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Posted by: Griffin

It is not quite the double double gold story of the Olympics that hockey and curling provided, but it did leave a lasting impression. Today after a wonderful Winter Walkabout program with the Olympic Heights grade 1's we were heading back to Belvedere House. They had answered all of the head conservation officer's question. Snow is good and bad, depending on who you are, the trees and the forest are very much alive in winter, and yes there is evidence that animals are still here. The magic of the day was not yet over, to our delight a long-tailed weasel came bounding (that's the track pattern we learned earlier) out of the forest and towards us. It raced along the snow and then thought better of getting too close to our group. The weasel struck a quick pose like a figure skater just before the music begins and then it circled back and went back into the forest leaping over logs and ducking under branches with more grace then a slalom skier.. A very cool ending to a wonderful winter adventure.

Posted by: Chris

It goes without saying that over the past week we have gotten a lot of rain. When it comes to weather like this we as people tend to stay in, but the wildlife here at the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area are loving it! Our particularly late spring had resulted in a very slow bloom of many of our native plants. Thanks to this rain though, the Wolf Willow is thriving and the deep red of our Red Oiser Dog Wood branches is being the be hidden by it's newly formed leaves. It may seem obvious that the plants would be loving the rain but the animals at the Cross Conservation Area are enjoying this downpour as well. Since fewer school classes and hikers are going out on the trails, many of the animals that are usually hiding are coming out. It is not uncommon to see a herd of White-tail Deer to be walking right outside of Belvedere House in the morning or a Golden finch feasting at the bird feeder.

Although the weather is not ideal for us to be outside right now, it is a great opportunity to observe many of the more elusive creatures in the grasslands.

 

Posted by: Griffin

Another spectacular view from the office this morning. The snow that accumulated on top of yesterday's hoarfrost makes the winter world a little brighter. The freshly fallen snow tells a tale of a herd of elk that passed by Belvedere House last night. I took the liberty of strolling down the Mountain Look Out trail to see where a set of coyote tracks would lead me. I wonder if it knew how many mice and voles crossed it's path a short time later. Up to the trail to where our winter herd of snow covered cattle were grazing. If you are hiking on our land this winter be aware there are cattle here, if you are respectful and move along the trails calmly the cows will walk out of your way. There was a nice view of Belvedere house's new metal roof from the top of the hill, also covered in snow.

Make sure you bring your family out to examine the tracks left behind from our resident wildlife's adventures.

Posted by: christina

The atmosphere at the Cross today is very fitting for Halloween, with lots of fog making the trails a little spooky! In the coming months, if it's a winter wonderland you seek, this is the place to be. The hoar frost is spectacular and the snow-muffled ground gives a unique feeling of peace. The trails are open throughout the year, and snowshoeing is welcome.  (Please remember that cross-country skiing is not allowed.)

Working here, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to see the seasons change. There is something to be seen throughout the year, and winter is no exception. You feel as if you have the whole place to yourself and can delight in examining the different tracks made in the snow. I am looking forward to seeing what this season brings.

Enjoy your tricks and treats today!

Posted by: Griffin

Greetings from the Belvedere House Office.

Today I had a wonderful interruption to a conference call by Christina miming an animal frolicking and pointing excitedly out of our office window. Sure enough there was a big healthy looking coyote ambling up the field towards us.  

Amidst some quiet scuffling, so as not to interrupt the call too much, we snapped a couple pictures of the beast as seen below and in our website gallery. 

Reg says that the coyotes are quite active at this time of the year looking for mates and keeping other suitors at bay. Judging by the looks of this one I don't think he'll have a problem securing a Valentine's date.

 

Posted by: christina

Welcome to the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area blog!  We have enhanced our website to be more interactive and will be regularly adding to this blog, posting either by ASCCA staff or guest bloggers. 

Our redeveloped website has been a labour of love for us, and we’d like to hear your thoughts and comments!   The site map that appears at the bottom of every page will give you an overview of the new layout as you take a look around.  You can now upload photos that you have taken at the Area to our website to share with others, comment on the blog, book your hike, and share wildlife sightings.  Join our mailing list to be kept up-to-date on information from the ASCCA.  You can also join us on Facebook for more photos, posts, and event notifications. 

I hope that you enjoy the new features of our website.  The Cross Conservation Area is open throughout the Fall and Winter for hiking and snowshoeing, as well as our Conservation Discovery Education Programs, which are in full swing for Fall.  Check back here soon!

- By Christina Keough, Stakeholder Communications Coordinator

“The future will belong to the nature-smart – those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual world with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need. ”

-Richard Louv - Author of Lost Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle

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area wildlife + plants

Dreamy Dusky Wing
Erynnis icelus

Habitat: The Dreamy Dusky Wing can be seen mid-May to early July throughout Alberta.  It is primarily a prairie species that can be found where the forest and grasslands meet and around shrubby areas. 

Description: A small, dull coloured butterfly, it is the most moth-like of Alberta butterflies.  It is usually hard to distinguish between other Dusky Wings however the Dreamy...

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