Day 163 – Terror in the Park   6 comments

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Edmonton. It was 24C with nary a cloud in the sky. I set out to Elk Island National Park (just outside town) to track down some bison. The park contains a large local population of wood bison and plains bison. I rock up to the park in late morning and I’m seriously the only person there. There were some guys doing some maintenance on the parklands, but they cleared out just as I got there. Not a problem though. I’m not looking for company. I’m looking for undisturbed wildlife. I gather my gear and I’m off.

At the entrance to the park, there are some friendly signs telling interested visitors about the bison, the population of the local group, how well they’re recovering from previous over-hunting and then come the warnings – wild animals, don’t approach, don’t get between bison, stay away from the males in particular, if you encounter a bison don’t try to scare it away just try to walk around it giving it a good 25 to 30m. They even include a nice photo of a kid running terrified from a charging bison. Nice.

Seriously though, they’re just bison. It’s like a big cow, right? Right?

Anyway, I set off into the bush. By the way, this is dense bush. The path is narrow and winding. If there are bison on this trail, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to walk around them. I’m not even sure I’d see one before I came around a corner and found myself standing on one’s tail. As I get started, I’m taking my time, looking carefully around in all directions not wanting to startle any bison into some unprovoked charging. As I get deeper into the hike, I see no signs of wildlife whatsoever. Sure there’s the odd bird, but nothing larger. Mostly just lots of bees. I’m picking up my pace and just glancing around a bit, seriously doubting the presence of bison in these woods.

An hour into my walk, nothing. Not a single sign of life. I’m feeling like maybe I’m in the wrong spot. I head back to my car and drive to another hiking trail. I set out with some hope knowing I’ve seen Elk on this trail before – no bison, but my hopes are still high. After another hour of hiking, I’ve now added a crow to the list of wildlife I’ve managed to spot. Lucky me. Just not my day.

Prepared to pack it in for the day, I start back to the trail head. I step across a little wooden bridge over a tine creek and suddenly there’s an eruption under my feet, there’s splashing, and a flurry of activity, I jump back startled clean out of my skin only to find… ducks. Yes, apparently I’ve been scared half to death by ducks. One momma duck and seven little ducklings. Cute, fuzzy, cuddly, quacking terrors in the park…

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6 responses to “Day 163 – Terror in the Park

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  1. That´s a funny post Mike, i guess the Bison will have to wait for another day!

  2. The duck & ducklings must have scared off the bison as well. Great story and accompanying photo. I like the blurred frame in frame.

  3. LOL!

  4. Great post & an excellent shot. Remember, just duck if you fear bison.

  5. Hahaha, totally cracked me up! I actually remember that park but don’t recall the ducks… 😛

  6. this is so beautiful

    Chloe [Photographer]

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