I have had Neil Young's 2010 album Le Noise in my vehicle since its release and I must have listened to it a thousand times. I love all the cuts on the album, but one of the songs in particular "struck a chord" with me, that song is "Rumblin". Here are some of the lyrics:
I can feel the weather changing
I can see it all around, all around
Can't you feel that new wind blowing?
Don't you recognize that sound that sound, that sound?
And the earth is slowly spinning, spinning slowly, slowly changing
I feel something in the air
So what has "Rumblin" got to do with my photography? Well, I feel something in the air too. The rapid and serious decline in songbirds in North America has been well documented. Every year the diversity of species and numbers of birds I see at the places I return to is obviously reduced. However, I sense that there are other sweeping changes in the prevalence and movements of many other species here in the foothills of Alberta. For example, I saw only a couple of Great Grey Owls this winter, Grizzly bears sightings have been quite uncommon this spring, skunks are showing up where they haven't been seen before, no winter finches were identified in our Christmas bird count, Woodland Caribou sightings are way down. These are anecdotal of course but they are still valid observations in my opinion. I drove the bumper to bumper traffic on Hwy 16 west through Jasper National Park and into Mount Robson Provincial Park this long weekend and was shocked at the damage done to the coniferous forest by Mountain Pine Beetle, the once verdant green forest has turned to red. The spread of the beetle is believed to be largely due to milder winter conditions in the western areas of the Canadian boreal forest.
If you want to photograph wildlife you have to be an optimist and you have to be determined, it is a prerequisite. I accept that there are good and bad years, there are winners and there are losers. I was very happy to hear on the news yesterday that Beaverhill Lake east of Edmonton which had been completely dried up has water again due to recent heavy rainfall in the region, and the waterfowl, gulls and other birds are back too. What a good news story.! I'm thankful for the hard working, diligent biologists and techs that study and monitor the environment. I hope the politicians and decision makers use their data to help manage the changes that are occurring. I have to find a way to do my part too....we all must.
Here's a photo I have entitled "Rumblin"