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13303Re: [Saskbirds] Friday Birding

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  • Bob
    Dec 8, 2007
      Excellent sightings at Coronach. Nice number of Prairie Falcons.Unfortunately, the temperature related mist does not allow very great looks at these reservoirs as you mention.
      Hopefully, it will warm a little next week. However this La Nina winter will probably test my patience in that regard.

      There has got to be a Gyrfalcon, or several, around somewhere. Gardiner Dam is usually the most reliable location so I'll try for one there once it warms up and the days begin to get longer. Just now ,it's a dilemma as I always want to see what is about during the several hour journey to and from as well as arriving early enough to get the raptor action at the Dam itself. I've had my best luck early in the morning there when one or two may hunt the spillway or sit upon the nearby power structures.

      However, Gyrs can show up anywhere including Boundary Dam or the Weir or locations where there are Sharp-tailed Grouse or Gray Partridges or wintering waterfowl.

      I am so hoping for one of these this winter. Of course a white morph bird would be outstanding ! I am so envious of the bird sighted last year in Manitoba.

      Good Birding
      Bob Luterbach

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Kathy Hedegard
      To: Saskbirds
      Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2007 9:19 AM
      Subject: [Saskbirds] Friday Birding

      Morning Everyone:

      Yesterday I was out of my house early. I'm having some major renovations done to a couple rooms; the dust and general mayhem is incredible. Yes, happy holidays to me! What a dopey time to have this all happening. Other than the intent to be away the entire day, I had no particular destination in mind. After checking out local spots, I putzed down (mostly) gravel roads west - all the way to Coronach and eventually circled home. Total trip was 400 kms or so.

      I'm not very familiar with the reservoir associated with the Poplar River power plant (at Coronach); judging from the mist rising there is a winding canal of warm water keeping parts ice free. Besides easily getting to the hot water outlet from the plant, I couldn't find any 'good' access to the rest of the reservoir. The wind was bitterly cold and I wasn't inclined to do any great amount of walking. Fair weather birder, that's me.

      There were hundreds of Mallards and a few Canada Geese basking in the hot water at the outlet. Their heads were all white with frosty condensation. Quite a number of Canadas were flying around and feeding in the fields.

      By the way, the reservoir here at Boundary was completely shrouded in mist yesterday. The trees at the picnic area are covered in a thick frost - very picturesque.

      For me, the birds of note were 4 Prairie Falcons. First Winter sighting (**). Two were fairly close together, south of Torquay. Another was south of Gladmar and lastly, one was near Tribune on my way back home. All were perched on rooves of old wooden graineries.

      As I was topping the valley above the Burgess Ranch (on #18 highway west of the junction with #6), a Golden Eagle swooped into view. I think this was a 2nd year individual (according to tail colouring as per Sibley).

      To recap my sightings:

      4 Prairie Falcons **
      1 Golden Eagle **
      50-60 Ring-necked Pheasants
      ~200 Sharp-tailed Grouse
      1000s Snow Buntings
      3 Snowy Owls
      2 BB Magpies
      4 Great Horned Owls (3 large females and one tiny male)
      1 Merlin
      50+ Horned Larks **
      House Sparrows
      100s Mallards
      100s Canada Geese
      100s Rock Pigeons
      16-20 Huns, er, Grey Partridge - probably many more. Coveys of 6-10 birds make circles and tracks in the snow pecking around in the stubble for food and then settle into the scuffed up area very well camoflaged. Neat birds.

      I also saw 6-8 coyotes, 15 pronghorns, many mule and white-tailed deer, several jackrabbits.

      Kathy in Estevan

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