Monday, March 03, 2008

The Abandoned

Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 40D - ISO100 - matrix metering - 1/750sec @ f4 set for histogram check

Lately I had been giving thought to my fishing gear and with that in mind and finding myself near McKinnon Flats lately, I decided to check out the conditions on the Bow. I found that the river is still ice bound with signs that it will not be for long with open channels to be found near the shoreline. So with that I decided that it was to nice a day to spend some time exploring the flats and the slopes along the Bow.

I should have been up along the crest of the river valley, as from time to time I would spot various birds of prey patrolling the hillsides. A flock of Common Redpolls in the trees near the river were fun to interact with as I walked along and messed with their heads as I made pishing sounds. I was wearing camo and by keeping still near their location while pishing them I was able to bring them in closer to me. They flew in close and sat on tree branches near me chirping amongst themselves. This allowed me to get several decent photos of these interesting finches that soon will return their summer homes in the sub-arctic for the nesting season.

The flats provide a varied habitat of willow margins, tall cottonwoods and brushy slopes for an impressive array of songbirds later in the spring as they migrate north to their nesting grounds. Great blue herons, eastern king birds, northern orioles, morning doves and tree swallows are some of birds that I have spotted at Mckinnon flats while fishing the Bow in past years. Of course I don't want to forget the water birds such as American white pelicans, Canada geese and many species of ducks. Several times I spotted a Bald Eagle patrolling the valley overhead, however he was always just a ways out of reach of my camera.

I also spent some time trying to call in a coyote with my predator call but had no success. Possibly there were none within hearing range of my digital caller, as I cannot remember the last time that I have seen coyotes in the valley although I'm sure there are coyotes around the area. I then decided to explore some of the old buildings that are part of the old homestead that is located on the flats near the Bow river. You have read some of my posts in the past that mention this homestead, however I always find it interesting to check out while in the area. I'm always baffled when I see this one old building that I shot the photo of that has what I believe to be someones idea of a rain gauge mounted on the roof in the form of a metal pan. They were correct as to what is a good location for measuring rain water accumulation, although reading this rain gauge would have been a adventure in itself. I have a weather monitoring station at my home and my rain gauge has a 8 inch collector that is roof mounted that is self emptying and transmits the information to a readout located in my ham shack. The reason for roof mounting the rain gauge is the fact that it must be located in a position at least 5 meters away from fences, trees or any object that could could be a factor in accurate readings. This is especially true if the wind is blowing while rain falls. Rain gauges are also much more accurate if they are of larger diameters.

From time to time I noticed vehicles making their way down the road into the valley during the time I was there, however I suspect the ice on the Bow was a factor that saw them turn around and make the drive back out of the valley. I looked at my watch and realizing that 3 hours had slipped by while I was on my walk-about, I headed back to my truck and with one last glance at the Bow and vowing to return in the near future, I too made the drive up the switch-back road to the plains above and home. Later

Hoodoo formations along the crest of the valley at McKinnon flats

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