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Swift Current area

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  • M A
    Last Sunday (July 26) was a much nicer day than the HOT HOT of the past few days prior (High July 26 was 26.5C here!) That afternoon, Larry and I went for a
    Message 1 of 30 , Aug 1, 2009
      Last Sunday (July 26) was a much nicer day than the HOT HOT of the
      past few days prior (High July 26 was 26.5C here!) That afternoon,
      Larry and I went for a bit of a drive north and a bit west of the City.
      We saw most of the usual roadside birds... including Northern Harriers,
      Swainson's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, a couple Ferruginous Hawks,
      Killdeer, an Upland Sandpiper, Gulls, American Crows, 1 Loggerhead
      Shrike (out at the compressor station where I work!), Horned Larks, Barn
      Swallows, American Robins, European Starlings, Vesper Sparrows,
      Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, Yellow-headed Blackbirds,
      Brewer's Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, & House Sparrows.

      Along one gravel/dirt road, we saw 19 hawks hanging around all together
      -- a little over half of these hawks were in the air and the rest were
      sitting on fence posts... some appeared to be moulting. I think most
      were Red-tailed Hawks, though there were a couple Swainson's Hawks
      flying above.

      After that, we saw several more hawks... mostly Swainson's Hawks and a
      few Northern Harriers & Red-tailed Hawks. (The odd occasion I actually
      didn't keep track of numbers!)

      Going to and from work this week, we were seeing the 'usual' roadside
      birds on the grid roads... There is highway work being done on Hwy 32
      (finally!!!) so not seeing as much of the 'usuals'. We are starting to
      see more Crows together... a couple days this week, there were 12
      American Crows together on the highway (hanging around near the
      Fosterton road/ Hwy 32 intersection). One afternoon, coming home, we saw
      20-25 Pronghorn laying in a field near the grid road we were traveling
      on (we always see anywhere from 1-6 or 7, so the 20-25 were an added bonus!)

      Out at work, we have the usuals as well... including a number of
      Western Kingbirds and a few Eastern Kingbirds (seems to be a good year
      for WEKI and EAKI out in our compressor station yard this year...
      again!) The Barn Swallows are still on eggs on the side of the office
      building -- as mentioned in previous posts, this is their 2nd nesting
      this summer (for the 2nd year in a row!!) Certainly a productive pair!
      The eggs should be hatching soon. The summer student reports almost
      daily that there are a number of Killdeer running around all over the
      place out there, as well as a few Mourning Doves still on nests. She
      found an abandoned B.Oriole nest - one egg was broken, on the ground and
      no BAOR nearby. I have been seeing and hearing the male off and on but
      have not seen the female for quite awhile.

      - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current
      50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
      http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
    • M A
      Going to and from work, we are also noticing a change in the species being seen, and the numbers. Road work is pretty much completed on the section of HWY 32
      Message 2 of 30 , Aug 22, 2009
        Going to and from work, we are also noticing a change in the species
        being seen, and the numbers. Road work is pretty much completed on the
        section of HWY 32 that we travel daily so now we have the opportunity to
        see more again.

        Roadside birds this week include:

        10-20 Canada Geese (seen at least 1 or 2 flocks daily all week!)
        5-10 Gray Partridges
        5-7 Sharp-tailed Grouse
        1-6 Hawks hawks hawks --- all over the place (Northern Harriers,
        Swainson's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks.... and unidentified likely juveniles)
        1 Prairie Falcon (Aug 20 on the way home from work along Hwy 32)
        2-5 /or 6 Killdeer
        4 or 5 Marbled Godwits
        flocks of 10-50 Gulls (species unknown)
        flocks of 2-10 Mourning Doves
        a few Western Kingbirds (usually 1 or 2 at a time)
        flocks of 2-20 Eastern Kingbirds
        flocks of 1-14 Black-billed Magpies
        flocks of 5-32 American Crows
        Horned Larks
        flocks of 3-10 Western Meadowlarks
        flocks of 25-75 Blackbirds

        1 Coyote (Aug 18 A.M.)
        a few Richardson's Ground Squirrels
        2-3 Mule Deer
        1-15 Pronghorn

        Our summer student also saw a Great Horned Owl (again!) sitting in a
        window opening of an old barn just up the road from the Compressor
        Station on August 20 when she was going back into town!! I have been out
        at the Compressor Station for almost 3 1/2 years now and have been
        watching that old barn constantly, always expecting to see an owl there!
        She has seen it 3 times in the past month and I have yet to see it.

        Out at the Compressor Station, we are seeing a difference as well...

        We have only 2 or 3 Swainson's Hawks flying over, Mourning Doves, a
        couple Western Kingbirds now (we had 15+!!), 10+ Eastern Kingbirds, 4 or
        5 adult Barn Swallows plus a nest of 5 nestlings almost ready to fledge
        probably this weekend (right beside our office deck), several American
        Robins, a flock of 40+ Cedar Waxwings (haven't seen them all summer
        until yesterday), Brewer's Blackbirds, a few Common Grackles, too many
        House Sparrows, a few Richardson's Ground Squirrels, & a White-tailed
        Jack Rabbit.

        Yesterday morning (Aug 21), we also had 16 male Yellow-headed Blackbirds
        fly over the office building while we were out on the deck having coffee.

        At the beginning of the week, one of the guys was out doing line
        locates... On his way to a locate, he saw what he guessed to be close to
        100 hawks within 10-15 kilometers northwest of Swift Current. He said
        some were on the ground and fence posts, some were flying in the air. He
        was quite amazed!!!

        Happy birding!!!

        - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current
        50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
        http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
      • M A
        Going to and from work, my co-workers and I see a number of Hawks (Northern Harriers, Swainson s Hawks, & Red-tailed Hawks).... on power poles, sitting on the
        Message 3 of 30 , Aug 30, 2009
          Going to and from work, my co-workers and I see a number of Hawks
          (Northern Harriers, Swainson's Hawks, & Red-tailed Hawks).... on power
          poles, sitting on the ground, and a few flying). There are flocks of
          2-15 Mourning Doves on power lines and fences, as well as flocks of 2-16
          American Crows and 20-50 Blackbirds.

          Aug 29 afternoon, I finally seen the Great Horned Owl sitting in the
          window opening of an old barn along the Fosterton grid!! I have been
          watching that window opening for the last almost 3 1/2 years -- since I
          started working out at the Compressor Station!! Whoo-hoo!

          We are also starting to see more Pronghorn -- in herds of 1-10.

          Out at work, the numbers of birds seen and heard have dropped.... we are
          now seeing daily:

          3 or 4 Swainson's Hawks (including a couple young)
          a few Killdeer (hear them more often than we see them)
          a few Mourning Doves
          a few Eastern Kingbirds
          a few Barn Swallows (the 5 nestlings by the office deck fledged sometime
          Aug 22-23)
          a few American Robins
          a few European Starlings
          a couple Brewer's Blackbirds
          a few Common Grackles
          too many House Sparrows

          a few Richardson's Ground Squirrels

          Yesterday was beautiful out.... with temps hitting 28C. Larry took Ryan
          back up to Saskatoon for university, so with everyone gone, I went out
          and about around 10:00AM... planning on spending time with my camera and
          seeing birds and mammals as I headed out into the country. 3 hours and
          116 km later, I returned home... only got a handful of photos (most of
          them I deleted...) because the light was way too harsh by then and I
          didn't find anything I really wanted to shoot. My route took me north
          to the Correction Line Road (just south of Stewart Valley), down grid
          roads I've never been on (and I was starting to wonder exactly where I
          was), finally ending up at Hwy 32 at Success, over to the Compressor
          Station, then east down the Fosterton road, continuing on east across
          the highway, and finally ending up back in Swift Current on the NW end.

          The most abundant critters I saw as I drove along mostly gravel roads
          were Grasshoppers!!! LOTS of them! The rest of what I saw were:

          Raptors: 17 Swainson's Hawks, 7 Red-tailed Hawks. 6 unidentified Hawks.
          1 Merlin
          Mourning Doves
          Flycatchers: a few Western Kingbirds & several Eastern Kingbirds
          (including a flock of 7 in a dead tree)
          4 American Crows (harassing a Red-tailed Hawk in a tree)
          a few Horned Larks
          1 Marsh Wren (heard only)
          1 Gray Catbird
          1 Yellow Warbler
          Sparrows: a few Clay-colored Sparrows, 2 Savannah Sparrows, 1 Song Sparrow
          Western Meadowlarks (1 or 2 here and there, plus a flock of 25)
          Blackbirds (a few flocks of 15-75)

          a few Richardson's Ground Squirrels
          1 Mule Deer

          I seen the dead hawk Dan Z. mentioned on the approach near the lone tree
          on Hwy 4 north of Swift Current... poor hawk. An adult was flying
          around nearby - screaming as it flew over. Right there, the ground was
          literally crawling with grasshoppers.

          At a slough just south of Stewart Valley, I expected to see shorebirds
          (we always do!)... but was very disappointed to find the slough dried up
          and not even a single Killdeer to be seen nor heard. It was very quiet
          there... with only a Swainson's Hawk, a Gray Catbird, a Yellow Warbler,
          a couple Clay-colored Sparrows, & the Marsh Wren (heard only - chattering).

          I did go by a couple places with a bit of water but never did see a
          shorebird nor any waterbirds in the 116 km I drove!! I did not even see
          a single gull.

          - Mary Ann, Swift Current
          50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
          http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
        • M A
          This past week, it has been quite windy, so we didn t see a lot driving to and from work, but there were a few good critters to see. Mid-morning, Sept 29,
          Message 4 of 30 , Oct 3, 2009
            This past week, it has been quite windy, so we didn't see a lot
            driving to and from work, but there were a few 'good' critters to see.

            Mid-morning, Sept 29, one of the guys I work with came in to tell me
            there was a 'pheasant or something' in the front of the office building.
            I went out to check - it was a beautiful Sharp-tailed Grouse. NICE!!!
            Another guy I work with told me a Merlin was diving at the sparrows last
            week in the Compressor Station yard.

            October 1 & 2, we saw Sandhill Cranes flying over the Compressor Station
            (Oct 1 -- 29 SACR, Oct 2 -- 17 SACR)

            Yesterday (Oct 2), out at work, it was warm enough (with a jacket on)
            for me to spend my morning coffee break out on the deck. We had a
            couple American Robins, at least 15 European Starlings, at least 20
            Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warblers, 15-20 White-throated & White-crowned
            Sparrows, & too many House Sparrows.

            On the way to work most days this past week, we saw:

            Canada Geese
            1 Northern Harrier
            2-3 Red-tailed Hawks
            Gulls
            a couple Mourning Doves (off and on this past week)
            a few American Robins (near a farmyard)
            Western Meadowlarks
            a herd of 8-11 Mule Deer (usually in the same place along Hwy 32.. just
            in slightly varying numbers)
            1-17 Pronghorns (seeing Pronghorn every day now)
            1 Coyote (Sept 30... it crossed Hwy 32 in front of us)

            On the way home, we have been seeing:

            1 Northern Harrier
            1-2 Red-tailed Hawks
            Gulls
            2 Black-billed Magpies (Oct 2)
            1 Common Raven (Oct 2 - near the intersection of Hwy 32 & Fosterton grid)
            a few Horned Larks
            a flock of 200+ LBJ's (Oct 2 - flying low over a field along the
            Fosterton grid)
            Western Meadowlarks
            a flock of 50+ Blackbirds
            1-21 Pronghorn

            - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current
            50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
            http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
          • M A
            Out at work at the Compressor Station (near Success), mid-morning Oct 20, a flock of 200+ Canada Geese flew over. At lunch time Oct 20, we had 1 Great Horned
            Message 5 of 30 , Nov 7, 2009
              Out at work at the Compressor Station (near Success), mid-morning Oct
              20, a flock of 200+ Canada Geese flew over. At lunch time Oct 20, we had
              1 Great Horned Owl, a few American Tree Sparrows, a few White-throated
              Sparrows, a few Dark-eyed Juncos, 1 Rusty Blackbird, & lots of House
              Sparrows. Two of my co-workers first saw the Great Horned Owl fly up off
              the ground - likely catching itself a snack. When I stepped outside,
              they told me about the Owl and told me what tree they had seen it fly up
              into, so I grabbed my binoculars (yes.. I continue to take my bincos to
              work!) and walked toward the tree. There it was... sitting on a bare
              branch watching me!

              This past week out at the Compressor Station, we have at least 3
              Black-billed Magpies hanging around with the too many House Sparrows.
              November 5, there was also a flock of 19 Gray Partridges right beside
              the entrance to the Compressor Station.

              Driving to and from work each day, you always see something a little
              different but you always see some of the same, too. Mornings you see
              different birds and other wildlife than what you see in the later
              afternoons.

              Mid-October we were seeing a few Canada Geese, 1-2 Red-tailed Hawks, a
              small flock of 12 Gulls, 2-3 Black-billed Magpies, a flock of approx 20
              American Robins (Oct 15), a few Horned Larks, a flock of 200+ Snow
              Buntings (Oct 15), & 1 Red Fox (Oct 15). Sometimes we also see 1 or 2
              flocks of Gray Partridge (15-18 to a flock).

              This past week, we were seeing a flock or two of Geese (sometimes
              Canadas, sometimes Snows...), a flock or two of Gray Partridges, a few
              Black-billed Magpies, & the occasional Horned Lark. We really haven't
              seen that many Geese this fall and very few ducks. (The hunters in our
              work group are also reporting very few ducks being seen.)

              There are usually one to three herds of 1-50 Pronghorn, 5 - 10 Mule
              Deer, and a few White-tailed Deer (usually see at least 3 hanging around
              together every few days).

              You always have to watch for wildlife when driving... but some days are
              worse than others. When I was driving to work Oct 26, five or six
              minutes from work, I almost hit 6 Pronghorn as they ran across the grid
              road at the last minute... to join the other 25 or 30 Pronghorn in the
              ditch and nearby field! Whew! Then a mile later, a flock of 12 Gray
              Partridges flew across the road - with me narrowly missing the last of
              them (could have done damage to the truck grill - and killed a few
              birds.) Again, whew!!!

              November 4, one of the spouses of a co-worker saw a Snowy Owl sitting on
              a road sign (the Sand Road sign) along the same section of Hwy #32 we
              travel daily. Unfortunately, we didn't see it when we went to and from
              work that day. We haven't seen any Snowy Owls yet.

              Life has been too busy... we haven't had a chance to get out and about
              in the country (or even around town) on the weekends.

              Happy birding....


              - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current
              50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
              http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
            • M A
              Has it really been January since I last shared our sightings? Hmmm... did we have a February? Time is flying by.... Going to and from work this past week, we
              Message 6 of 30 , Mar 6, 2010
                Has it really been January since I last shared our sightings? Hmmm...
                did we have a February? Time is flying by....

                Going to and from work this past week, we were seeing 50+ Gray
                Partridges (total of a few flocks), 20-30 Sharp-tailed Grouse (total of
                3 or 4 flocks), 1-3 Snowy Owls (on the 'best' February days we had as
                many as 5 Snowy Owls in the 25-minute drive back home after work), 2-4
                Black-billed Magpies, several Horned Larks, 75-150 Snow Buntings (a
                couple flocks of 75 each), 175+ Pronghorn (1 herd of 125+ and another
                herd of 50+), 4-20 Mule Deer, and a few Richardson's Ground Squirrels. I
                guess the little gophers think it is Spring. In February, we also
                often seen 1 or 2 White-tailed Jack Rabbits - usually when we were going
                to work (when it was still dark.)

                Out at work, we have been seeing a flock of 15+/- Gray Partridges, a
                flock of 12 Sharp-tailed Grouse, 2 Black-billed Magpies, & a multitude
                of House Sparrows (at least 75!), as well as 1 White-tailed Jack Rabbit
                & 1 Nuttall's Cottontail. The pair of BBMA have been starting to carry
                sticks the past couple weeks so I am assuming they are renovating a
                nest. We did have a few European Starlings around this winter, but I
                haven't seen them for a couple weeks now.

                The February long weekend, we were not around for the GBBC... we went to
                Calgary that weekend to celebrate our grandson's 1st birthday (we did
                participate in the GBBC, though... documenting and submitting the
                sightings along the way - both to and from Calgary and while in Calgary
                that weekend.) Friday (Feb 12), from Swift Current to the
                Saskatchewan/ Alberta border (approx 2 hours), we saw: 14 Rock Pigeons,
                1 Black-billed Magpie, 2 Common Ravens, 1 Coyote, 15 Mule Deer (total of
                2 different herds), & 36 Pronghorn (total of 3 different herds).
                Monday (Feb 15), from the Saskatchewan/ Alberta border to Swift Current,
                we saw: 1 Black-billed Magpie, 3 Mule Deer (1 herd), & 54 Pronghorn (1
                herd). NO Snowy Owls the entire trip - not in Saskatchewan nor in
                Alberta:(

                - Mary Ann, Larry, & Ryan, Swift Current
                50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
              • M A
                What a beautiful sunshiney day with temps topping out just over the +8C mark!!! This afternoon, Larry and I went for a drive in the country... spending most of
                Message 7 of 30 , Mar 6, 2010
                  What a beautiful sunshiney day with temps topping out just over the
                  +8C mark!!!

                  This afternoon, Larry and I went for a drive in the country... spending
                  most of our time driving down gravel roads. We didn't see a whole lot in
                  the 2 1/2 hours and the 100 km mi we drove (just a little north and
                  east, a little to the north and west, and just immediately south of the
                  City), but we did see a little bit:

                  6 Gray Partridges (2 doubles and 2 singles)
                  1 unidentified large Hawk
                  9 Rock Pigeons (by farmyards)
                  16 Black-billed Magpies
                  several Horned Larks
                  25+ Snow Buntings
                  House Sparrows (near every farm yard)

                  lots of Richardson's Ground Squirrels
                  at least 49 White-tailed Deer (1 herd)
                  at least 52 Pronghorn (1 herd)
                  fresh Badger diggings

                  Here on the home front, we had 'the usuals' in our yard... but they were
                  not spending much time at the feeders or out in the open. I wouldn't
                  either, if I were a little bird... not with the two little raptors that
                  have taken to hanging around the neighbourhood.

                  - Mary Ann & Larry, Swift Current
                  50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                  http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
                • M A
                  Going to and from work the past couple weeks, I was seeing a good number of Gray Partridges & Sharp-tailed Grouse, a couple Rock Pigeons, 2 -5 Black-billed
                  Message 8 of 30 , Mar 28, 2010
                    Going to and from work the past couple weeks, I was seeing a good
                    number of Gray Partridges & Sharp-tailed Grouse, a couple Rock Pigeons,
                    2 -5 Black-billed Magpies, several Horned Larks, a couple European
                    Starlings, 10-20 Mule Deer, and 50-75+ Pronghorn.

                    March 18, I saw my first 2 Canada Geese of Spring... on a dugout within
                    a mile or so from work. Around noon March 19, 4 Canada Geese flew over
                    the compressor station. A few kilometers west of Swift Current, later
                    afternoon March 22, 2 Canada Geese were on the 'fishing pond', and I saw
                    another 4 Canada Geese flying over the highway on the west edge of the
                    City. I LOVE seeing the first Geese of Spring!!!

                    Late afternoon March 22, returning home from work, we saw the usual 4
                    Black-billed Magpies, several Horned Larks, & a pair of Pronghorn, plus
                    we also saw 8 American Crows on a farm's field just north of the
                    TransCanada highway and the 2 Canada Geese on the 'fishing pond' as we
                    drove by. (The one co-worker I was traveling with couldn't believe I
                    could get THAT excited about a Crow!!!)

                    As exciting as it is seeing the first migrants of Spring arriving I sure
                    miss seeing the Snowy Owls.

                    - Mary Ann, Swift Current
                    50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                    http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • M A
                    Going to and from work this week, we continue to see the regular roadside birds and animals... including but not limited to Ducks, a number of Hawks
                    Message 9 of 30 , Aug 2, 2010
                      Going to and from work this week, we continue to see the 'regular'
                      roadside birds and animals... including but not limited to Ducks, a
                      number of Hawks (Northern Harriers, Swainson's Hawks, & Red-tailed
                      Hawks), Killdeer, at least 150-200 Franklin's Gulls, Pronghorn
                      (including a few young), 1 or 2 White-tailed Deer, etc.

                      July 22, we had an awesome critter sighting as I drove home along the
                      grid road east of the Compressor Station. Less than a kilometre from Hwy
                      32, a Long-tailed Weasel was on the road, likely searching for its next
                      meal. There are a lot of Richardson's Ground Squirrels for it to eat. I
                      do hope the weasel survives, because there are also a lot of poison bait
                      traps set up to help reduce the gopher population. My concern is the
                      weasel will eventually eat one of these poisoned gophers. Unfortunately,
                      I think it is just a matter of time... The morning of July 30, there
                      was a Long-tailed Weasel on the highway (this time just north of the Hwy
                      32/332 intersection)... and unfortunately road fatalities including a
                      young Red Fox and an adult American Badger. One of my co-workers told me
                      he saw 3 young Raccoons on the side of a grid road a couple days before,
                      and Friday he saw a Coyote when he was out doing gas line locates.

                      Out at work, the Barn Swallows are busy... a few young flying around,
                      and the one pair is nesting for the second time this summer on the side
                      of the office building. (They're the ones that built a nest on the
                      abandoned Robin's nest... that was built on a nest site the Barn
                      Swallows had first started this Spring!!!)

                      At the Compressor Station, we also continue to have a few Killdeer, a
                      number of Mourning Doves, Western Kingbirds, Eastern Kingbirds,
                      Black-billed Magpies, American Crows, American Robins, European
                      Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, Brewer's
                      Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackles, & House Sparrows An
                      occasional Swainson's Hawk or two fly over on a regular flight path, as
                      well! Lots of Richardson's Ground Squirrels around for their pickings,
                      so they have no shortage of food. The young Red Foxes are still being
                      seen around the plant yard on occasion, so they should be starting to
                      take care of some of the gopher population as well.

                      Happy birding and critter viewing everyone....

                      - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                      50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                      http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
                    • M A
                      What a week in the way of weather ... from a deep freeze to a melt within a couple days. Ugh!! (Sure makes for icy, dicey roads!!) Monday (Feb 7), I saw 2
                      Message 10 of 30 , Feb 11, 2011
                        What a week in the way of 'weather'... from a deep freeze to a melt
                        within a couple days. Ugh!! (Sure makes for icy, dicey roads!!)

                        Monday (Feb 7), I saw 2 different Snowy Owls... one very barred Snowy
                        Owl within less than 1 mile east of the compressor station, sitting on a
                        powerpole on the north of Fosterton grid road, and one very barred Snowy
                        Owl on a powerpole along Hwy 32, just north of Cantuar.

                        Yesterday (Feb 10), I saw a Merlin fly from the trees at a farm at the
                        intersection of Hwy 32/Hwy 332. It flew alongside the highway as we
                        drove slowly by (driving slow because of the ice-covered highway!!)

                        Other than the owls and falcon, all I have been seeing out there all
                        week were several coveys of Gray Partridge (5-25 per covey), a couple
                        flocks of 5 or 6 Sharp-tailed Grouse, a few Black-billed Magpies, a few
                        Horned Larks, a couple large flocks of 300+ Snow Buntings, and a couple
                        herds of 100+ Pronghorn. I have been feeling sorry for the Pronghorn...
                        you can see them trying to paw through the ice-encrusted snow.

                        Out at work this week, all I have been seeing are a flock of 9 Gray
                        Partridges, 1 Sharp-tailed Grouse (sitting in the trees), 3 Black-billed
                        Magpies, & at least 75 House Sparrows. Even the non-birders are
                        commenting on the low numbers of birds and wildlife they're seeing (or
                        not seeing) out and about this winter.

                        This week on the home front, we are continuing to see 1 male Downy
                        Woodpecker, 1 male Northern Flicker, 4 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 25-75
                        Bohemian Waxwings, several House Finches, 2 Common Redpolls, 25+ House
                        Sparrows, & 1 Nuttall's Cottontail. The birds are very nervous, so I
                        think the Sharp-shinned Hawk is likely still around.

                        The Bohs have pretty much cleaned up the berries on our Mountain Ash
                        tree so they land, then leave as they look for new food sources. There
                        are (dried up) plums on a tree next door so they do stop there every so
                        often, and also seem to enjoy sunning themselves atop the other next
                        door neighbour's big evergreens. The Downy WP and Flicker seem to be
                        enjoying the unsalted peanut butter thickly spread on the tree trunk in
                        the backyard.

                        Happy birding,

                        - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                        50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                        http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • M A
                        On April 8, going to work, I was treated to seeing flocks of Canada Geese as well as a few here and there at the sloughs, several Mallards, 2 Ferruginous Hawks
                        Message 11 of 30 , Apr 12 11:04 AM
                          On April 8, going to work, I was treated to seeing flocks of Canada
                          Geese as well as a few here and there at the sloughs, several Mallards,
                          2 Ferruginous Hawks flying together near Hwy 32, a few Gulls flying
                          about, a few Rock Pigeons, 1 Mourning Dove, a few Black-billed Magpies,
                          a good number of American Crows, a flock of 15-20 European Starlings,
                          several Horned Larks, & a couple Western Meadowlarks. The bonus for the
                          morning was a Coyote running in the ditch alongside the road as I drove
                          west up the Fosterton grid (it did that for almost 1/2 kilometre before
                          finally veering off and heading north across the field.)

                          There is a lot of water out there... the dugout just east of the
                          Compressor Station has completely disappeared into the middle of all the
                          water. There are a number of Canada Geese, Mallards, and Northern
                          Pintails taking full advantage of this. They are happy happy happy!

                          On April 10, Larry and I went for a Sunday drive in the country, heading
                          south of the City... across the old steel bridge that crosses over the
                          Swift Current Creek, and over to an east-west grid road (local radio
                          towers are along this road, to the east of where we turned onto the
                          grid.) We then headed west on that grid all the way to just south of
                          Webb (and just north of the Webb Hutterite Colony). From Swift Current
                          to Webb, we saw Canada Geese, Mallards, 1 Rough-legged Hawk, 2 Great
                          Horned Owls (one on the nest, and the mate sitting quietly a couple
                          trees over - approx 1 km from Doretta/ Yellow Lake), 4 Black-billed
                          Magpies, 2 American Crows, Horned Larks, a few Western Meadowlarks, 9
                          Pronghorn, 1 Mule Deer, & lots of Richardson's Ground Squirrels. We
                          drove around Webb - and saw 3 Rock Pigeons and 1 American Robin. From
                          Webb, we headed home down the TransCanada. All we saw were 3 American
                          Crows - one sitting on the edge of a nest. One thing we did note on
                          Sunday afternoon was that there was still an awful lot of snow in the
                          hills and coulees south of Swift Current. There are also a lot of still
                          frozen over or mostly frozen over sloughs. Backroads are pretty much
                          impassable... we didn't even attempt to go down the road that goes along
                          Doretta Lake... just looked at it from the south end (it is still frozen
                          for the most part.)

                          Yesterday, on the way to work, we saw 29 TUNDRA SWANS in a slough just
                          north of Fosterton grid road (with the first kilometre west of Hwy 32.)
                          What a nice way to kickstart a Monday work week!!! We also saw the
                          usual roadside birds.

                          We eagerly await the arrival of more migrants...

                          Happy birding everyone.


                          - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                          50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                          http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • M A
                          Out at the Compressor Station, we have 1 or 2 Swainson s Hawks flying over, a Northern Harrier flying nearby, Killdeer, Mourning Doves, American Crows,
                          Message 12 of 30 , May 6, 2011
                            Out at the Compressor Station, we have 1 or 2 Swainson's Hawks flying
                            over, a Northern Harrier flying nearby, Killdeer, Mourning Doves,
                            American Crows, American Robins, European Starlings, Yellow-rumped
                            "Myrtle" Warblers, White-crowned Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common
                            Grackles, House Sparrows, & a number of Richardson's Ground Squirrels.
                            We also have Western Meadowlarks & Horned Larks singing nearby, and a
                            herd of 5 Pronghorn right across from the Compressor Station entrance.
                            They've been hanging around there all week... a handsome male and his
                            small harem.

                            The past week, going to and from work, we continue to see the usual
                            roadside birds. We like to see the Horned Larks and Western
                            Meadowlarks, but are more excited about seeing the Swainson's,
                            Red-tailed & Ferruginous Hawks, as well as the Northern Harriers. There
                            are a few Pronghorn, but in small groups of 1-5 or 6 now.

                            I saw my first 2 Marbled Godwits on May 2, and have been seeing them
                            plus another two pair. There are still at least 3 or 4 American Avocets
                            near the washed over dugout within a mile east of the Compressor
                            Station, as well as a few Canada Geese, American Coots, Killdeer, and
                            ducks, ducks, and more ducks (Mallards, Blue-winged Teal, Northern
                            Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaup).

                            Going to work May 5, we saw a Coyote along Hwy 32 and a Skunk on
                            Fosterton grid road that moved quickly into the ditch as we approached.
                            I always am happy to see a Skunk... you don't see them around much
                            (other than as road fatalities.)

                            Some of the sloughs are receding some, and some water bodies have even
                            disappeared. There are a few farmers starting to get out on the land.

                            Happy birding everyone... as we continue to enjoy all Spring is
                            bringing us.

                            - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                            50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                            http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • M A
                            Out in the country, on the way to work every day, we are seeing the usual roadside birds... including but not limited to Canada Geese, ducks (Mallards, BW
                            Message 13 of 30 , May 14, 2011
                              Out in the country, on the way to work every day, we are seeing the
                              'usual' roadside birds... including but not limited to Canada Geese,
                              ducks (Mallards, BW Teal, N. Shovelers, N. Pintails, etc), Am. Coots,
                              Killdeer, Am. Avocets, Marbled Godwits, Gulls (lots of Franklin's), Rock
                              Pigeons, a few Black-billed Magpies, American Crows, Horned Larks,
                              Red-winged Blackbirds, a few Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Western
                              Meadowlarks, etc.

                              We are also seeing a number of hawks... at least 4 or 5 Swainson's
                              Hawks, at least 3 or 4 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Ferruginous Hawks, at least 4
                              or 5 Northern Harriers, and May 12, there was a Merlin sitting on the
                              Cantuar road sign along Hwy 32 in the later afternoon.

                              Out at the Compressor Station, we have 2 Swainson's Hawks flying around
                              throughout the day, and often a male Northern Harrier is flying nearby.

                              We have all the 'usuals' in the yard... Black-billed Magpies, American
                              Crows, American Robins, European Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds,
                              Western Meadowlarks, Common Grackles, House Sparrows, & several
                              Richardson's Ground Squirrels. We have, for the past few days, been
                              enjoying at least 5 White-crowned Sparrows. Our 5 Pronghorn are still
                              hanging around in the field across from the station entrance gates.

                              May 12, while doing Tractor Training, the instructor located a Killdeer
                              nest with (I think) 3 eggs. He had our summer student mark the nest
                              with a flag so it isn't run over when cutting grass, etc.

                              May 13, our first WESTERN KINGBIRD arrived at the Compressor Station.


                              - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                              50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                              http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • M A
                              I wasn t going to let the strong winds stop me from getting out and about at some point this weekend, so today was the day I picked to go out and about! Around
                              Message 14 of 30 , May 15, 2011
                                I wasn't going to let the strong winds stop me from getting out and
                                about at some point this weekend, so today was the day I picked to go
                                out and about!

                                Around 11:00AM, I headed west of Swift Current, down a minor gravel road
                                that eventually ended and I was on a dirt road somewhere between the
                                City and Hwy 32. My first 'puddle' that I stopped at yielded me a
                                couple pairs each of Mallards, Northern Shovelers, & Northern Pintails,
                                1 Long-billed Curlew (my first of the year), 1 Marbled Godwit, a few
                                Franklin's Gulls & 5 American Crows. Nice!!! It certainly was enough
                                for me to keep driving...

                                I eventually ended up at Hwy 32, so continued up the highway to the
                                Fosterton grid road intersection, then turned around and went back to
                                the City along Hwy 32.

                                My drive (of just over 2 hours) netted me:

                                Canada Geese - including 3 goslings (in a roadside ditch along Hwy 32)
                                Ducks (Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Mallards, Northern Shovelers,
                                Northern Pintails, Canvasbacks)
                                3 Swainson's Hawks (a pair & a single - all flying)
                                5 unidentified hawks (3 soaring high, and 2 on the ground but too far
                                for me to I.D.)
                                1 unidentified hawk on a nest (formerly occupied by Ferruginous Hawks,
                                but not sure what this one was... she was laying prone, with her head
                                tucked in, on the nest - all I could see was a brown back)
                                American Coots
                                2 Killdeer
                                27 American Avocets (total of three different locations: flocks of 10,
                                15, & 2...), 1 Long-billed Curlew, 1 Marbled Godwit
                                over 60 Wilson's Phalaropes (a flock of 60+, and another 2 at a
                                different location)
                                Franklin's Gulls
                                2 Rock Pigeons
                                1 Black-billed Magpie, 11 American Crows
                                Horned Larks
                                3 European Starlings
                                Red-winged Blackbirds, a few Western Meadowlarks

                                2 Pronghorn
                                Boreal Chorus Frogs (could hear them at almost every water body I
                                stopped at)

                                Just before I got to the TransCanada Highway, I stopped at the 'fish
                                pond' by Hwys 1 & 32... It was so windy, everything was up against or on
                                the opposite shores. I did see a few Canada Geese, several Mallards, a
                                few Northern Shovelers, at least 14 Canvasbacks, 1 Swainson's Hawk
                                soaring above, a couple American Coots, Red-winged Blackbirds, & I could
                                hear Boreal Chorus Frogs.



                                - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                                50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                                http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net
                              • M A
                                Going to and from work the past couple weeks, I continue to see the usual roadside birds... including several hawks (Northern Harriers, Swainson s,
                                Message 15 of 30 , Jul 16, 2011
                                  Going to and from work the past couple weeks, I continue to see 'the
                                  usual' roadside birds... including several hawks (Northern Harriers,
                                  Swainson's, Red-tailed & Ferruginous) as well as a few Gulls. There are
                                  a nice number of shorebirds... Killdeer, American Avocets, a few Marbled
                                  Godwits, and Willets. July 13, we had to almost stop on the Fosterton
                                  road while 4 young Willets, trying their wings, were coaxed off the road
                                  by their parents. (They were very lucky it was us driving on the road
                                  at that time because there are a few fatalities starting to happen on
                                  the road, especially near the still overflowing dugout and slough
                                  (within a mile east of the Compressor station there is still lots of
                                  water on both sides of the road yet!)

                                  July 13 morning, as we drove along the Fosterton road towards work, we
                                  saw a Swainson's Hawk sitting on the powerline, maybe 3 feet from the
                                  pole. That was the first time I've ever seen that.

                                  July 15, I saw a flock of 9 Black-billed Magpies, and July 14, I saw a
                                  flock of 13 American Crows. Blackbirds are starting to hang around in
                                  flocks of 10-30.

                                  We have also been seeing a couple Weasels (sadly, one was hit on Hwy 32
                                  on July 13), the occasional Coyote, a few Red Foxes (including our brood
                                  out at the Compressor Station), White-tailed Deer and at least 4 fawns,
                                  & Pronghorn (we still haven't seen young ones yet.) There were several
                                  (at least 4) young Red Fox fatalities along Hwy 32 this past week.

                                  Out at the Compressor Station, we have a number of birds... a pair of
                                  Swainson's Hawks flying over every day, the occasional Merlin, at least
                                  1 family of Killdeer, Mourning Doves, a couple Northern Flickers, a
                                  number of Western Kingbirds, a few Eastern Kingbirds, Black-billed
                                  Magpies, American Crows, at least a couple Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows
                                  (including one nest filled with nestlings almost ready to fledge --
                                  right by the deck on the north side of our office building), Horned
                                  Larks (we hear them), House Wrens, American Robins, at least a pair of
                                  Gray Catbirds, Chipping Sparrows, Clay-colored Sparrows, Yellow
                                  Warblers, Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, Common Grackles,
                                  Brown-headed Cowbirds, & House Sparrows. We also have a good number of
                                  Richardson's Ground Squirrels (food for the family of Red Foxes.)

                                  July 3, I went for a drive north of Swift Current. I left too late..
                                  (at 11:00AM), so the heat of the day was getting up there before I even
                                  left. I did see:

                                  Swift Current to Sask Landing (and back):
                                  a few Canada Geese, Duck species, 1 Sharp-tailed Grouse, 1 Northern
                                  Harrier, 3 Swainson's Hawks, a few Mourning Doves, a few Franklin's
                                  Gulls, several Ring-billed Gulls, 11 American Crows, American Robins,
                                  Vesper Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, & Blackbird species.

                                  The Stewart Valley Slough (1 mile south of Stewart Valley):
                                  Canada Geese (with young), Gadwalls, Mallards (with young), Blue-winged
                                  Teals, Northern Shovelers, Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaups (with young),
                                  Ruddy Ducks, Sora (heard at least 2), American Coots, Eastern Kingbirds
                                  (including one nesting where the Loggerhead Shrikes were last year),
                                  Gray Catbirds (saw 1, heard at least 2), 2 Savannah Sparrows, Red-winged
                                  Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brewer's
                                  Blackbirds, Common Grackles, & Brown-headed Cowbirds.

                                  Because I was so close, I popped in for a short 20 minutes or so at Sask
                                  Landing Provincial Park (just drove to the end of the road in the SW
                                  quadrant and back.) There was road work going on on the north side of
                                  the bridge, so pilot vehicles were taking people over the bridge (and
                                  there were 20+ minute waits, and a long line up of vehicles including
                                  semi tractor units, camper trailers and mobile homes.) It was too hot
                                  by this time so I decided to go home instead.

                                  The short time spent at Sask Landing, I did see:
                                  Canada Geese, American Wigeons, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, 1 American
                                  Crow, Tree Swallows, House Wrens, Cliff Swallows, Barn Swallows, 2 Gray
                                  Catbirds, 1 Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers, Common
                                  Yellowthroats (heard only), Chipping Sparrows, Clay-colored Sparrows
                                  (heard only), 2 Song Sparrows, RW Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks,
                                  Brown-headed Cowbirds, & American Goldfinches.


                                  - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                                  50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                                  http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • M A
                                  Going to and from work, we were seeing a few hawks up until the beginning of November... Rough-legged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and an occasional 1 or 2
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Nov 27, 2011
                                    Going to and from work, we were seeing a few hawks up until the
                                    beginning of November... Rough-legged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and an
                                    occasional 1 or 2 Northern Harriers. Now, we're lucky if we see 1 or 2
                                    Rough-legged Hawks in a week.

                                    We were seeing Snow Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, and Canada Geese
                                    until the first week of November, and saw Sandhill Cranes right up to
                                    Hallowe'en (we saw a flock of 20 or so Sandhill Cranes on October 31,
                                    just east of the compressor station.)

                                    We see an occasional Common Raven or two... at least once or twice a week.

                                    The late afternoon of November 25, we saw our first Snowy Owl... a
                                    heavily barred owl sitting on a power pole a couple miles south of the
                                    Fosterton grid road intersection.

                                    We are starting to see larger herds of Pronghorn now.... a couple herds
                                    of 20-30, as well as three or four herds with less than 10 in each
                                    herd. There are a few White-tailed and Mule Deer... but only seeing 1 -
                                    4 at a time, and they're running when they see us coming. You can tell
                                    hunting season is in full force.

                                    We see the occasional Coyote and Red Fox as well... sometimes along Hwy
                                    32, sometimes along Fosterton Road.

                                    Today, Larry and I headed out around 2:30PM... we started off heading
                                    east on Hwy 363 ('Hodgeville Highway'), but soon turned south and headed
                                    down a grid to the Rhineland grid road. We continued along that one,
                                    then onto the Hwy east of Wymark that turns into Grid 721. We ended up
                                    at the Wind Turbines, then headed north again to Hwy 363, then east
                                    until we got to the Highfield Dam Road. We headed north up that grid to
                                    Highfield Dam, checked that out, then over to Hwy 1 and home. 130
                                    kilometres and over 2 hours of driving... we didn't see much. The drive
                                    tallied 8 Black-billed Magpies, 2 White-tailed Deer, and the 'bird of
                                    the day' -- a barred Snowy Owl sitting on a fence post near Grid 721
                                    east of Wymark. That was it. Even though it was very windy, and we
                                    didn't really expect to see too much, I thought we would see a little
                                    more than that. Oh well...

                                    We had a high of 14 or 15ºC today.... unreal for this time of the
                                    year!! We sure can't complain too much about the strong winds when you
                                    are getting warm temperatures like that.

                                    Happy birding everyone....

                                    - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                                    50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                                    http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • M A
                                    Going to and from work the past 2 1/2 months, there hasn t been much to report other than Snowy Owls. Most days they are the only wild life we see!!! On a
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Feb 19, 2012
                                      Going to and from work the past 2 1/2 months, there hasn't been much to
                                      report other than Snowy Owls. Most days they are the only wild life we
                                      see!!!

                                      On a good day, we see 5 -7 Snowy Owls between Swift Current and the
                                      Compressor Station, most being along Hwy 32. Some days, there are 3 in
                                      a 3-km stretch, with 2 often being less than 1 km. from the other (they
                                      can actually see each other because there aren't any hills there.)
                                      There are 1 sometimes 2 Snowy Owls along the Fosterton Road west of Hwy
                                      32, and 4 sometimes 5 along Hwy 32 from the Fosterton Road intersection
                                      to the merge lane of Hwy 32 and Hwy 1 (there is one Snowy Owl that is
                                      sitting anywhere from a light post at the turn off to go to Hwy 1 west
                                      off Hwy 32 to the (north of the Hwy 1) power poles within 1 km east of
                                      the merge lane.

                                      Every few days we see 1 or 2 Black-billed Magpies, and some days (not
                                      often), we see a flock of 50-100 Snow Buntings or an occasional Horned
                                      Lark. Also missing from our daily trips are Pronghorn and Deer. I
                                      guess there is so little snow cover that they don't have to hang around
                                      near the roads looking for food.

                                      At work, we have the ever-present 2 or 3 Black-billed Magpies and lots
                                      of House Sparrows.

                                      2012 January 29 Larry and I took a little drive in the country.... We
                                      went north of the City (past Green Hectares B&B) up to the Skyline
                                      road. We then proceeded west, crossing Hwy 4 and continued west along
                                      the Skyline Road to Hwy 32. From there, we went up to the Fosterton
                                      Road, west to the Compressor Station, then south to Hwy 332, back to Hwy
                                      32, then home. Our most abundant bird seen was the Snowy Owl. In our
                                      travels,we saw 7 Snowy Owls, 6 Black-billed Magpies, and a few House
                                      Sparrows near farmyards. That was it. No mammals at all.


                                      - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                                      50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                                      http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • M A
                                      Yesterday afternoon, Larry and I decided to spend the last day of March out and about a bit in the country... We headed east on Hwy #1 to the Merivale Nursery
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Apr 1 10:28 AM
                                        Yesterday afternoon, Larry and I decided to spend the last day of March
                                        out and about a bit in the country... We headed east on Hwy #1 to the
                                        Merivale Nursery road, then headed south and were soon taking lesser
                                        roads east again for a few miles before going south again, and finally
                                        getting onto the Airport Road and heading back into Swift Current. Our
                                        jaunt ended up being just under 2 hours... not a bad way to spend an
                                        afternoon.

                                        We didn't see anything on Hwy 1... but as soon as we turned off onto the
                                        first grid, the birds were showing themselves, especially Magpies;)

                                        On the roads we travelled east of Swift Current, we saw:

                                        150-200 Greater White-fronted Geese (at one location, with approx 75-100
                                        Northern Pintails)
                                        300 approx Canada Geese (at one location - across the road from the
                                        Greater White-fronted Geese, then a few pair here and there)
                                        2 Gadwall (a male/female pair)
                                        Mallards
                                        Northern Pintails
                                        2 Canvasbacks
                                        1 Northern Harrier flying over a slough
                                        3 Red-tailed Hawks
                                        Killdeer (heard only - where all the geese were)
                                        2 unidentified Gulls
                                        1 Rock Pigeon
                                        12 Black-billed Magpies
                                        3 American Crows
                                        a number of Horned Larks
                                        2 Western Meadowlarks

                                        Richardson's Ground Squirrels

                                        We drove through the Research Station (SPARC) grounds.... very quiet
                                        there. All we saw were:

                                        2 Black-billed Magpies
                                        2 Red-breasted Nuthatches (and heard at least 1 or 2 more)
                                        2 Dark-eyed Juncos (and heard a few more)

                                        9 Mule Deer

                                        We stopped briefly at Burnett's Pond and saw:

                                        10 Canada Geese
                                        2 Mallards
                                        2 California Gulls
                                        1 Western Meadowlark (heard only)

                                        There were a few Geese and Ducks in the water covering the area to the
                                        south of the road between Burnett's Pond & Lac Pelletier Trail as well
                                        as a few Gulls flying around. There were also a couple Western
                                        Meadowlarks near the edge of the road.

                                        We then went a mile or so west of Lac Pelletier Trail to the next road
                                        that would take us north over the railroad tracks. As we drove along
                                        that short stretch (that also includes a slough on the edge of a
                                        farm/stables), we saw:

                                        Canada Geese
                                        3 American Wigeons
                                        Mallards
                                        2 Northern Shovelers
                                        4 Northern Pintails
                                        2 Green-winged Teals
                                        1 Killdeer (heard only)

                                        Before returning home, we made one last stop -- at the Hwy 1 and 32 fish
                                        pond hoping to see something of interest. Not much there -- just 8
                                        Canada Geese, and 7 Mallards.

                                        As we drove east along Battleford Trail toward home, there were 2 pairs
                                        of American Crows not far from our turnoff. Both pairs were actually
                                        looking quite lovey dovey!

                                        Last evening (after 8:00PM), Larry stepped outside for a minute and
                                        heard Gulls flying north over the neighbourhood in the darkness.

                                        You know Spring is here when you hear many American Robins in full
                                        chorus before 5:00AM ... still under the cloak of darkness. It truly is
                                        music to one's ears. Nothing nicer than enjoying that first cup of
                                        coffee in the still of the early morning darkness and listening to the
                                        Robin Serenades.

                                        Happy Birding everyone.....

                                        - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
                                        50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                                        http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • M A
                                        The past week saw more changes in the critters seen going to and from work.... On April 2 & 3, I saw 2 Snowy Owls - both twice daily, morning and afternoon,
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Apr 9 11:51 AM
                                          The past week saw more changes in the critters seen going to and from
                                          work....

                                          On April 2 & 3, I saw 2 Snowy Owls - both twice daily, morning and
                                          afternoon, ... one along Hwy 32 near the Cantuar/332 Hwy turnoff, and
                                          one along the Fosterton Road. April 2, the Fosterton Road one was
                                          sitting on the edge of the grid road... I worried about it sitting there
                                          (vehicles don't slow down much on that road), but I was happy to see it
                                          was sitting on the RM road sign the next morning.

                                          All week, I saw numerous Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Harriers....
                                          (April 3, there were at least 12 RT Hawks & 5 Northern Harriers along
                                          Hwy 32, and another 3 RT Hawks and 2 Northern Harriers along the
                                          Fosterton Road.) Several Gulls were flying around but could not ID them
                                          as we drove along.

                                          The mornings of April 2 & 3, there were also 200+ Greater White-fronted
                                          with maybe 50 Snow Geese in a field by Hwy 32, but April 4 they were
                                          gone. There were also a number of Canada Geese and several Ducks at
                                          almost every body of water along Hwy 32 and Fosterton Road.

                                          April 2, a flock of 100+ Blackbirds (could ID some Red-winged Blackbirds
                                          in the flock) were in a farmyard tree just east of the Compressor
                                          Station, and several Western Meadowlarks and Horned Larks along the
                                          Fosterton Road. Ducks and Geese are starting to stick around at the
                                          overflowing dugout approx 1 mile east of the Compressor Station. April
                                          4, 2 Killdeer flew up and off the road as we drove by after work.

                                          There were still a few flocks of 5-20 American Crows along Hwy 32 all
                                          week, as well as a few Black-billed Magpies.

                                          The morning of April 4, a pair of Coyotes seemed to be interested in a
                                          lone Pronghorn near Hwy 32... they were circling it when we drove by.

                                          Out at the Compressor Station, we have several European Starlings and a
                                          multitude of House Sparrows. There are also at least 4 Black-billed
                                          Magpies, 2 American Crows, several American Robins, a couple Western
                                          Meadowlarks, and at least 1 Killdeer (heard only). We have a Merlin
                                          that makes his presence known from time to time....

                                          Canada Geese were still flying over the Compressor Station area in small
                                          flocks of 25-50 all last week (Apr 2-4).

                                          Around noon April 2, one of the guys came in to get me to come see what
                                          were sunning themselves on the cement in the front of the office
                                          building (south side of the building) ---- 2 Red-sided Garter
                                          snakes!!! They were around all week. Not sure how impressed they would
                                          have been with the snow on April 5.

                                          We also have a number of Richardson's Ground Squirrels starting to make
                                          their presence known... There should be lots of food for the Red
                                          Foxes if Mama Fox decides to den up in the Compressor Station yard again
                                          this Spring.


                                          - Mary Ann, Swift Current, SK
                                          50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W
                                          http://dudrl.sasktelwebsite.net



                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • M A
                                          Driving to and from work the past three weeks, I have been seeing the usual roadside birds... namely a few Canada Geese, various ducks, shorebirds (including
                                          Message 20 of 30 , Aug 4, 2012
                                            Driving to and from work the past three weeks, I have been seeing the
                                            usual roadside birds... namely a few Canada Geese, various ducks,
                                            shorebirds (including Killdeer, Marbled Godwits, Willets and
                                            unidentified varying sizes of peeps), Rock Pigeons, Mourning Doves,
                                            Western Kingbirds, Eastern Kingbirds, Black-billed Magpies, American
                                            Crows, Horned Larks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks
                                            (starting to see flocks of 15-20 especially along Fosterton grid road),
                                            Yellow-headed Blackbirds, & Brown-headed Cowbirds.

                                            We saw 5 Sharp-tailed Grouse July 18... the first Grouse we have seen
                                            all summer. We used to see Sharp-tailed Grouse and Gray Partridges all
                                            the time in years past. Not sure what happened to all of them:(

                                            Along Highway 32, from the TransCanada to the Fosterton Road, there are
                                            also a number of hawks... as many as 10-15 Swainson's Hawks some days,
                                            as well as 6-8 Red-tailed Hawks. There are 2 or 3 Northern Harriers
                                            along Fosterton grid road (there have also been a couple fatalities... I
                                            can understand how that happens because we have had to slam on the
                                            brakes a few times to avoid one flying up and across the road. They
                                            often sit along the side of the grave road.) Along Fosterton Road,
                                            there are also 3 or 4 Swainson's Hawks and 2 Red-tailed Hawks.

                                            Sloughs are starting to dry up... but there are still a good number of
                                            shorebirds and ducks around these wet areas. That is nice to see.

                                            We also have been seeing a few young Pronghorn this year. Last year we
                                            only saw a couple. There are a few White-tail Deer with young out and
                                            about along Hwy 32 and the Fosterton grid road.

                                            Out at the Compressor Station, we have Swainson's Hawks (they were
                                            nesting in one of the trees in our yard - I told our summer student to
                                            give them a wide berth), Killdeer, Mourning Doves, several Western
                                            Kingbirds & Eastern Kingbirds (a few more Westerns than Easterns), a
                                            pair of Northern Flickers with a couple young, Barn Swallows, European
                                            Starlings, Clay-colored Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Red-Winged
                                            Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, Brewer's Blackbirds, Yellow-headed
                                            Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, American Goldfinches, & House Sparrows.

                                            This year we did not have the Red Foxes denning in the yard... we
                                            haven't even seen them around at all this summer.

                                            - Mary Ann, Swift Current
                                            50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W



                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • M A
                                            Driving to and from work the past week, there are the usual roadside birds... a few Canada Geese, various ducks, shorebirds (including Killdeer and
                                            Message 21 of 30 , Aug 26, 2012
                                              Driving to and from work the past week, there are the usual roadside
                                              birds... a few Canada Geese, various ducks, shorebirds (including
                                              Killdeer and unidentified varying sizes of peeps), Rock Pigeons,
                                              Mourning Doves, Black-billed Magpies, American Crows, Horned Larks,
                                              Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, & Yellow-headed Blackbirds.

                                              August 24, on my way out to work, I saw a Great Blue Heron standing in
                                              the middle of a slough beside a farmyard along Highway 32.

                                              Along Highway 32, from the TransCanada to the Fosterton Road, I continue
                                              to see a number of hawks...10 or so Swainson's Hawks and 3 or 4
                                              Red-tailed Hawks. Most days there are 1 or 2 Northern Harriers still
                                              being seen along Fosterton grid road as well as 3 or 4 Swainson's Hawks
                                              and 2 Red-tailed Hawks.

                                              Out at the Compressor Station, we are still seeing 3 or 4 Swainson's
                                              Hawks, at least 6 Killdeer, a couple Mourning Doves, a couple Barn
                                              Swallows, American Robins, European Starlings, Red-Winged Blackbirds,
                                              Western Meadowlarks, Brewer's Blackbirds, American Goldfinches, & House
                                              Sparrows.

                                              I did not see the Western and Eastern Kingbirds at all last week:(

                                              There are a few Pronghorns, White-tailed Deer and Richardson's Ground
                                              Squirrels (not many gophers being seen now). August 22, one of my
                                              co-workers also saw a Red Fox along Highway 32 on her way out to work.

                                              - Mary Ann, Swift Current
                                              50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W



                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • M A
                                              Yesterday (Oct 6), Larry was doing yardwork, so I went for a drive in the afternoon.... hoping to see at least some hawks and Sandhill Cranes. I headed west...
                                              Message 22 of 30 , Oct 7, 2012
                                                Yesterday (Oct 6), Larry was doing yardwork, so I went for a drive in
                                                the afternoon.... hoping to see at least some hawks and Sandhill Cranes.

                                                I headed west... stopping at the Junction Hwys 1 & 32 Fish Pond. Not
                                                much there -- a few Mallards, 2 unidentified grebes, & 1 American Coot.
                                                I headed north up Hwy 32 to the Fosterton grid road.... not much there
                                                either - 1 Black-billed Magpie and some Rock Pigeons on the roof of an
                                                old barn in a farmyard.

                                                Along Fosterton grid road up to the Compressor Station, I saw 1 Mallard,
                                                2 Black-billed Magpies, a few Horned Larks, 13 Western Meadowlarks, 1
                                                Skunk, & 1 White-tailed Deer (there were 3 in the exact same location on
                                                Oct 5 when I was coming home from work.) Where did everything that was
                                                here just a couple days before go?

                                                I headed down the grid road at the Compressor Station junction south to
                                                Hwy 332. Not much - just 13 more Western Meadowlarks. I turned east
                                                at Hwy 332... and finally found 79 Sandhill Cranes in a shallow slough
                                                along with several Mallards, some unidentified ducks (too far for me to
                                                figure out without the spotting scope I forgot to bring), 2 Greater
                                                Yellowlegs, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, a few peeps, & 2 Black-billed Magpies.
                                                I continued east, crossing Hwy 32 and continued east down the grid road
                                                until it dead-ended and I had to turn north or south. along that
                                                stretch of grid I saw 1 Black-billed Magpie and 2 Western Meadowlarks.
                                                I turned south -- to the 'Plewis Road', then continued east again to Hwy
                                                4.... along there I saw 1 more Black-billed Magpie, 13 Western
                                                Meadowlarks, and a few House Sparrows near acreages.

                                                No Hawks... and 13 seemed to be the magic number for Western Meadowlarks
                                                on almost every grid road I travelled!!

                                                I wasn't quite ready to go home yet, so checked out the SPARC (Research
                                                Station) grounds netting myself 28 Mallards, 5 Blue-winged Teals, 4
                                                Black-billed Magpies, 2 Gray Squirrels (1 Black and 1 Gray Phased), and
                                                3 Mule Deer. I went out to the Filtration Plant Reservoir -- and only
                                                saw a few Gulls flying around and 2 Mallards on the water. South of the
                                                Fairgrounds 4 Black-billed Magpies were pecking about in the grass.

                                                Along South Railway St East, I saw 30+ Eurasian Collared-Doves sunning
                                                themselves in the old trees, and a couple hundred Rock Pigeons flying
                                                around the railroad tracks or roosting under the overpass. One last
                                                stop -- at Burnett's Pond netted me 150+ Canada Geese, a few Mallards,
                                                and a couple Gulls flying around.

                                                2 1/2 hours later, several kilometers, and no hawks, but at least I did
                                                see the Sandhill Cranes.

                                                - Mary Ann, Swift Current
                                                50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W



                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • M A
                                                This afternoon around 1:30PM I headed north to the old Stewart Valley landfill site -- a slough just west of Hwy 4 on the Correction Line Road (I just call it
                                                Message 23 of 30 , Oct 13, 2012
                                                  This afternoon around 1:30PM I headed north to the old Stewart Valley
                                                  landfill site -- a slough just west of Hwy 4 on the Correction Line Road
                                                  (I just call it the Stewart Valley Slough... do not know if it has a
                                                  name or not.)

                                                  En route along Hwy 4, all I saw were some Ducks on the sloughs, 1
                                                  Red-tailed Hawk, 2 Black-billed Magpies, and 1 Muskrat swimming in a slough.

                                                  At the Stewart Valley slough, I saw:

                                                  Canada Geese
                                                  Mallards, Canvasbacks, 2 Redheads (males), 6 Buffleheads (3 males, 3
                                                  females), 3 Ruddy Ducks (2 males, 1 female)
                                                  a few unidentified Grebes
                                                  2 Bald Eagles soaring together
                                                  American Coots
                                                  1 Black-billed Magpie
                                                  1 Horned Lark

                                                  From there, I headed back south along Hwy 4 to the Skyline Road (didn't
                                                  see anything except Ducks). Along the Skyline Road west to Hwy 32, I
                                                  saw 10 Black-billed Magpies (including 9 in one flock!) and 2 Western
                                                  Meadowlarks.

                                                  I didn't see anything along Hwy 32, and nothing at the Hwy 1 & 32
                                                  intersection Fish Pond.

                                                  When I got to the west end of Swift Current, I headed over to Burnett's
                                                  Pond. From the parking lot, I saw 150 +/- Canada Geese, 8 Tundra Swans
                                                  (4 adults, 4 young), 30 or so Mallards, and a few unidentified ducks.
                                                  (I don't like the area being fenced off.... you can't get closer to the
                                                  water, and with it so open as soon as you step out of the vehicle,
                                                  everything spooks.)

                                                  - Mary Ann, Swift Current
                                                  50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W



                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • M A
                                                  This morning, I headed east just before 10:00AM to check out the Northern Hawk Owl. It was still in the same place. Shortly after I arrived on scene, I got
                                                  Message 24 of 30 , Dec 2, 2012
                                                    This morning, I headed east just before 10:00AM to check out the
                                                    Northern Hawk Owl. It was still in the same place. Shortly after I
                                                    arrived on scene, I got my camera and tripod out - still too far for a
                                                    good photo, but I tried my best. When I was focusing in on the hawk, a
                                                    Common Raven was croaking nearby. I shot off a couple photos, then
                                                    looked up to see the Owl fly to the next high line power pole (a little
                                                    closer to the road.) The only other bird I saw was the Raven flying
                                                    north, still croaking. When I got home and looked at my photos, I had a
                                                    Merlin flying just above the Owl, so am assuming this is what made the
                                                    Owl fly off to the next power pole, and likely not the Raven.

                                                    I left the NHOW location shortly after another lone Southwest Naturalist
                                                    member showed up.... I had over a half hour's worth of good looks at it,
                                                    so decided it best to leave so there weren't too many people/ or
                                                    vehicles around. The Owl didn't seem to be bothered at all by our
                                                    presence, but I headed back to Swift Current anyhow.

                                                    En route from Swift Current to the NHOW location east of Waldeck, all I
                                                    saw were 5 Black-billed Magpies. On the way back home I saw 1 Common
                                                    Raven (likely the same one I saw when I was viewing the Owl) and 2
                                                    Black-billed Magpies.

                                                    Shortly before noon, I headed NE of the City... There was nothing at
                                                    the fish pond (at the intersection of the TransCanada Hwy and Hwy 32).
                                                    I actually drove 34.6 km up Hwy #32, and onto the Fosterton grid road
                                                    before seeing the first bird -- 1 Black-billed Magpie on the Fosterton
                                                    grid road. By then it was just starting to rain. Ugh!

                                                    At the Compressor Station, where I work, all I seen were 3 Black-billed
                                                    Magpies. I then headed down the grid road south of the Compressor
                                                    Station - saw a flock of approx 20 Snow Buntings, then onto the grid
                                                    road that joins up with the Skyline Road at Hwy #32 (I call this one
                                                    'West Skyline'.) Along this West Skyline grid I saw 1 Snowy Owl. It
                                                    was starting to rain harder so I decided to head for home. When I got
                                                    to Hwy #32, it was already getting icy, so I crossed the highway and
                                                    continued east on the Skyline Road up to the Swift Current Hutterite
                                                    road. I saw 1 Black-billed Magpie along the Skyline Road. Heading
                                                    south, I saw 11 Gray Partridges as they flew off the road when I slowly
                                                    approached. Approx. 2 km north of Swift Current, on the grid road
                                                    extension to 11th Av NW (also known as the old Battleford Trail), I saw
                                                    a flock of 3 Black-billed Magpies. That was the extent of the critter
                                                    viewing. By the time I got back into the City (shortly after 1:00PM),
                                                    it was pouring rain. Battleford Trail was turning into an ice rink, and
                                                    my Honda was encased in a thin layer of ice. The windshield wipers were
                                                    no longer keeping the window clear - as ice had formed on the wipers and
                                                    even washer fluid wasn't melting it.

                                                    Since then, the rain has continued and now the City is covered in a
                                                    layer of ice. I forgot something in my vehicle, so decided to go get
                                                    it. I couldn't. After almost falling, I was clinging to the grill of
                                                    the truck, with the Honda only a couple feet away from me, but no way
                                                    could I even attempt to get to my vehicle, so I inched my way back into
                                                    the house.

                                                    Our yard has been quiet... we did see at least one Squirrel this
                                                    morning, and 1 Black-billed Magpie stopped in briefly along with the
                                                    Red-breasted Nuthatches going back and forth for food. Mid-afternoon,
                                                    the flock of 20+ White-winged Crossbills showed up in the next door
                                                    neighbours' evergreen trees. That has been it. We haven't seen the Blue
                                                    Jays all day, and the peanuts we left out are still there.

                                                    With all the ice we now have (and I understand Swift Current is not the
                                                    only place affected), keep safe out there.

                                                    Happy birding everyone....

                                                    - Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current
                                                    50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W



                                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                  • Scott Manly
                                                    As I was driving from Weyburn to Moose Jaw on Sunday, I counted 16 Snowy Owls atop poles and began wondering some about irruptions.   Last year was considered
                                                    Message 25 of 30 , Dec 4, 2012
                                                      As I was driving from Weyburn to Moose Jaw on Sunday, I counted 16 Snowy Owls atop poles and began wondering some about irruptions.
                                                       
                                                      Last year was considered an irruption year for Snowy Owls, and from what I have understood, during these irruptions, many many birds usually die off in the winter for scarcity of food. But I noticed last year that the season was particularly warm, and many birds seemed to make it through the winter no problem (I remember one post of someone finding a "flock" of some 20 Snowies somewhere South of Regina in Spring).
                                                       
                                                      I have wondered what this year would bring. Would it be another irruption (which I think would be unusual as the winter usually trims down the boom from the summer before)? Would this be a result of global warming, not so much from the warmer winter last year, but due to the warming of the Arctic?
                                                       
                                                      Does anyone have anymore wisdom on this?
                                                       
                                                      Thanks,
                                                      Scott Manly,
                                                      Moose Jaw

                                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                    • zedbander
                                                      What I ve learned since I ve been hands-on with Snowy Owls is that we don t know much for sure about them. However, for those interested in further study, the
                                                      Message 26 of 30 , Dec 5, 2012
                                                        What I've learned since I've been hands-on with Snowy Owls is that we don't know much for sure about them.

                                                        However, for those interested in further study, the Birds of North America features Snowy Owls as one of their free samples, or they did earlier today.

                                                        http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/010/articles/introduction

                                                        It's a little outdated, as they have the oldest known wild owl at 9 years 5 months, when the latest banding data has an owl encountered at 16 years, and there have been new population estimates that lower the likely world population substantially, but otherwise there is a lot of information about these owls, including irruptions.

                                                        They do point out that over 80% of known mortalities of Snowy Owls are human caused and just 14% of known mortalities are from starvation.

                                                        Dan

                                                        Matador, Sk

                                                        --- In Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com, Scott Manly <manlyrs@...> wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > As I was driving from Weyburn to Moose Jaw on Sunday, I counted 16 Snowy Owls atop poles and began wondering some about irruptions.
                                                        >  
                                                        > Last year was considered an irruption year for Snowy Owls, and from what I have understood, during these irruptions, many many birds usually die off in the winter for scarcity of food. But I noticed last year that the season was particularly warm, and many birds seemed to make it through the winter no problem (I remember one post of someone finding a "flock" of some 20 Snowies somewhere South of Regina in Spring).
                                                        >  
                                                        > I have wondered what this year would bring. Would it be another irruption (which I think would be unusual as the winter usually trims down the boom from the summer before)? Would this be a result of global warming, not so much from the warmer winter last year, but due to the warming of the Arctic?
                                                        >  
                                                        > Does anyone have anymore wisdom on this?
                                                        >  
                                                        > Thanks,
                                                        > Scott Manly,
                                                        > Moose Jaw
                                                        >
                                                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                        >
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