Monthly Archives: May 2013

First Grizzly, Northern Lights, and so much more…

First of all, after this one day of 30°C, temperature dropped in Edmonton as well to about 20. About a week ago I left Edmonton for the real fieldwork. We moved to a cabin near Cadomin, east side of the Rocky Mountains, next to Jasper National Park.

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The biggest town around is Hinton. There is a lot of mining in the area and the herbivores like to graze around this open grass areas. In the picture below you see elks grazing near the mine in the evening.

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I was lucky to see already a Grizzly bear during my second day in the field. It was from the car though… and no pictures… But is was one with a collar around his neck. Afterwards we could check it was one of the study bears, a big male!
Basically we put up as many cameras as possible in a day. Now we are just one team, but there will be some other volunteers joining us by the end of May. We did already some nice walks and encountered wildlife. Some marmots were wondering on the sloop, and a black bear with 2 cubs on an other walk… We come across different temperatures and weather conditions, from sunny to snow in 5 minutes. Btw, it’s still freezing at some nights.

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The tiny try in front of the picture above is a bear rub tree, we found some hairs on this tree. And we found more bear evidence: some footprints….

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Me and the other field tech at the cabin near our University Of Alberta truck nr 241

On Friday we had to leave to cabin for the weekend because park officers needed to stay there over the weekend, but they brought us to an other cabin… They didn’t brought keys so we end up with braking into the cabin. This cabin is not as good as the previous one, but we ‘ll go back to the good one after the long weekend. But… during the evening I took a small walk to the lake to check if there were no animals around. Off course I had my bear spray with me! It was already a bit late, so didn’t see that much of the shore any more, but I noticed some strange ‘clouds’ on the horizon… it wasn’t that clear, but I had a bit of hope it was something special, so I took my camera and gave it a try… and oh yeah, the ‘clouds’ lighted up green, which meant Northern Lights!!! I waited a bit longer till it got a bit darker and it was still there, not really clear, but covering at some point like 75% of the sky, from high up in the sky whole the way to the North there were patchy parts of Northern Lights. After a while there was a bit more contrast and the green shining was visible with the naked eyes.

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Northern Lights will inspire you

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Near the lake

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Straight above my head

As if we are in an other cabin we took the opportunity to visit some other parts of the study area, although it was the long weekend, so the forests were full of trailers and quads… But on the way back we saw a mother grizzly bear with 2 cubs, with pictures this time…

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Edmonton

The last few days I spent in Edmonton. I was preparing some field stuff  (cleaning camera traps, testing bear collars, checking SD cards) and getting in though with interesting people…

We already had a quick visit at the field site to check the cabin where we will be sleeping for at least some weeks. I already saw a lot of birds and mammals.
Near the study site we saw bighorn sheep, elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer and a coyote. No pictures yet, but I included a picture of the cabin

probably the cabin where  we will spend the summer

Most of my time I”ll be checking this camera traps (after we put them in the field ;)). We will put them on trails to check human use and use of wildlife of the trails. I checked already some pictures of last year, and it looks promising.

Additional to this camera traps we have 8 collared Grizzly bears, which are all still working after the winter. We might try to recapture some to renew the collar.

some cameratraps

some camera traps

testing bear collars

testing bear collars

Off course I took some time to explore the city and the 4th biggest shopping centre in northern America, but probably just because they have a water park, some aquarium with a sea lion and some reptiles and a roller coaster included.

Besides that I had a social life as well, watching ice hockey in a pub with some PhD students, we went for some drinks, did some bbq-ing. Oh yeah, btw yesterday was 30°.

edmonton

Edmonton

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wildlife in edmonton

wildlife in Edmonton

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall