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May 6 2011

My afternoon walk on Friday May 6 was my first walk to the people bridge below Rafter's Landing this spring. It turned out to be quite pleasant, and with a number of interesting highlights. It was a bit cool when clouds covered the sun and a breeze was blowing, but it was also quite warm when neither of those were true. As is my usual habit, I started out heading east along the south side of the North Saskatchewan River.

My first stop was on a bench overlooking the river valley, by the houses north of the Old Timers Log Cabin. There I watched a fellow with a radio-controlled styrofoam glider. He said it was his first time at that spot, but he seemed to be doing pretty well. A bit risky, since bad winds could result in his plane on the river valley wall, where it would be tricky to retrieve it.

On continuing down to Rafter's Landing, where the riverboat, The Edmonton Queen, is usally docked, I was surprised to see her missing. There were no cars in the parking lot, which would be the case if she was out on a cruise. I still don't know why she was gone.

Looking across the river I happened to spot some workers on the glass roof of the Shaw Conference Centre. Looks like a tricky spot to be working!

Going across the people bridge I encountered construction in Louise Mckinnon Park - they appear to be extending the concrete walk and metal rails and benches on the bottom level walkway by the river. I had to do a detour higher up the bank.

On leaving the park, heading south and west, I found another bench to sit on, and watched a Canada Goose wandering around and eating grass. It seemed pretty tame, which is not surprising - they stay in the city all year and encounter lots of people.

The goose started heading in my direction, so I tried to take a video of it as it approached. Unfortunately, in the bright sunlight I missed the indicator on the screen that told me I had to push another button to start recording. However, I did get a video of the goose wandering off.

Heading back south and west, I was going along a trail by the river when something moved a few feet away - it was a beaver, and a good sized one too. Unfortunately, it saw me when I saw it, and by the time I got my phone out of my pocket and ready to take a picture, the beaver was gone. I went to where it had been and looked down the bank, but couldn't see it. I think that's the closest I've ever seen a beaver from!

Walking further, I saw a pair of Mallard Ducks in a drain runoff. I tried to get close to them to get a picture, but they weren't sitting still for that. This is the best I could get. Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese are fairly common in Edmonton, especially along the river. We also get grebes, I believe.

At the final nice spot with a bench, I was sitting listening to a woodpecker and a songbird, looking across at the opposite river-bank, when I saw something moving. It was a bunch of 3 or 4 rabbits chasing each other around through the trees. I couldn't see any details at that distance, but the flashes of white and the way they were bounding along convinced me that they were indeed rabbits.

After that, the next interesting stuff was the ongoing demolition of the Rossdale Power plant. I gots lots of pictures of that, but many are not very good because of the obstructing safety fence with additional fine mesh shielding.

The one remaining thing I saw was a fairly large rail maintainance truck running north across the top of the high level bridge. I guess the group that runs the trolleys from Old Strathcona to the south of downtown has contracted with some folks to do maintainance. I saw the same truck closeup earlier in the week, but it wasn't on the track at the time.

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