Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Banff Moments: Guest Post by Amar Athwal

A few years ago, a wildlife activist in Alberta forwarded an email called "Moment" from a photographer in Banff, British Columbia. I got on his email list and started getting, every so often, another "Moment" in my inbox: one of his gorgeous photos accompanied by a brief description. The photographer, Amar Athwal, is this entry's guest blogger. ~ Marybeth
Photography is my way of engaging with nature, my way of finding balance in life, my way of having a creative outlet and most important my way of sharing how amazing nature is. Everything in nature is my photography subject, from flora, fauna, landscapes, night sky, and more. Here are four examples:

 Blackpoll Warbler

We experienced a great spring bird migration this year; one of the reasons for that was seeing this male Blackpoll Warbler. A rare sight in our neck of woods. Few years back a study was conducted with these warblers, a half gram tracker was placed on the back of these 12 gram birds before they made their southern migration journey. Out of the 37 birds that were tracked, five were recovered the following year. From the information the trackers were able to gather, those five birds averaged 2,540 kilometers non-stop flight in roughly 62 hours, over the Atlantic Ocean. Just amazing.
Wood Lily

During the summer the colours are everywhere in the mountains and the western wood lilies play a big role in that. But only for about a month their beauty is on display, which is well worth stopping for (and for me well worth fighting the mosquitoes to get few good pictures). A quick picture is not good enough, I will walk around until I find the right flower with the right background. And if you don’t come back with dirt on your knees and elbows, then you did not try hard enough to get the best picture possible.

This large male grizzly was  busy during the mating season. At the start of the season he was following a female in the Lake Louise area. Then few weeks later he decided to cover about 60 kms over few days to see another female. Then he was back near Lake Louise with another different female. And only he knows what he was up to during the times he has not been spotted between those three encounters. He has been busy, covering the distance and keeping ahead of the larger males to mate with a willing female. And he still has few weeks to go before the mating season is over. Just a small window into the life of a male grizzly bear.
Rufous Hummingbird

I came across an active Rufous Hummingbird nest during the latter part of July, normally when the hummingbirds are done with nesting and enjoying the summer until they make their way to Mexico for the summer. During the summer the Rufous Hummingbirds can be found as far north as Alaska. No other hummingbird breeds farther north then the rufous. One way travel from their winter home Mexico to Alaska is about 6400 kilometres, not bad work for a very small but feisty 8 cm long bird. 
Peyto Lake
For raw beauty, it's hard to beat Peyto Lake area. After watching a beautiful sunset at Peyto lake, I decided to sit down among the rocks and watch the sky get darker and the stars make an appearance. Only sounds I could hear as the brighter stars were making their appearance, was of the vehicles when they would go over the rumble strips on the road in the distance, the water making its way down from Peyto Glacier and, more than likely, a pika moving among the rocks near me in the dark. I was still able to see some of the warm colours from the setting sun in the distance, in the clouds and in the fire smoke from the west. In the sky I could also see a glow, just a hint of  northern lights. Once my camera had taken the pictures I had planned, I packed up and made my way to the car. Half way there, a small owl flew front of me. Nice way to end the trip.
To see more of Amar's photos -
Website: banffmoments.com.
Facebook: Banff Moments.
Instagram: naturebyamar

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