Re: [Saskbirds] South Sask River (Canoe) Trip Report
- Hi Trevor,
That sounds like a mighty fine trip to take. The wildlife sounded like it
was spectacular and it certainly would be a shame to lose that area to the
Meridian Dam(n)!!! I hope to be able to make a canoe trip like that some
time in the future ... if anybody is going and needs another paddler, I'll
try to make myself available next summer.
Nice to hear from you on Saskbirds again, Trevor.
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2001 3:27 PM
Subject: [Saskbirds] South Sask River (Canoe) Trip Report
> Hello Prairie Birders:Messenger
> I was paddling a piece of the South Sask. River on the
> weekend, just upstream of Brenda and John Flood's
> neighbourhood. We started in Alberta where highway 41
> crosses the river and ended a couple days later at the
> Estuary Ferry.
> We (four of us--myself, a friend, Rob Wright, and our
> two young sons) had some bad head winds to contend
> with so had to line the canoes for all of the first
> day just to make progress. With that and the rain my
> mind wasn't always on the birds. Nevertheless, this
> wild stretch of dissected plateau badlands, sand dunes
> and sagebrush prairie is always full of birds. We saw
> a good mix of migrant songbirds along the
> way--American pipits, Lapland longspurs, brown
> thrashers, Tennesee, Orange-crowned, and Yellow-Rumped
> Warblers, my first juncoes of the fall, R-B
> nuthatches, Eastern kingbirds, a Say's Phoebe. Also
> saw several fish-eating birds of course: lots of
> kingfishers, great blue herons, some common
> mergansers, and two juvenile black-crowned night
> herons. A full mix of waterfowl, including snow geese,
> and three or four species of shorebirds.
> The big highlight in birds along this river is always
> the raptors--lots of sharp-shinned hawks, several
> kestrels, some harriers. Saw five prairie falcons,
> seven golden eagles and two bald eagles. The eagles
> were all adults. (On the drive home we saw a
> Ferruginous hawk.) The most exciting moment was
> provided by a pair of golden eagles. Right in front of
> us as we approached a bend in the river two golden
> eagles stooped on a flock of loafing Canada Geese. The
> geese took flight and the large female eagle knocked
> one to the ground. A spectacular struggle ensued, with
> the goose nearly managing to escape but the male eagle
> pinned it down again and let his mate take over to do
> the kill. We floated in our canoes just offshore from
> the mudflat where this was taking place. Funny thing
> is one of the boys had asked us earlier in the day if
> an eagle can take a goose--I answered that it might
> happen now and then but wasn't very likely--too much
> risk of injury for the eagle, I said.
> On this trip we also saw two bull snakes, a rattle
> snake, and dozens of mule deer.
> In summer this stretch of the river, as Robert Kreba
> will tell you, has lots of Violet-green swallows, rock
> wrens, chats, breeding falcons, eagles and so on. It
> is a tremendously important bird area for Canada--one
> by the way that would be lost forever if the proposed
> Meridian Dam were to go through.
> Good birding,
> Trevor Herriot
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