Mid-summer sightings on Goat Creek and Spray River

by Bob Truman on September 1, 2017

in Animal tracks & sightings, Bike

Post image for Mid-summer sightings on Goat Creek and Spray River

-Can you spot the pine marten in the above photo?-

I’ve biked here a couple times in the past week and had some interesting wildlife encounters. Not anything dramatic like a grizzly bear, but fascinating smaller creatures and even some two-legged ones.

Grouse hen on Goat creek

I saw the pine marten cross the Spray River trail in front of me and scamper up a tree. They seem like curious little animals, the way they tilt their head and check on you every few seconds.

Spotting a grouse hen and her chicks is always a reason to stop and just watch and listen. I’m always concerned for their safety because they seem so unafraid, and you can get within a few feet of them. As we’ve seen in the winter, they will come right up and start harassing you. Last winter I posted about the male grouse on Lodgepole who displayed some real attitude. 

Cooling off at the Spray river where Goat Creek ends and Spray river west begins

The hen was on the trail by herself, but after about 30 seconds, the chicks started appearing and four of them crossed the trail and disappeared into the foliage on the other side. All the time, mother hen is making her pleasant little clucking noises. 

The 9K bridge is a great place to get off your bike and dip your toes in the cool waters of the Spray river. It would be the perfect place to eat your lunch while admiring the spectacular scenery.

Hiking on Spray River West, Eloise and Anne are from Paris, France.

I always enjoy meeting people on the trail and discovering where they are from. Eloise and her mom Anne are from Paris, France and are here for a couple weeks, enjoying the sights of Banff and Jasper.  

In the photos below, you can see why we are dodging rocks on Goat Creek in the early ski season, and as many of us did last winter, picked a lot of rocks. Some of the bigger ones are embedded, and it would take a mini-excavator to dig them out. Most of them are on the first kilometre after you pass the Banff boundary. 

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