Early Bird

Ugh! The alarm was telling me it was 4:30 am. what had I been thinking!

I wanted to capture some waterfowl in the early morning light. There is no question that the light in the “golden hour” at sunrise or sunset can be spectacular. Unfortunately, in summertime in Alberta it means you either have to get up in the “middle of the night” or stay up at night until it’s time for “The National”!

Mud Sweat & GearsBut before I get too far into my sad tale early rising, let me pass along a good read for my cycling friends. I just finished reading “Mud, Sweat & Gears” by Ellie Bennett. It is the tale of a cycling trip from Lands End in the south of England to John O’Groats at the far north end of Scotland, with stops at pubs along the way. The book even has an index of the 50 best beers sampled along the way. Throw in a few bakeries and I’d be in Nirvana! While somewhat shorter than the Tour du Canada, it’s a gruelling ride in its own right! Anyway the book is an enjoyable read for anyone who likes cycle touring. But I digress …

So yes, that was me crawling out of bed at that ungodly hour, grabbing my camera equipment and heading out to Lois Hole Provincial Park on Big Lake. Actually, once I got up and moving it was a nice morning and I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. There is something magical about a sunrise and water.

Sunrise at Lois Hole Provincial Park

Sunrise at Lois Hole Prov Park

20140702-IMG_7056

Breakfast

Breakfast

I had walked out on a trail that extends out into the lake so there is water on both sides. Rain the day before had left the trail quite muddy and the swarms of mosquitoes figured I was breakfast. But it was all worth it to watch the Red-winged and the Yellow-headed Blackbirds getting active in the early morning sun. The birds seemed to be more actively feeding than when I had seen them in the middle of the day.

Breakfast

Breakfast

Sandpipers

Sandpipers

My next stop was a couple of kilometres further along the lake at a spot I had found previously where I knew there would be shorebirds. I was not disappointed! There were even more birds than the previous time I had been there and I was able to work my way fairly close to the water.

Killdeer with breakfast

Killdeer with breakfast

Killdeer

Killdeer

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

American Avocet

Just as I was packing up to leave I heard some rustling beside me and was able to capture a couple of great shots of a Robin.

Robin

Robin

I can’t say that I will become a regular 4:30 riser but an occasional lack of sleep has its rewards!

Robin

Robin

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This entry was posted in Cycling, Nature, Photography, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Early Bird

  1. Deana says:

    Neil, your photos are wonderful and I really enjoyed Big Lake revisited, thanks!

  2. fabulous photos. what kind of lens are you using? I tried to read that book and just couldn’t get into it at the time. Likely pressed for time or too jealous to continue. that trip is on my bucket list.

    • Neil says:

      Thanks Elaine. I’m using a Canon 100-400 mm lens. BTW it was from you that I originally heard about the book. I put it on my Christmas wish list and “Santa” brought it for me.

  3. Andrew Miller says:

    Some of these shots are stunning, Uncle Neil! Plus, since I can’t imagine willingly waking up at such an hour, I give you extra bonus points.

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