My Experience With Nature

Blue-winged teal Riding Mountain National Park

Blue-winged teal swims in marsh pothole

My name is Amanda Walker and I am from Minnedosa Collegiate in Manitoba (Canada) spending the day learning about Earth Rhythms for a Career Preparation course with my school. Today, I had the pleasure to view the nature  and wonderful sights of Riding Mountain National Park. I spent the day with Earth Rhythms president, Celes Davar. This afternoon Celes took me on a wild adventure as we toured the wonderful park, and on our way we were gifted by seeing many of Manitoba’s wildlife citizens. We saw many birds such as “Ring-necked ducks”, “Green-Winged Teals”, “Great Blue Herons”, and Canada Geese, a sight for everyone to enjoy.

Canada goose on nest_Riding Mountain National Park

Female Canada goose hides on nest

Our day made me understand a lot more about nature and appreciate all that beauty Manitoba has to offer. For example, we viewed many of the ponds that surround the park and took time to discover the wildlife among them. I realize that even on a cloudy day in April, Manitoba still has so much to show for itself and that shouldn’t be taken for-granted by anyone; especially those who are honored to live here.

I realized that you can return here many times, seeing wildlife in new places and under different lighting conditions. For example, the evening light on a white-tailed deer feeding in early spring is a site that is quite common within the park.

-By Amanda Walker, Minnedosa Collegiate


Fisher investigates bird feeder

A neighbour – Venton Beatty – from north and east of Erickson, Manitoba recently sent me some photos of a fisher (a member of the weasel family) investigating his bird feeder early this spring.

Fisher climbs poplar

Fisher climbs poplar to get seed from feeder

Fishers are increasingly common in the Riding Mountain National Park area. We have heard about several recent observations including a fisher that boldly came out of the aspen forests and snatched a sleeping elderly cat from its perch on the house deck. Neither the cat nor the fisher live to tell the, that’s another story!

In communication with Venton, he said ” we noticed it around noon on Friday, March 26 – it seemed to be mainly relaxing and looking around. And spent some time eating sunflower seeds. It stayed for about 20 – 30 minutes…”

As you can tell, it is a tree climber, and is a large cousin to the pine marten. Males are 90 – 120 cm in length (35 – 47 inches). A large, small mammal. They are omnivores and generalists, as this Fisher Wikipedia post will detail.

Thanks Venton, for passing on these images.

Fisher_riding mountain national park

Fisher on top of winter bird feeder

Riding Mountain Photo Safaris: During all seasons of the year, our Earth Rhythms guides will take you out into Riding Mountain National Park for short driving and walking photo safaris, gentle bike photo safaris, and snowshoeing to look for Riding Mountain’s birds, mammals, and evidence of their activities. Do join us!

Spring migrants arrive

Today, my wife and I were out for our daily walk just south of Riding Mountain National Park. Nine Sandhill cranes were calling overhead as they floated on a thermal and a beautiful turkey vulture (our first of this season) tilted in just over the aspens.

Purple finches, dark-eyed juncos and siskens are taking advantage of the last seed at the feeders.

Purple Finch male eating seed

Male purple finch eats seed – arrives in Manitoba April 2010

I video-taped a strikingly handsome (Click on the the link for details about its range, behaviour and its beautiful spring callFox Sparrow feeding on the ground. You will hear primarily evening grosbeaks and pine siskens and the chittering of dark eyed juncos in this video. At the end of the short video, I slowed down the tape so that you can see the fox sparrow as it takes off.

Valdy House Concert Video

I’ve posted the live Valdy Home Routes House Concert in two segments. Shot in HD video, this house concert in Onanole, Manitoba was sold out, with many folks going down memory lane. Valdy was a part of our growing up, our many years at the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s kid’s stage with our children, and he continues to perform almost 200 live concerts a year.

As you will see in Valdy House Concert – Part 1 and Valdy House Concert – Part 2, the evening was full of new and old songs, audience participation, and lots of great laughter. He is a Canadian treasure and as a fellow folkie on the house concert circuit suggested recently, he should be nominated for an Order of Canada. I agree!

Here is Part  1 of the house concert, to tease you..Enjoy!