Spring seems safely ensconced here on the prairies, with nice temperatures and no snow left or in the offing. Nature is working away in the usual fashion, although some trees and bushes are slow to leaf out, while others seem to be working to the expected schedule. I finally got the snow tires off my vehicle, and have taken my first outing on my bicycle for the year. This was also the first test of my new hip for bicycling, and I'm happy to report that it works wonderfully, way better than the original has done for the past few years, so that's another "first with new hip" to mark off the list. All that's left now is getting on my horse, and that will happen next month.
Shot one today features a Swainson's hawk perched on a fence post alongside the road to the barn last week. I had to brake and back up to get photos of this fellow, and he was strangely OK with the attention. My husband (the real birder in the family) explained that Swainson's are much less reactive than the Red Tail hawks I often see on the way to the stables. He said that if it had been a Red Tailed hawk, it would have been gone before I could focus on it. There has been a pair of Red Tails patrolling this particular territory for a number of years now. I don't know if they have been displaced by the Swainson's, or if they are sharing the hunting grounds.
I always love the fresh yellow-green of new foliage in the spring, and the variety of tones and interesting shapes in this Elderberry shrub in our front yard are certainly eye-catching.
These clouds are very typical of summer cloud formations on the prairies, stacked up and stretching back to the distant horizon. Due to the wet ground from the melting of the big snows of this past winter, few fields have yet been tilled or planted, as the ground is still too soft for the big farm equipment to work. I did see one tractor and cultivator out today for the first time this year, so things must be drying up at last.
This fuzzy bunch of crocuses is located in our front yard. I love backlit photos, and the furry coating on these stems and flowers light up perfectly in the early evening as the sun sinks lower in the sky.
With the quantities of meltwater ponds in the countryside, there are also quantities of waterfowl. This fine Shoveler and his lady companion have been cruising up and down in the flooded ditch alongside the entry road to Ebon stables in the past week. I hope they aren't planning on setting up house here, as the water will be gone in the next few weeks. In the meantime, they are tidying up whatever they can find to eat in the grasses and at the bottom of the "pond".
Forgot to mention this! I will be one of the artists featured at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm 100th Anniversary celebration, Sunday May 26th, Noon to 5 PM. We'll be in the largish building at the southeast side of the zoo parking lot. Free admission to the park and activities ( but not the zoo) for the day. Come by and say hello.