After learning that the lake levels at Canyon Ferry were quite low, Richard and I took a trip north yesterday. We began our exploration on Lower Ray Creek Rd out of Townsend on the east side of the lake. Indeed the levels were quite low! The inlet between ponds 2 and 3 was mostly dry and green but as we walked out the dike and closer to the lake itself we did locate some shorebirds: about 30 Killdeer, 8 Spotted Sandpipers, 2 Greater and 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 15 Baird's Sandpiper, 15 Wilson's Phalaropes and thanks to Richard's keen eye, 2 Wilson's Snipe hiding in the lush green. But the real highlight of the east side was the amazing gathering of at least 2500 Franklin 's Gulls on Pond 2. The water levels in the pond were quite low and gulls were loafing everywhere.
After lunch we parked near the single brick silo on the west side of the lake and walked in on the south end of the dike road that surrounds pond 4. We found the water levels in the river delta and pond 4 equally low but they didn't seem to be supporting anything of particular interest at this point in time. We did not explore the dike road off of Canton Road .
This is the first time in several years that there has been mud to greet the early shorebird arrivals at Canyon Ferry. Bob Martinka has compiled a bird list and guide to the area at: http://www.mtaudubon.org/birdwatching/documents/Birding%20Hotspots/Canyon_Ferry_Bird_List.pdf
If you go, go early to beat the heat and be prepared for a walk!
Cheers and good eBirding,