we can only prey

CRW_0015smBald Eagle, photo by Lisa.

Lisa and I saw a Northern Hawk Owl yesterday. It was a fortunate sighting. Owls are an animal that seem to be able to look directly into your soul. Unfortunately it was very low light and I wasn’t able to get a clear photograph.

The owl even soared down and caught a mouse in the snow and long grass. As soon as it flew away a Raven trailed after it, hoping for it to drop the mouse I suspect.

Opportunists get a bad rap. Not born with the sharp beak and killer claws it must depend on it’s smarts and perseverance. It has to steal it’s meal.

This is often the same with people. It used to be the poor steeling from the rich. Now it’s the politicians and big business men stealing from the many poor. Just a little bit from each, it’s counterproductive to completely ruin the hand that feeds you.

Like the Raven they quickly adapt. Even manipulating folks into leaving treats and rewarding them with trinkets.

Still you have to hand it to the Ravens, Crows, Turkey Vultures and Magpies. It was unfair of me to compare them to crooks in suits.

Lisa and I went out this morning in better light to look for the owl. They are very territorial and are often seen time and again in the same spot.

It was no where to be found. We saw the Bald Eagle photographed above. Lisa took the photo not trusting me after my shaky focus with the owl. 🙂

winter colours

CRW_0007Follow the ridge. Telemark through the spruce.

There is a little extra daylight. Not much but noticeable. There is something to be said about the colours of winter, deep shades of grey, colours only seen at this time of year, hues of mauve and blue.

CRW_0004-PanoEvaluate the shadows in winter to plan a walk in summer.

To be without would be a shame. To see them a gift. The owl on a snag, eagles waiting for a fish or a duck to get separated. The mountain ridge fully defined. And the quiet that accompanies it.

CRW_0009Willow.

looking back

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A chinook rolled in taking most of the snow in the valley bottom.

Willow and I headed into the mountains tonight. We were looking for stars, but knew it would be a tough find. Sure enough it was cloud cover. Sometimes the clouds can be scaled via a mountain pass leading to clear skies. It was worth a try. The roads were ice but decent.

Back in the bottoms we took to the lake, frozen with at least 14″ of ice, glare from melt. Pure hell to walk on, especially in the dark. This is were I grew up. Only yards from shore, across the tracks.

It’s a different place now. The lake is an attraction. A commodity to be bought and sold.

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But, here tonight, it doesn’t look much different than I can remember. More ice shacks, less fish, more lights on the east side filling the sky with pollution.

The tracks are there. My world would revolve around those trains. Watching them roll by, the sound, tracks creaking, listening for oiled ties loose on a stoney bed, coal dropping by the cart load, happy to be burned, eventually getting between me and the lake.

Things change, not quickly, but minutely, it’s hard to detect. Until one day you’re scratching your grey beard, in the same place as when you were young, finally figuring the joke’s on me.

Warm Spell

_LME6666smJan 2018, Eclipse, Wilmer, BC, morning rush hour.

The woodpile is holding it’s own. Six inches of snow melting on top. The coming cold will dry it long before it needs burning.

American Dipper

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Lisa and I had breakfast up the creek. Willow ran hither and yon, nose down then up, sniffing tracks and tracing birdcall.

We saw Bald Eagles on a freshly killed deer. They flew as soon as I put the camera up. I didn’t pursue the photo by camping out near the deer. Although the temperature is only -8°c, I shouldn’t be interrupting a feast of much needed energy for these animals. We moved on so they could return.

Once above the creek we spotted the tell tale rings on the side of a pond; an American Dipper. They are fun to watch, we hiked down to creek bottom where it dipped and flitted oblivious to us. I snapped a couple photos. Willow barked but it had little effect on the happy Water Ouzel.

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The bird with the short tail is often seen alone or in pairs. I know I have a good photo when I am able to photography it’s white eyelid. This morning the light was low, with snow falling, I wasn’t able to capture any sharp photos. That is okay. It’s the encounter that is cherished. These photos will serve as a reminder of our luck on this fine day.

Thank you to everyone who stops by and reads these posts and looks at the photos. I appreciate it. Lisa and I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season. All the best in 2020. Take care out there.  Bob

The New Religion

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I had an argument with a guy recently. It was about dwindling elk populations. He said, elk where being decimated by predators such as wolves, grizzlies and cougars. It was his view that these animals should be culled. I said maybe we should quit hunting elk during their rut and taking the biggest bulls from the heard. Colorado has seen success with managing these hunting practices.

This guy was a hunter and a scientist (so he said) and my comment made him fly off the handle. He over and over again said, ‘Science’ shows it is the predators that are responsible for diminished elk populations.

I infuriated him more by saying, we have to be careful culling animals, because we’ve got it wrong before, I was thinking about those same wolves and plenty of fish species. 

He continued, ranting Science, Science, Science, without so much as offering a fact. It was like the word Science was enough.

I knew he wasn’t worth engaging in an argument. He was a fervent believer.

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I don’t understand science. I always thought it was nature. The way I alternately blink my eyes at the sky, being the same way we figure out the distance to the stars. 

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I also don’t understand climate change, but the Science seems to have become a replacement for religion, especially for us in the most prosperous parts of the world. It has sin, guilt and the need for atonement. The Science also promises a way out, if only we live carefully.

And like religion the biggest sinners are the ones who preach the loudest and conjure their desired deity in every conversation and argument. Like the above mentioned hunter/Scientist who, lives on a ranch, and wants to shoot bigger elk.

Today’s Elmer Gantry’s and Jimmy Swaggart’s are now the ‘environmentalists’ living in their big houses on the side of the wetlands, winging their way to explore exotic locations with their light weight Sony cameras, oblivious to there own sins, or perhaps smug in their belief they are pulling the wool over our eyes. 

Fuck I hate religion regardless of what they call it.