Early morning finds me out tramping through the grasslands of southeastern Alberta that overlook the Red Deer river valley.
Over the past 40 years, I have explored most all of the areas that the river flows through, although I have to say that the badland regions of southeastern AB may be my favorite and most visited.
The river originates on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, in the Sawback Range near the Skoki Valley inside Banff National Park, and after leaving the mountains, the river flows through the parkland regions of central AB, before winding its way through the Tolman Badlands Heritage Rangeland, Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park, Dry Island Corridor and Midland Provincial Park.
At Drumheller it is still flowing in a south-east direction, and then upon reaching and flowing through Dinosaur Provincial Park, the river turns east and flows to the AB/SK border, which it crosses at Empress, then flows for 16 kilometres through Saskatchewan before it merges into the South Saskatchewan River.
Enough with the river lessons, as on this day it was the grasslands where Sharp-tailed grouse live that had my attention, with the area that the photo finds me in nicely populated with them.
A day earlier these grasslands with the adjoining badlands that the river flows through, were covered in a thick fog creating the hoar frost that abounded on this morning.
Still, it was a stunningly beautiful morning to be spending time in the grasslands that are home to Sharp-tails.
Expand the photo for a closer look......