Red-throated Loon Sighting at Regina Beach
- I checked Last Mountain Lake first later this morning near ten with a long time friend, Curtis Pollack, for a day of memorial birding dedicated to a mutual friend who passed away suddenly about a decade ago. Robert Kreba was an enthusiastic fall birder at Last Mountain Lake. He had many exciting sightings at that location
This morning, the Lake had ice developing at Lumsden Beach just to the east and in a central section near Buena Vista at the 4th Street Boat Launch. We were able to scope a large raft of Common Goldeneyes and see a male Barrow's Goldeneye east along the edge of the ice near 6th Street.
Other species observed offshore near the Buena Vista Beach area were both scaup species, Redheads, Canvasbacks, Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks and a few Western Grebes and a couple of American Coots. We also saw one Pied-billed Grebe and a Belted Kingfisher from the Buena Vista Grand Avenue Overlook.
We also saw a third cycle Bald Eagle flying east towards Lumsden Beach at this location plus scoped a smaller raft of 7 Bonaparte's Gulls ,well offshore.
A visit to Lumsden Beach provided a 'fly by' of 6 Common Mergansers including one adult male and some repeat sightings of other species seen elsewhere. Later, I saw a female Common and a Red-breasted Merganser together near Flag Point.
Kinookimaw Bay had some distant goldeneyes and some similar species seen earlier. We did not walk west from Flag Point as the trail featured snow drifts and presented difficult walking conditions.
Just after three, Curtis became ill and I drove him directly home to Lumsden. Instead of returning as I planned to Regina, I drove back to Regina Beach intent upon checking the evening gull roost at the Regina Beach Spit. The gulls had began gathering here just prior to our leaving for Lumsden. The offshore winds often favours their presence here. Otherwise, they fly west to roost for the night at Pelican Point.
I remained in the area for almost an hour watching the gull group increase to more than 25 individuals including a single hatch year Bonaparte's, many Ring-billed of various age classes, a California and several Herring Gulls. A hatch year Glaucous Gull arrived later and remained until I left for home near dusk..
While periodically scoping the gulls on the Spit from a nearby beach area, I checked a few diving ducks in the bay-Redheads. I also saw 3 Red-necked Grebes together moving in and out of the smaller bay on the east side of the Spit In loose association with these were a single Western and a Horned Grebe. All were foraging in the background beyond the Spit as I checked the gulls. At one point, I became aware of a Red-throated Loon near the grebes. It apparently approached from the east in the direction of the Regina Beach Yacht Club Docks and eventually left swimming on the surface going west back towards Flag Point after foraging in the area plus swimming around on the surface.
This smaller thin billed Loon was an adult molting into basic or winter plumage. It was in transitional plumage with still a few remnant red feathers remaining on the upper throat. The typical breeding dark gray facial and side of the neck feathering was in transition towards becoming the basic white of winter plumage. The effect was the creation of a 'five o'clock shadow or stippling effect' of these areas resembling that of a hatch year plumage, somewhat.
The RTLO remained in the area for almost fifteen minutes making shallow dives in a limited area possibly preying upon the schools of minnows often found in these smaller sheltered bays. Large Northern Pike are obtained here each fall by anglers casting from the Main Pier or Spit. Evidence of the presence of these predatory fish is obvious when minnows are seen jumping up from the surface of the water to avoid the predators lurking below. If you look closely from the flood damaged Main Pier or other vantage spots, you can see these schools as dark masses within these smaller sandy bottomed bays.
During the trip to Regina Beach in the morning we saw 7+ Ravens and some Black-billed Magpies between # 11 turnoff and Regina Beach.
This time near 'freeze-up' can be a time of fall bonus birding. Last year, during this week, two hatch year Black-legged Kittiwakes were seen by several birders for a half day at the smaller bay between the Main Pier and the Spit.
I will be birding at Regina Beach all day tomorrow beginning early. Join me if you wish.
Enjoy your Birding
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- I was in Westgate Books in Saskatoon this week for a quick look around. I bought a copy of Peterson's FG to Edible Wild Plants. There was a name in it written along the spine on the cover page but I didn't pay it much attention until I got home. Now I see it reads "Robert Kreba, April 10, 79." I figure there must have been only one Rober Kreba in Saskatoon who was a naturalist - certainly back to 1979.
--- In Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com, tsb2001@... wrote:
> I checked Last Mountain Lake first later this morning near ten with a long time friend, Curtis Pollack, for a day of memorial birding dedicated to a mutual friend who passed away suddenly about a decade ago. Robert Kreba was an enthusiastic fall birder at Last Mountain Lake. He had many exciting sightings at that location