Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cedar Waxwings Take up Residence

A flock of Cedar Waxwings arrived a few days ago to dine out on the abundant holly berries in the backyard. I counted about 30 birds this evening as they roosted in the pine tree while they rested from gorging on the red berries. A week ago the holly tree was festooned with thousands of crimson berries. Now it has been stripped bare, so I suspect that they will move on. It's been a treat to see them, they are remarkably beautiful birds with the silkiest plumage imaginable.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Trip to Alberta

I spent last weekend visiting family in Edmonton, Alberta - my hometown. As per usual, I trekked down to the river valley in search of rocks and despite the river being very high, was able to find some cool stones. No dinosaur bone this time because the area where I usually find it was under water. The weather was mild, cloudy with sunny periods and alternating between warm and cool. The area I like to explore is a big bend in the river with a cut bank on the far shore. When I started going there 20 years ago, I was usually pretty much alone except for the occaisional dog and its owner..
Now it is replete with mountain bikers, dogs galore and scads of people. Being selfish, I liked it better when there was no one there. However, it's still a great place to go for a walk, very level and easy hiking and very pleasant country. It lacks the majestic drama of British Columbia, but the beauty is there in a gentle way. I came across a drama in miniature as some red ants had captured an emerging damsel fly. This life and death struggle was taking place among the detritus of the river bank, unseen by the cast of thousands except for one who was peering intently at the rocks and stumbled upon it.