marl Pond is a natural mineral spring fed pond. We are really quite lucky this area has survived as I have read that this is home to sixteen wild orchids species, of course I only found a few though am sure if we go out at different times we may see others as one lady told us that there were many more in bloom last weekend than now.

 The path is flooded with Toad tadpoles swimming about, we had to cross carefully.

Pink Elephants Head ?

 Our handy bug nets, they worked well. We heard various bird song throughout the muskeg forest though they were elusive.

Starry False Solomon's Seal blossom sporting a fly.

 Wild Rose complimented by a white spider sporting matching pink side stripes.

 Clouds brought in wind gusts and a wee bit-o-rain. Looking back at the path as we headed for the van.

 Tiny butterflies hid amongst the shrubbery to avoid the raindrops.

Star Grass

Friday, June 24, 2011

Talbot Lake Leduc

As promised here are images taken at Talbot Lake along the nature trail boardwalk. 
Grackle scratch. Ohhh, feels so good!
Now this is interesting as when we first walked the boardwalk I spotted Momma and eggs that are precariously close to tumbling into the lake. When we walked the board walk a second time...
we see what seems to be two nests, one back a bit in the reeds, and where is Momma?
Here she is, nestled amongst reeds slightly to the left of all these eggs. Now I am wondering if all these eggs is what they call a dump nest of non-viable eggs?

 What a lucky duck to have this glorious view! 
This is the water in front of where momma duck is sitting, gives alternative meaning to "dump nest".

And back to glimpses of nature. This beauty posed on the railing for me. Love the colors.
 Wet, wet wet weeds.
As this dark cloud was rolling back in we scurried back to the van racing the raindrops. 
And a little sun to balance out the rain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rain, Ruddy Ducks and Red Deer

Whirlwind trip, we drove to Calgary friday arriving later in the day than intended to collect my paintings that were displayed at The House Coffee Sanctuary. Presently an Emmaus Art Group exhibition "Town and Country" is hanging in which I have two paintings, an llama and a rooster and as Gerald was invited to show he has two archival pigment printed photos displayed. One image is the peaked roof portion of an old barn, and the other of an abandoned chair inside a derelict house. My favourites the old chair as many stories could be wrought out of that image.

We happily spent what was left of the afternoon visiting our sweet little grandson. In the evening we briefly took in a group art exhibition with a dear friend, enjoyable company and wonderful art and artists present but I could not stay as the incense burning gave me a raging sore throat, ouch! a salt water gargle fixed that all up and by saturday my throat was fine. Once again there was not enough time to meet up with old friends as I've been planing on; hopefully third trip be the charm.

Early saturday we headed north through pouring rain that at times obliterated vision into greyness beyond twenty feet to deliver paintings to Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer. As a note of interest the Centre now has Alberta Museums designation, how cool is that, my first exhibition in a museum art gallery. The exhibition runs from friday June 24th to August 1st. Artist in attendance July 9th 2-4pm.

Surprisingly though mosquitoes didn't seem to mind the downpours, to our amazement when we opened the vehicle window to photograph a Ruddy duck just north of Red Deer we got swarmed.
Purple Finch, male.
 Wet little finches enduring the rain perch near the seed feeders at Kerry Wood Nature Centre.
 Purple Finch, female.
 In the wildflower garden at Kerry Wood, I took a quick snap of orchids amid rain drops, they are so beautiful.
Dandy Mr Ruddy duck was doing the head pumping be-bop-bob water-strut with his tail straight up to entice the female, ooh-la-la, isn't he magnificent with the bright baby blue bill. 
The female scurried past fast and into the reeds. Look at those rain drop splashes.

Venturing Northward finally the sun broke through so we detoured to Talbot Lake, Leduc to take advantage of the rays and check out birds along the boardwalk. Timing was perfect, we got in a small walk and some fab photos before storm clouds chased us on our way. 
I will post Talbot Lake images in a few days.  
Hugs; the gift of giving and receiving thats plentiful and ageless.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

St Albert Art Walk

My paintings displayed in the window of the Art Gallery of St Albert extension studio for the month. The Art Gallery of St Albert is a wonderful public gallery run by the most amazing friendly and informative people who really rock.
I was excited to be invited to take part in the galleries art walk event this month, sadly I was ill and not able to attend and paint on location as planned; the good thing is though I was absent my art was displayed in the studio and the paintings were a big hit with viewers. Four of my paintings are on display until July.

Its a wonderfully busy month. The Calgary exhibition was extended one week and the Red Deer exhibition begins next week so transporting art from one venue to the next is the main theme of this upcoming weekend. I am grateful for my hubby for all the art transporting he does for me. The exhibition in the Marjorie Wood Gallery at Kerry Wood Nature Centre opens on June 24th and goes till aug 1st.

Big Hugs, a hug shared is a hug received!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Even birds grieve.

A few days ago I heard raucous Magpie voices echo and crash amongst themselves to such an extent my curiosity was piked. I ventured to the doorstep to survey the commotion and seeing the tree full of Magpies I decided to make use of the opportunity and snap a few images.
 There were Magpies on the ground, under the tree, bouncing from limb to limb and constantly flying in and out of the area. I am sure there were at least twenty total at a time. As I've been ill with laryngitis over the last week I did not venture out past the stoop to investigate.
The ruckus continued the following day and upon second look I noted that birds were returning over and over to mourn winged remains. For days Magpies returned, at first as groups then by the last day singly, verbally noisily crying while walking amid the feather strewn grass.

A few years ago in southern Alberta we came upon a couple hawks standing on the roadway. These hawks did not lift as our vehicle approached. We stopped to avoid hitting them and still they did not take to wing which I thought to be very strange behaviour indeed. Not until Gerald walked towards the Hawks did they lift off enabling us to realize the reason for their behaviour. They were mourning a juvenile Hawk, dead at the edge of the road. We feared the young hawk maybe had been struck by a vehicle and to avoid the others meeting the same fate the dead one was moved further from the road. That was my first instance of realizing that birds grieve a loss of family or community member just as we do. One can learn so much from nature, animals and birds. The more we as a society and individuals become cyber connected the more important it is to keep our feet and hearts connected to the earth, to good old fashioned dirt and the ways of the real world.

Hugs, they are for sharing!