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  • M A
    This morning we were on our way to the beautiful Cypress Hills by 7:00 AM!!! As soon as we left the city limits, we started counting hawks!!! From Swift
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 7, 2003
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      This morning we were on our way to the beautiful Cypress Hills by 7:00 AM!!!  As soon as we left the city limits, we started counting hawks!!!  From Swift Current to Maple Creek we saw:
      12 Swainson's Hawks
      2 Red-tailed Hawks
      3 unidentified hawks (I am pretty sure one of those was a Red-tailed and 1 a Swainson's, but the jury is out on that!  The three of us couldn't reach a consensus!)
      American Crows
      1 Black-billed Magpie
      Red-winged Blackbirds
      Yellow-headed Blackbirds
      Western Meadowlarks
      Common Grackles
      Mourning Doves
      Northern Shoveler
      10+ Northern Pintails
      Franklin's Gulls
      Tree Swallows
      unidentified ducks, sparrows, gulls

      From Maple Creek to Cypress Hills:
      1 Red-tailed Hawk
      American Crows
      3 Black-billed Magpies
      Tree Swallows
      10 pairs Mountain Bluebirds
      7 Canada Geese (flying in a small flock??)
      Mourning Doves
      American Robins
      House Sparrows
      3 unidentified hawks (1 - I am pretty sure it was a Swainson's!) &  sparrows

      The Hills were indeed alive....  We spent a few hours at the Cypress Hills Prov Park (Centre Block) up and down a couple trails and around one of the group campgrounds where we always see something!!  We weren't disappointed.  We saw:
      2 prs Mountain Bluebirds (on the east edge of the Park)
      Tree Swallows
      Barn Swallows
      1 Red-tailed Hawk
      1 unidentified accipiter (it didn't stick around long enough for us to get a good look at it -- it flew into the pine trees by the campground registration office)
      Yellow-headed Blackbird (first one we've ever seen in Cypress Hills P.P.)
      Red-winged Blackbirds
      Brown-headed Cowbirds
      Ruffed Grouse (male) -- drumming (first time we've ever seen this... and we were within 50 feet or so of him!  AWESOME!!!!)
      2 Common Nighthawks (flying around during the mid-afternoon!!!)
      1 Western Tanager (male) -- A most handsome specimen!!!
      1 Townsend Solitaire (another first time species for us at Cypress Hills P.P., and we had several good looks at it!)
      Am Robins
      2 Swainson's Thrushes
      Black-capped Chickadees
      Dark-eyed Juncos (including Pink-sided and Oregon)
      House Wrens
      1 Mourning Dove
      2 Am Goldfinches (male)
      2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets (and heard several more!)
      Least Flycatchers
      Common Yellowthroats
      3 Ovenbirds (first time we've seen them in Cypress Hills P.P.)
      1 pair American Redstarts
      1 pair Ring-necked Ducks
      Canada Geese (1 pair had 3 goslings, another pair had 7!!!)
      Mallard Ducks (including 1 female with 10 ducklings, and another female with 7!!  One mother almost lost a duckling to a hungry Ring-billed Gull, but was able to fend off the Gull!)
      4 American White Pelicans
      Ring-billed Gulls
      Double-crested Cormorants
      3 Red-necked Grebes (one on her floating nest near the edge of the water)
      1 Song Sparrow
      1 Hairy Woodpecker (female)
      1 Northern Flicker
      unidentified sandpiper and flycatchers
      we also heard but did not see the Yellow Warbler and several Red-breasted Nuthatches (very nearby, but remained unseen!)
      We saw a Red-sided Garter Snake (Ryan was excited about that!), Mule Deer, Muskrat, & Red Squirrels.  (The Muskrat swam along the edge of the lake, right by a female RW Blackbird -- not impressed with the hairy critter, the female RWBL hit the muskrat a few times on its back as it swam by, totally unconcerned and unaffected by the upset bird!)

      We had to leave before 4:30 as I had another commitment to get home for this evening...  As we headed for home, between the Park and Maple Creek we saw 5 pairs Mountain Bluebirds (we were driving a lot faster heading home, so probably missed some of what we saw this morning), Tree Swallows, 3 Magpies, 1 pair of Northern Harriers (the male was flying with a mouse in its talons, and handed it over to the female Harrier in mid-air!!  AWESOME!!!), Am Crows, 1 Red-tailed Hawk (and another unidentified hawk), 1 Swainson's Hawk, Western Meadowlarks, American Robins, 1 Great Blue Heron flying somewhere, House Sparrows and 3 Mule Deer (and lots of Richardson's Ground Squirrels to keep the hawks well-fed!!)

      Between Maple Creek & Swift Current, as we drove eastbound, we saw: 1 Red-tailed hawk, Swainson's Hawks (our recorder didn't keep count!), an unidentified hawk, Am Crows, Western Meadowlarks, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Blue-winged Teals, American Coot, unidentified ducks, Rock Doves,  4 Pronghorn Antelope, & 1 White-tailed Jack Rabbit.

      As we were hauling ourselves and our stuff out of the Honda, into the house after we got home, Larry heard a Common Nighthawk flying over our neighbourhood!!  I guess they're back in SW Saskatchewan!!!  We were wishing we could have stayed longer at the Park today (and got to a few more of our favourite places within the Park), but it was a beautiful day well spent anyhow!!!  The sun didn't come out until mid-afternoon... maybe if it had, we might have seen a few more species.  Oh, well... there's always our next trip to the beautiful Cypress Hills:-)

      Happy Birding....

      - Mary Ann, Larry, & Ryan -  Swift Current

    • Bob
      Mary Ann Did you get to see any Dusky Flycatchers? Next to the Least or the kingbirds this species is the perhaps the most common flycatcher. It is regular
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 7, 2003
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        Mary Ann
        Did you get to see any Dusky Flycatchers? Next to the Least or the kingbirds this species is the perhaps the most common flycatcher. It is regular along the Valley of Beavers Nature Trail. Check out their song on www.enature.com
        Also next time check out the Warbling Vireo's at Cypress because they are the western form and at one time were candidates for a split into a separate species.
        Sounds as if you had a pretty fine day though. That Townsend's Solitaire sightings is very  interesting as they apparently have nested along the Conglomerate Cliffs.
        The area below the Old Fort in the West Block has a record of nesting Townsend's Warblers. I would love to see that species in the Hills.
        Good Birding
        Bob L
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