Tag Archives: Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreational Area

Project 366 – Post No. 137 – Beaver in Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreational Area

What is Project 366? Read more here!

The Cooking-Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreational Are is a large nature reserve east of Edmonton. This reserve is characterized by rolling hills and a “knob and kettle” terrain, containing glacial moraines and depressions filled with small lakes. In one of those kettle lakes we came across a solitary American Beaver doing laps back and forth across the lake. Was it doing it’s daily exercise regime, was it patrolling its territory or was it just generally restless? Who knows what goes through the head of a lonely beaver on a sunny summer day. The Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreational Area is part of a much larger 1600 square kilometre area known as Beaver Hills and was designated an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2016.

Solitary American Beaver (Castor canadensis) in lake at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. August 8, 2019. Nikon P1000, 118mm @ 35mm, 1/800s, f/4, ISO 100

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.

Project 366 – Post No. 136 – Wood frog in vernal pool

What is Project 366? Read more here!

This Wood Frog liked to live dangerously. It was basking at the surface of a shallow vernal pool of water in the middle of the trail as we came barraging along on our mountain bikes. The only reasons we managed to spot it was because we decided to get of our bikes and walk around the pool that nearly covered the entire width of the trail. Any other mountain biker would have seen this obstacle as a challenge one needs to tackle head on at full speed. The frog did not bat an eye as we spotted it and moved in closer to have a good look at it. Maybe it figured that if it just stays completely still we might not see it. Perhaps that is a viable strategy for the half a dozen garter snakes that we came across on the trail just a few hundered meters away, but it did not work with us…, then again, we were not considering it as our next meal.

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) in vernal pool at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. August 8, 2019. Nikon P1000, 504mm @ 35mm, 1/320s, f/5, ISO 100

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.

Project 366 – Post No. 135 – Meadowhawk

What is Project 366? Read more here!

Dragonflies are a bit of an oxymoron. While everyone is able to instantly recognize a dragonfly, very few people know the names of the various dragonfly species, never mind being able to tell them apart and identify them. I am no different. We had just finished a trail ride in Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area and had taken a break for a snack at the Waskahegan Staging Area when a couple a dragonflies landed on a sunny patch on the ground right next to us. My camera was out of reach and I did not want to spook the dragonflies so I decided to try to use my phone to take some pictures. I took a few pictures from some distance away and then I slowly moved to phone closer and closer thinking that they will for sure take off. But they stayed. I managed to get about a foot away from this one dragonfly (the phone was not able to focus at a closer distance) and managed to take this close up. At the time I had no idea what it was, other than a dragonfly. After a bit of research it appears that it most likely is a species of Meadowhawk, specifically a Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum), but there are a few other species of Meadowhawk that look very similar. The name “Meadowhawk” is quite telling of the ecology of this species. It is found near marshy ponds, lakes, slow streams and on meadows. Like all dragonflies, the Meadowhawk is a predator. I can just picture it patrolling the meadow like a hawk for any soft-bodies flying insects such as mosquitoes, flies, moths and mayflies.

Meadowhawk at Waskahegan Staging Area at Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area . August 8, 2019.

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.