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Friday Birding

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  • Kathy Hedegard
    Morning People: Yesterday I did a fairly wide sweep of the area between Estevan and north of Stoughton to include Gooseberry Lake and the NWR end of Moose
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 1, 2007
      Morning People:

      Yesterday I did a fairly wide sweep of the area between Estevan and north of Stoughton to include Gooseberry Lake and the NWR end of Moose Mountain Lake It was windy, dusty and hot. Scoping was pretty much out of the question.

      I collected 66 species, including those noticed in my yard. I thought the Hummingbirds had left but there were two buzzing around the feeders late last night.

      I don't believe I found anything terribly remarkable; that said, I came across a large flock of crows, probably 100+ individuals. These were the only crows I saw all day. Huge flocks of Blackbird sp. are congregating in a few places as well. They seem to be mostly Red-winged, with fewer Yellow-Headed and Cowbirds and possibly Brewer's, depending on whether the group was in the open field or at a dugout.

      The shore birds were limited. There were a few Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs in most appropriate places; one flock of 15+ Semipalmated Sandpipers and only a very few Wilson's Phalaropes. Only 1 Great Blue Heron and no egrets.

      In the raptor news, 10-12 Swainson's Hawks, mostly in the southern part of my trip; I didn't see any Red-tailed Hawks until I got close to Gooseberry Lake area. I saw 2 Merlins, one of which had snaffled a mouse; several Kestrels and one Sharp-shinned Hawk.

      And, there was one flock of Sandhill Cranes, yay. There were 55+ birds in various plummages. Two were also doing a bit of leaping around, which I find so delightful to watch.

      What else? Mountain Bluebirds (2), Grey Partridge, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Ring-necked Pheasant, all the waterfowl species including 1 Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead and a few Common Goldeneye. Most of the Red-necked Grebes have dispersed, but a few were still at the areas close to the road. Quite a few Pied-billed Grebes, and a couple Earred Grebes. All the grebes nest in the area.

      All in all, I collected 66 species including what I noticed in my yard. I thought the hummingbirds had left, but two are still buzzing around. There's Yellow, Tennessee (I think) and Canada Warblers in the treetops this morning. Gosh my windows are dirty - guess I know what I better be doing today.

      Hope everyone has a great long weekend of birding (or whatever the activities are).
      Kathy in Estevan






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    • Kathy Hedegard
      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.
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 8, 2007
        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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      • Bob
        Kathy Excellent sightings at Coronach. Nice number of Prairie Falcons.Unfortunately, the temperature related mist does not allow very great looks at these
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 8, 2007
          Kathy
          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
          Regina


          ----- 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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        • Scott Wilson
          Hi Saskbirders, The lakes are frozen, and even the connecting rivers are mostly solid. On or near a couple of small patches of water I saw 3 Bald Eagles 2
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 8, 2007
            Hi Saskbirders,
            The lakes are frozen, and even the connecting rivers are mostly solid. On or
            near a couple of small patches of water I saw
            3 Bald Eagles
            2 Canada geese
            3 Goldeneyes
            10 mallards
            1 Coot
            1 Hooded merganser
            1 Ruddy duck
            1 Magpie

            And heard chickadees, ravens and a Hairy (?) woodpecker.

            Best wishes,
            Scott
          • Kathy Hedegard
            I went for a long walk down to the river this afternoon. Robins! I heard my first Am. Robins of the year as soon as I left my house. There was a flock of
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 27, 2009
              I went for a long walk down to the river this afternoon.

              Robins! I heard my first Am. Robins of the year as soon as I left my house. There was a flock of 25-30 singing and chirping near Riverbend. It was so good to hear and see.

              Also: Bald Eagle (1)
              Rough-legged Hawk (1)
              Blue Jays (2, in town)
              Black-capped Chickadees
              American Crows (heard in the distance)
              Horned Larks
              Dark-eyed Juncos (many, both in town and along the river)
              American Tree Sparrows (5-6, in my yard)
              Common Redpolls (14-15, in my yard)
              Canada Geese (many pairs flying, a few pairs in the rushes near the sewer lagoons, checking out nesting spots?)

              1 Franklin's Ground Squirrel spotted.

              Kathy in Estevan




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            • Kathy Hedegard
              Thanks for the nice comments, Val and Bob. I thought our CBC was really enjoyable - a little different this year without Guy but fun anyway. Maybe Estevan
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 15, 2010
                Thanks for the nice comments, Val and Bob. I thought our CBC was really enjoyable - a little different this year without Guy but fun anyway. Maybe Estevan has a birding community after all.

                I went out in search of Snowy Owls today. I haven't seen any in the area since before Christmas. I did find two, both lightly barred individuals, some 40-50 kms away, south of Torquay.

                I stopped counting Horned Larks after about 10 minutes of driving. They are everywhere in flocks of 20-30 birds.

                Other Birds:

                Prairie Falcon (1) north of Bromhead
                Sharp-tailed Grouse (2)
                Gray Partridge (23)
                Snow Buntings (didn't count)
                Canada Geese (also didn't count)
                Great Horned Owl (1) a small fellow, south of Bromhead
                Ring-necked Pheasants (7)
                Euro Starlings and Rock Pigeons

                It's a curious day; strong winds are blowing snow across the roads and the temperature is high enough to be melting the snow on the pavement. Going to be pretty icy in some spots along #18 West.

                Good Birding
                Kathy in Estevan

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