Mountain Bluebird male

Mountain Bluebird male 7

Mountain Bluebird male

Three days ago, on 13 June 2019, I was invited to visit the acreage where friend, Jackie, now lives. The 16 photos taken there and posted yesterday afternoon are all on private land, so no location is given, for obvious security reasons. Jackie has only been there for the last few months, but is loving life in such a nature Paradise. So much wildlife and plant life, and I can’t think of anyone more perfect to be living there, enjoying every new sighting and loving all the regulars. Thank you so much for inviting me, Jackie, and it was great to catch up with everyone!

Perhaps the main creature that I was really hoping I would see was the beautiful Thirteen-lined Groundsquirrel. I had seen them in Weaselhead in a couple of places, and in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Obviously, the information below is now outdated, but still of interest. Just makes me feel even luckier than ever : )

"The Thirteen-lined or Striped Ground Squirrel, if it still exists here, may be the rarest mammal in the Calgary area today…… Calgary sightings: The only known location in Calgary where this species has been sighted is in South Glenmore Park, to the northwest of the park building. It was last reported on 28 April 2002 and 6 June 2002. A population occurs near Millarville (south of Calgary), where one was reported on 17 April 2005. " From the great talkaboutwildlife website, which no longer exists.

"The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is strictly diurnal and is especially active on warm days. A solitary or only somewhat colonial hibernator, it often occurs in aggregations in suitable habitats.

In late summer, it puts on a heavy layer of fat and stores some food in its burrow. It enters its nest in October (some adults retire much earlier), rolls into a stiff ball, and decreases its respiration from between 100 and 200 breaths per minute to one breath about every five minutes. It emerges in March or early April.

The burrow may be 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6.1 metres) long, with several side passages. Most of the burrow is within one to two feet (about half a meter) of the surface, with only the hibernation nest in a special deeper section. Shorter burrows are dug as hiding places. This ground squirrel’s home range is two to three acres (0.8 to 1.2 ha).

Its primary diet includes grass and weed seeds, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and crickets, but it may also eat mice and shrews; it will viciously attack and consume cicadas if able to catch them. This squirrel sometimes damages gardens by digging burrows and eating vegetables, but also devours weed seeds and harmful insects.

It is well known for standing upright to survey its domain, diving down into its burrow when it senses danger, then sometimes poking out its nose and giving a bird-like trill. It has a maximum running speed of 8 mph (13 km/h) and reverses direction if chased." From Wikipedia.

After visiting Jackie, I decided to drive and see if any of my regular birds were out and about. Luckily, they were, so this morning I have posted 9 shots, including Wilson’s Snipe, Mountain Bluebirds, and Eastern Kingbird.

Posted by annkelliott


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