Friday, June 8, 2012

A tail of a rattle

Gerald and I were invited to camp with friends at Empress Alberta last weekend and what a wonderful weekend it was. Good friends, good food, good times birding and not to forget a heart thumping gazelle leaping experience of almost stepping on a rattlesnake while photographing a Gray Catbird down by the river. And no, there are no photos of the rattler. Now I tell you I was keeping an eye out for snakes so was very surprised that I did not see it till after its tail rattle shook and it slithered they are so wonderfully camouflaged. My husband laughed at my sportily retreat. but my goodness this snake was thick and big, though not to sure how long it was as it slithered of into the grass while I spring-boked to the vehicle. I am no snake lover and have decide that open prairie is not the place for me, besides there are six foot Bull snakes there which they say will chase you, yuk! Noway, nadda!  Though I am not fond of snakes I do appreciate that they have their place keeping gophers in check and note, rattlers are endangered due loss of natural habitat. A photographer from the area said that rattlers will swim up onto her kayak when she is out on the river, I never knew rattlers would swim.
 The infamous Gray Catbird
 Mourning dove blends into the terrain.

Prairie flowers, it would have been lovely to see cactus in bloom but its a tad early for that.

This was a long shot on a hillside by the river so a tad soft but look at the colours, delicious combination.

 Pronghorns were few and far between, just the odd loner out in the field, second photo cropped.

Cultivated Prairie.

Next post will be some of the Prairie birds we captured.
Enjoy, have a great weekend, and share a hug!


Red said...

Empress Alberta? I assume camping along the river? Awesome area.
Now a rattler would catch my attention too. I don't think I would run too fast!
Good story about the rattler.
Now art and a rattler?? Has possibilities.

john said...

Living in Arizona for 21 years, I could tell rattlesnake stories all day long. I love them. Bullsnakes do NOT attack people. They huff and puff when they feel threatened, but it's all show. The truth is that they are very gentle and meek creatures, except where rodents are concerned. Great photos, and I look forward to seeing more.

tess stieben said...

Yes Red, we camped on the bluff above the river at the edge of town. Empress has a new campsite in town but we preferred the view at the old camp.

John I can only go by what I was told. I heard stories from about four different people who live in the area and they all stated the bull Snake is aggressive in that area. One even resides in town and pretty much rules the terrain where it resides. We never saw it but a few other photographers did and said it made no bones about chasing them off when they approached for a photo-op.
Alberta Government research paper states the Bull snake is in decline due oil and gas industry more than any other disruptive cause. Farmers like them as rodent control. It does state in the paper that they can be aggressive and will bite if they feel threatened.