January 21, 2013

Surprising sights in Lake Louise

Yesterday, our snowshoeing group got a very rare treat.  Just a few minutes into our tour, a female lynx and her 9-month old kitten strolled across the trail in front of us.  They were just far enough away that photos were pretty much impossible, but it was a very exciting moment for everybody.  Apparently, over the weekend, a few more people got lucky enough to see the pair, including wildlife photographer Duane Starr.  He caught the two lynx with his long camera lens.

Lynx sightings are impossible to predict, but fabulous ice carvings are easier to find. The annual “Ice Magic” contest finished up yesterday on the shores of Lake Louise.

This year's entries are excellent, and they should stay in really good condition for viewing for about a week or ten days (weather dependent!).  Come for a visit and see how ice can be turned into art, and don't forget your camera!

January 2, 2013

New Year's Brunch, Wildlife Style

On our snowshoeing tours on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, we got to see two rare examples of how the wildlife were celebrating the season by feasting.

Joel and his group saw a short-tailed weasel dash across the trail with a mouse in its mouth.  It was all too quick for a photo, but on the internet photo sharing site Pixdaus, we found a great shot of another weasel carrying its meal.

In their winter coats, weasels are called ermines, and even though they only weigh 60 or 90 grams (2 to 3 ounces), they can take on prey as large as snowshoe hares.

Photo by Nadine Fletcher

Yesterday, Nadine and her group came across some beautiful traces in the snow where an owl had swooped down, and then plunged into the snow.  It was probably after a mouse as well, and had dug right through the snowpack in pursuit of its meal.  Snow photography is tricky, but the feather marks from both the tail and wings are clearly visible.

Happy New Year!