Grasslands National Park Animals

Wood Mountain
-Road Killed Rattle Snake

There are not a lot of rattlesnakes around the park, especially the East Block of the park where Wood Mountain is. Nick, who is with Brenda showing off the snake skin, almost stepped on one by accident last week and it didn’t even try to bite him.

The snakes are mostly interested in these guys
Wood Mountain

Watch these videos, as the numbers get bigger at the end of the titles.


Deer at a gravel pit. Fossils in this pit go back to at least 13 Million years ago, and contain horse, rhino, and other animals from ancient Saskatchewan well before ice ages scraped much of the province flat like it is around Regina.

Go To Wood Mountain #exploresask

The Wood Mountain Folk Festival is today, Saturday Aug. 24, 2013, at the Mergel Ranch. On Friday I drove down from Regina in my $50 rental car (for 3 days, from Enterprise). It’s getting 5.7L/100km highway driving in ECO mode. 2013 Elantra, Hyundai. I successfully passed a semi along the way in the hills.
Limerick, SK

Limerick, SK

Cloud finger at sunset
Is this a finger? Not photoshopped.

I looked through Limerick’s centennial garden.
Limerick, SK

Limerick, SK

If this wasn’t so far away, I’d take many more photos on this hill at Lakenheath.
Luthern Peace Church 1922 pano

Here’s a bell I hadn’t seen before, and the Melaval, Sask. inscription surprised me!
Lakenheath, SK

It hailed in Assiniboia while I was at a steak fundraiser dinner. $15, but my parents treated me.

Still plenty of time to make it to Folk Fest from Regina, it’s under 3 hours drive, and there’s only gravel for the last eleven miles. The music starts in the evening, after a farmers’ market. The music is $45, and includes free camping on site at the festival, on the ranch.

Aurora in Wood Mountain

One of the advantages to small-town Saskatchewan, is that it’s easier to escape light pollution than it is in a city like Regina. I was fortunate to be out of the city on June 29th in the very early morning, so have many fantastic aurora (Northern Lights) photos and animations to share. A south pointing solar wind storm was hitting the magnetosphere, so we got very pretty lights.

They appeared even to the south of me, at about 49 degrees latitude. Kansas saw them apparently.
Aurora from Wood Mountain
– Here’s one from overhead, as a satellite streaks south.

Moon from Wood Mountain
– The Moon was looking more super than usual, as the sky was mostly clear. This is max zoom on my camera, 48X digital. 12X is actual magnification.

Aurora from Wood Mountain
– These streaks of light were an experiment as I ran through the frame twice, holding my cell phone flashlight app turned to police lights mode.

Aurora from Wood Mountain

Aurora from Wood Mountain
– The church has become disused for religious services it hosted for Catholics and United, for more than three decades. The grain elevator behind the church needs saving, as it’s in the cross hairs for demolition if a group of interested people don’t step forward to give it a new direction. The Grain Elevator, a NFB film, was filmed in this particular elevator.

Dark Sky Preserve at Wood Mountain

Dark Sky Preserve Sunset

I found a new way to appreciate my home town through the eyes of astronomers this weekend. Also, I used the astronomers’ telescopes, which is a great way to look from their perspective on the universe. Wood Mountain is the gateway to the East Block of the Grasslands National Park which is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve. The Park and the RASC Regina branch had Peter McMahon from SkyNews Magazine come out to check out the park and give a presentation.
Dark Sky Preserve

As the presentation ended, uncommon noctilucent clouds lit up on the northern horizon, illuminated by the set Sun.

Noctilucent Clouds at Dark Sky Preserve

RASC
RASC had people from Regina, Saskatoon, and even Port Hope, ON attending the star party.

As everyone was eagerly photographing the clouds, I saw a satellite zooming up from the west, and it was soon confirmed to be the International Space Station. It made another pass an hour and a half later.

Dark Sky Preserve
I lost count how many satellites I saw. There was a binary pair, someone explained were US Military. There was an Iridium, known for its magnificent flare overhead. And I saw a meteor too.

Saturn
Saturn

The skies stayed perfectly clear for the next two hours, then some clouds and fog rolled in just before it started to rain around 2am Sunday morning.

If the rain on the tent hadn’t been so noisy, then these Leopard frogs would have been the noisiest background noise.
Leopard Frog

Meadowlarks
Meadowlarks sing very loudly and distinctively. I enjoy imitating their tweeting with a whistle.

I’ll be going on next year’s Dark Sky Preserve tour of southern Saskatchewan, that’s for sure! The weather looked rainy from Regina, but it cleared up as soon as Saturday afternoon hit in the Park. The campers who tried Friday night too, ended up a little rained on, near Val Marie. You never know what the weather will hold until that hour hits.

Cats On The Net

This one goes back a few years now…

April 6, 2006 Thursday
Final Edition
SASKATCHEWAN: Mayor’s approval rating with felines is suspect
BYLINE: The Star Phoenix

Residents of a village in southern Saskatchewan may want to be on the lookout for a cat that’s got a definite taste for politics.

The mayor of Wood Mountain says he spent three days in hospital last week receiving antibiotic treatment for an infection after the feline bit him.

Michael Klein says he was chomped while at the home of a business acquaintance. He perhaps should have seen it coming.

The same cat bit him a year earlier on the hand, forcing him to get antibiotics and a tetanus shot.

Klein says he is now fine, but the status of the cat is not so assured. It has disappeared.