Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Golden to Lake Louise

Northern Harrier - Female
After heavy rain overnight, which had settled as snow about 500ft above us, the cloud began to break giving some stunning views of the surrounding snow capped mountains.

Prior to leaving Golden Eco Ranch Dee and I had one last walk around the grounds and down to the River, seeing more evidence of Coyote, and even more Bear Pooh! At the river we watched an Osprey looking for breakfast, and catching too, as he hit the water with amazing speed before heading off with his catch.

On the way back a Northern Harrier was quartering the meadow and a Merlin was perched in the same spot as yesterday evening, high up in a dead pine. As with each morning thus far the local Ravens were calling and a Northern Flicker could be heard deep within the Pinewoods. Arriving back at the RV for departure we’d also added White-crowned Sparrow and Yellow Warbler.

Stopping in Golden for provisions, and also seeing our 2nd Pileated Woodpecker which passed overhead, we spent a short time on an observation deck overlooking a local lake. Here we had Red-winged Blackbird, Snipe, Real Canada Geese and Green-winged Teal. We eventually hit Highway 1, which follows the Kicking Horse River to our first stop of Emerald Lake around midday. Dee and I had visited and walked the perimeter of this stunning Lake last year but decided that it was something worth doing again, and of course Dave was not with us at this stage last year.

The walk is 5.2kms and took us around 3hours with our constant stop start. The Lake itself lives up to expectations and becomes a deep Emerald Green in the sunlight. Unfortunately at this altitude, around 5,000ft, and the make up of the Lake, rock powder which supports very little plant life, the Lake is devoid of any wildfowl. The surrounding Pinewoods however produced Chipping Sparrow, Clarks Nutcracker, Stella’s Jay, American Tree Sparrow, Least Chipmunk, and Red Squirrel.

A brief stop at the Spiral Tunnels to watch a train snaking through this amazing construction before our final destination of Lake Louise, arriving at around 7pm, produced very little more for the day, except for several Elk which were posing for photographs at the roadside. Minus 2C is forcast tonight!