I spent a long,arduous but enjoyable day out birding and hiking.I probably hiked some 10-12 miles starting at Lumsden Beach on the bike trail then out to Valeport and the Big Valley Nature Conservancy.
My plan was just to visit the BV NCC but I wasn't able to find the road access to it.In speaking with a gentlemen in Lumsden Beach he said the only way in was to hike in from there or Valeport.There is apparently a way to drive in but you need to get permission from the landowner.Well no one enjoys a good hike more than me so I thought why not, should be interesting.
Things started off very well as I picked up a pair of Common Loons very close to the beach.It was pretty strange but exciting to hear loons calling in early Spring.There was good numbers of diving and dabbling ducks and I believe every native species was accounted for.I saw both Western and Horned Grebes,no eared or pie billed.I was fairly certain I was hearing a Red necked calling several times though.
Today I saw but 3 pairs of Common Merganser.Earlier this week I had found about 10 pairs and one pair of gorgeous Red breasted Mergansers which appeared to be involved in some type of courtship display.This is the best views I have ever had of this species and they allowed me some nice photo opps.
I saw many Fraklin's Gulls passing over today and a couple Bonaparte's as well.There appeared to be a pretty good sized gull roost gathering on the ice at the time of my departure at 7.30(about 300 birds)
Birds of prey seen included 4 Redtailed Hawk,2 Swainson's,5 Northern Harrier and 2 American Kestrel.I watched a pair of Harriers in the conservancy site involved in some courtship and these usually silent birds were quite vocal.
Another exciting find was Ruffed Grouse.I was speaking to Brett on the phone telling him I found one today.I had seen maybe 3 or 4 in Southern Sask.prior to this.I ended up finding 2 more after I spoke to him.:-)
Some other sightings Song Sparrow,12,Tree Sparrow 3, BC Chickadee 2,Northern Flicker,1 Eastern Phoebe heard 2 calling.Saw my first one at the Wascana Marsh a couple days ago.I saw 2 Belted Kingfisher at the Beaver Ponds and a 3rd just east of here.3 Groups of Tundra swan passed over me today.60 or so American White Pelican soaring about.20 DC Cormorant.
I got my first Vesper Sparrows of the year on my way out.I was fairly certain I was hearing one in song.Then I had one pop up on the fence along the roadside.
I certainly enjoyed seeing some wildlife on my walk today :
Coyote 2, One passed right in front of me at the Conservancy
Red Fox 1 sitting near the top of a hill on the bike trail,just east of Lumsden Beach.
Least Chipmunk 7 or 8 in the same place as the Fox...hmm
Franklin's Ground Squirrel 1 at the Conservancy
White tailed Jackrabbit 1
White tailed deer 25
Mule Deer 7
Beaver makes an appearance at the ponds slapping his tail at me
Muskrat at Valeport
Think that's about it
Have a nice weekend everyone,