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The Homestretch
with Doug Dirks
& Jenny Howe

Brian Keating: Bats in Banff & Mexico

This week Homestretch naturalist Brian Keating shares an exciting bat discovery in Banff PLUS another very cool bat sighting in Mexico. Brian sent along the photos attached below -- and he assures us that the close-up of him holding a bat is a Mexican specimen he found dead on a cave floor. Brian says that when you're in a cave with over 1,000 bats, there is a good chance of finding at least one dead one. But this find allowed Brian and researchers to positively identify the Pallas's long-tongued bat species!

Pallas's long-tongued bat close up cluster in Mexico 2016.jpg Pallas's long-tongued bat with Brian in Mexico 2016.JPG Pallas's long-tongued bat in cave in Mexico 2016.jpg


Main Streets: 17th Avenue S.W.

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In the final installment of our Main Streets series, we head to 17th Avenue S.W. It is lined on both sides with trendy bars and restaurants, boutiques and big box stores. You can get a spa treatment, visit the dentist or hair salon--within steps of your home if you happen to live in one of the many condos and apartment buildings nearby.

It's a busy place and it's certainly one of Calgary's most popular main streets.


Brian Keating: Dolphins and sea lions on the Baja Peninsula

Homestretch naturalist, Brian Keating, wrapped-up his Baja trip last week and is finally back in Calgary. He returns to studio today with a few leftover stories about the dolphin and sea lion experiences he had on his trip.

Here are two segments from Brian's journal:

The Dolphins of the Golden Triangle:

Two species of dolphin were repeatedly seen at various times during the day, the bottle-nosed and the long-beaked common dolphins. Many individuals rode the ship's bow wave, sometimes several dozen at a time!

The compression wave that the bow creates mimics the same wave that would be found at the nose of any of the largest great whales when they swim. It is suggested that the dolphins' bow-riding behaviour is simply the same behaviour that would be found when they might ride the bow-wave of a great whale!

We were soon in the midst of what could only be described as a full-on celebration of life and joy. Dolphins were spinning out of the water and hitting the surface with a resounding slap, others were lob-tailing, making a similar sound. Often we could hear their communication squeaks and clicks.

These agile and intelligent aquatic missiles would dart to our Zodiac location, bow ride with us for a time, and then veer off with such energy and enthusiasm. We laughed and yelled the entire time, encouraging them on.

We were ecstatic, and became jubilant children of the sea! It was a grand finale to a remarkable week of exploration. Likely 1,000 were in the "super-pod", possibly more!


Brian also encountered multiple sea lions:

For about an hour, we had dancing lions all around us, sometimes up to four at a time. Several times I felt a tug on my fin, and sure enough, a goof-ball youngster was the culprit. I had my home-made GoPro stick fully extended, and this provided a real toy of interest for them. They would swim up, open their mouths wide, and clamp down on the camera, but playfully, and without malice. Several times I could feel a sea lion on top of me, essentially 'riding' me, and a head would appear over my shoulder. It would playfully take my wrist or arm in its mouth. Again, no pressure applied, so it was as if a puppy was playing with us!

This kind of inter-species interaction in the wild is rare, but such a privilege to experience. The only other place I know where one can usually expect to swim with sea lions is in the Galapagos.



Main Streets: Inglewood

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Inglewood is considered Calgary's original main street--it's the city's oldest neighbourhood. It was established next to Fort Calgary in 1875. First known as Brewery Flats or East Calgary, Inglewood was re-named after the homestead that belonged to Colonel James Walker. The area is now a very popular gathering spot for Calgarians and visitors to the city. It's home to the Calgary Zoo, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and the area is filled with antique stores, trendy restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques. That's where our Main Streets series takes us today. It's part of our CBC special series, Calgary at a Crossroads, looking at the true culture and character of our city.


The Strategists: Energy East, royalty review and pipelines


The Strategists joined Doug Dirks in the Homestretch studio this afternoon.


What's Cooking: Cured Duck Breast & Citrus Salad

CZxArfYWEAMHZxW.jpgThis salad is served as part of a beer dinner at Calgary's Yellow Door Bistro.

Executive Chef Jan Hansen shares his recipe with Doug Dirks.

Cured Duck Breast



2   TBS rock salt
1   TBS freshly ground black pepper
½  TBS white sugar
1   Tsp chili flakes
½  TBS finely chopped rosemary
½  TBS finely chopped thyme
2   duck organic breasts (approx. 500g)


  1. Combine all ingredients together except for the duck breast in a bowl and mix together. Rub the mixture into the duck breast, then loosely wrap in parchment paper and place on  tray in the fridge.
  2. After 4 days take the meat out and truss it with butcher's string. Tie the string 1cm apart from each other nice and tight. Tie an extra-long piece of string to each end of the duck so that you can suspend it.
  3. Make room in your fridge to hang each duck breast and for a tray to sit under it and collect any juices. Allow to cure for at least 2 weeks before eating. It will keep in the fridge for 3 - 6 months.
  4. Remove string after 2 weeks and slice very thinly.


Recipe by:

Jan Hansen Executive Chef

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High River Disaster Recovery Program Advocacy Committee

Many residents of High River are still waiting for their claims to be resolved 2.5-years after the 2013 flood. Now an advocacy committee is calling on the province to finish the job and fix the system. Jim Ross is Chairs the committee and he joined Doug Dirks.


Liberal Leader David Swann talks about David McQueen and mental health in Alberta

More details are emerging about the man who opened fire on a Calgary Transit driver and Calgary Police in Huntington Hills over the weekend. Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann had a personal connection to David McQueen. He spoke with Doug Dirks.


High Performance Rodeo: Jack Charles v. The Crown

Many words have been used to describe Australian Aboriginal actor Jack Charles. He's a performer, a musician, a potter and a respected Aboriginal elder. But he's also been homeless, he was an addict and a thief who spent time in prison. A one-man-show based on Jack's life will run as part of the High Performance Rodeo this week. A documentary about his life is also being screened. Jack Charles joined Doug Dirks in studio.


Parenting: Age Appropriate Chores

One of the most frustrating chores for a parent is to get their kids to do their chores in a timely manner. But there are ways to manage that often challenging battle of wills. Julie Freedman Smith is with She joined Doug Dirks in studio with some advice.

Age Appropriate Chores 2- 4

Age appropriate chores 5 +