2103 Christmas Bird Counts - Some of the highlights found so far...
- Greetings folks,I sit and write this today, while on a two-day break from a 4 in-a-row bird count marathon which started last Saturday at Warman, followed by Elbow/Qu'Appelle Valley on Sunday, Gardiner Dam on Monday, and then Radisson on Tuesday.With 2 days to 'recover' and catch up with some chores and errands at home I thought I'd quickly jot down some of the highlights for you all, incase you were interested to know what's been seen at the feeders, farmyards and out on the water in our Province this winter season.I apologize in advance if I get any specific locations or numbers wrong, some of these will be from memory and brief mentions to each other while 'on the road'.I'll begin with the birds seen in my own sector/s, followed by birds that the other teams found.Clark's Crossing CBC - Warman sector - December 14th 2013 :Pileated Woodpecker - This bird flew over our vehicle first thing in the morning heading possibly towards the river?Cedar WaxwingWhite-breasted NuthatchSnow BuntingGreat Horned OwlI returned home after this count to find a White-throated Sparrow at my ground feeder. The bird has not been seen since, but could still be around.Qu'Appelle Valley Dam/Elbow CBC December 15th 2013 :Sharp-tailed Grouse - A HUGE flock of 80+ feeding on Buffalo berriesBohemian Waxwing - 150+Eurasian Collared DoveEurasian StarlingRed-winged BlackbirdBrown CreeperAmerican RobinNorthern FlickerGreat Horned OwlGardiner Dam CBC - December 16th 2013 :Great Black-backed Gull - Thankyou to the very diligent Phil Taylor for taking the extra bit of time to observe this vagrant gull, and who 'inspired' me to attempt some distant photos in 70mph winds with failing light. In the end, well worth the effort!Herring GullAmerican White Pelican - This lone pelican was seen flying around after we flushed the poor thing from wherever it was hiding near the spillway.Gyrfalcon - A gray-morph bird seen harassing the thousands of Mallards in the open water. Sadly did not pose for photos. Some very distant flight shots were taken.Varied Thrush - Forsberg's Farm Nr. Gardiner Dam - While others in my team were checking out the feeders near the farmhouse, I spotted a male VATH at the far end of the spruce tree 'avenue'. Photos were taken, and 15 minutes later Guy Wapple was able to get a brief glimpse also.Cackling Goose - Taking shelter near the spillwayCanvasbackRedheadCommon GoldeneyeCommon MerganserSnow BuntingSnowy Owl - Seen by Kevin Moore and company while checking out another sector we didn't have time for.Bald EagleGolden-crowned KingletGreat Horned Owl - 2Radisson CBC - December 17th 2013 :Pine Grosbeak - 1 singing male in an aspen bluffDark-eyed Junco - 7 in the town of BordenCedar Waxwing - 2 at BordenEurasian Collared Dove - 4 in BordenGray Partridge - 9Snow Bunting - 300+Tomorrow I take part in another count at Harris, then Saskatoon (on Boxing Day) and finally Pike Lake on January 4th.I hope some of you can participate in some of these and other counts in your own region/s. They sure keep the blood-pumping on a cold day!Best of birding.Nick SaundersSaskatoon
Always look forward to your reports Nick and your gorgeous photos. This report reminded me of 'ahead to the future' - 2103 :-). Hope we do still have all these birds around then!!