Saturday, April 30, 2011

Return To Winter

A nasty, nasty storm invaded our space for the past 24 hours and counting.  A lot of wet, heavy snow and very high wind.  Power has been out some places.  I just got my cable & internet back on (6:00 p.m.)

At my neighbour Marian's place across the street, two huge old spruce trees came down on her house early this morning.  Thankfully, she (an elderly lady) was not hurt.  The yard next to her also had a spruce come down. 

View from my front door late this afternoon.  Snow drift.  I can barely get out my back door.  

The lower branches of my spruce tree

An early morning foray to my garage to get some seeds out for the poor, cold, wet and bewildered birds

And some of the birds feeding outside my windows during the day - Pine Siskins

A brightly coloured male American Goldfinch against the dull whiteness of Winter...

A male House Finch

A somewhat philosophical looking Chipping Sparrow

A Yellow-headed Blackbird popped into town for a feed

And, I guarantee the Eurasian Collared Doves are even more tired of crappy Winter than I am.  I'm sure a lot of them died when the spruce trees came down in the night. 

I'm so upset, but it isn't as bad as a tsunami or tornados....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crab for Lunch

What is better than fresh-caught crab for lunch?

Nothing, as far as this little one is concerned

It's a mink - a wet mink; officially, an American Mink  (Mustela vison)

You know, there are always people who have to stop and gawk when they see someone with a camera, obviously trying to take a photo.  I had just spotted this little mink.  It had just snaffled a big crab and was settling in for a good meal.

There was an older gent slowly driving along the causeway at Rafferty.  Sure as heck, he had to stop - and create a loud noise - like accidentally leaning on the car horn.  Mink gave me a quick, miffed sort of look and decided to take its' lunch to some quieter, more private spot. 

Bye & bon apetit

Rafferty Dam

High water at Rafferty Dam.  I've never seen the reservoir this high

Water is pouring over the spillway - apparently only so much to keep the water within the river banks (Souris) downstream

More than that is coming into the reservoir though, as every day I go out, the water is higher

This is the boat launch/marina at Rafferty a week ago

This is the boat launch yesterday

Seems like a good place to wash a truck - but, jeez, this guy had flip-flops on and there's still a layer of slushy ice on the main body of water...

Click on the pix to enlarge, if you want to

Mr. Meadowlark says...

Good Morning!!!!

This cheerful Western Meadowlark (Sternella neglecta) was singing his little heart out.  Absolutely the most up-lifting of bird songs out here in the Prairies.

Sorry about the lack of blogging.  Spring Fever is in effect.  It's also Allergy Season for me.  When I'm not outside doing yard work, or off birding, or going for a walk, I'm inside in a slight stupor letting the allergy meds take over.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Road Closed

Or, Can't Get There from Here...

The local country roads pictorial Spring 2011

Ah, markers to show where the road is (versus ditch).

Er, no sign needed

Must not be oil traffic on this road - dinky little sign - oil guys would blow by this like they do stop signs!  Rule!

And, tell me who is enjoying all this water around?   Muskrat!  That's who! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Two days ago I was driving around looking at the Souris River levels and the various bits of flooding going on in the Estevan area.

Just south of the city, along Hwy #47, there's a vast desert wasteland created by systematic strip-mining for coal

A typical prairie whirlwind was twisting its way across and picking up particles of clay.

This bit of wasteland is part of the first attempts at land reclamation after taking out all possible, profitable coal.  The reclaiming company either had zero know-how (likely) or little inclination other than to collect some good money for a job poorly done (probably).

The only things that grow out there are the most tenacious weeds that can grow on pure clay.  When the mining pits were filled in, the topsoil was pushed in first.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taylorton Bridge No Longer Under Water

A day makes a difference.  The Souris water level has dropped a couple of feet in the past 24 hours. 

Here is Taylorton Bridge as of this afternoon

River is still high

Lovely blue sky and puffy clouds

Tracks in the silt on the washed-over road.  Mink, I think

Not quite idyllic, but getting better.....

(As always, click on pix to enlarge, if you want to)

Estevan Area Flooding - Roche Percee

More photos from our local flooding disaster going on - from the Roche Percee and Shand areas.  I'll return to the regular birdy sort of blogging soon.  Meanwhile, I guess I'm as mesmerized by the water levels in the Souris as anyone.  Some people who read this blog are originally from this part of Saskatchewan, now living far away.  So this is what is going on 'around home'.

Old concrete bridge at Roche Percee  (as always, click on pic to enlarge, if you want to)

In Roche Percee

A couple of dogs sloshing along their road

Pallets of sandbags at the ready

Where Short Creek pours into the Souris, just west of Roche Percee

Upstream side

This is the Souris crossing south of Shand Power Plant.  There are two super huge steel culverts under the road (both of which are underwater)

Upstream whirlpools where water is sucking through the culverts

Downstream eddies and currents

Along the road south side of river, still south of Shand

Later, I will post some 'before' photos of some of these places, if I can find them.