Just when Bob thanks everyone for sending in their sightings in a
timely matter, I screw things up as usual!
A quick (??) summary of my final couple trips in September, prior to
the football game last weekend.
While I worked train 402 (for the umpteenth time) to Watrous yet
again, it was very late due to many circumstances west of Biggar. As
a result Cond. Bob Foster, Trnmn. Rob Westhouse and I didn't get
called until 1015 in the a.m. A nice change. Of course, this meant
that I was unable to participate in Saskatoon's Annual Fall Bird
chase. I would have to contribute with "train birds" yet again.
Noteworthy on the first half of the trip was an ad. Sharp-shinned Hawk
in BigR and a nice Long-tailed Weasel at Hawoods siding.
For the record, from 1410 until 1710 I managed 25 species in the
S'toon birding area, which included sightings in our rail yard at the
west end of town and out to the edge of the Saskatoon birding area at
mile 156.6 (just east of Allan) on the Watrous Subdivision.
Broad-winged Hawk: My second bird seen this fall from the rails was
an adult sitting on a fence post 4 kms. west of Clavet.
Swainson's Hawk: One near Bradwell.
Red-tailed Hawk: 3 east of the city.
Merlin: A female briefly chasing pigeons in S'toon yard. When I
began birding in 1973, this species was known as Pigeon Hawk!
Gray Partridge: Covey of 5 near Allan.
Yellow-rumped Warbler: 11 in S'toon Yard.
Palm Warbler: 7 also in S'toon Yard.
There was also a late R. Ground Squirrel in S'toon Yard as well.
From Allan to our destination, not much else was seen. We went off
duty in Watrous at 1810 hrs.
We were called for train 303 home at 0215 hrs. Two big engines, 8000
tons and just over 7000 feet long. Unfortunately, our lead engine
quit working due to a computer malfunction not long after we left
Watrous and it took us two hours to struggle to Saskatoon. We picked
up another unit there and struggled into the strong winds which blew
all night, arriving in Biggar at 0940.
Great Horned Owl: One at Young 0340.
Bald Eagle: My first bird of the fall was an adult harrassing a large
flock of Snow Geese (unsuccessfully) near Leney siding.
Snow Geese: 3500+ being chased by the above predator.
We also had a cow Moose at Eagle Creek east of Kinley and a herd of 12
Pronghorn Antelope at Leney.
Before crashing out for an afternoon nap, there were a few birds in
the back yard at 322:
Swainson's Thrush: 1. As I was checking the garden with binocs from
the house, this bird hit one of our west side windows. It scared the
hell out of me, as I never saw it coming! The bird must have been
coming to our Schubert Cherry which is just outside the window and
mis-judged the landing. It fluttered across the yard following this
incident and landed in one of our Golden Elders. When I checked again
twenty minutes later, it was gone---hopefully not too worse for wear.
Other birds included:
Tennessee Warbler: 1
Palm Warbler: 1
N. Waterthrush: 1
Believe it or not I did the 402/303 thing again on the 23rd. However,
there was pretty much nothing worth reporting, so will leave it at
that. My mileage quota for the month was "in" and so I had the rest
of the week to myself. Many chores ensued.
Birds, etc. of note at 322 during that stretch were:
Am. Tree Sparrow: 1
A. T. Sparrow: 2
Mourning Cloak Butterfly: 1
Blue Jay: 1
B.-c. Chickadee: 4
Com. Yellowthroat: 1 female
A. T. Sparrow: 2
Also for the record before signing off is that I did the usual two
trains again on the 30th and again didn't see anything
earth-shattering. Ooops, I guess that some of the above would qualify
for that statement as well!
Time for a nap, as 402 will be leaving Wainwright soon and my name is
tatooed on it yet again!