Re: Pike Lake
- Just a note-- there was not one Great Horned Owl, but a pair of them,
apparently breeding behind the nature centre (?) building.
--- In Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com, Ryan Dudragne <pl8guy@...> wrote:
> Good Evening All,
> A welcome relief from the dreaded organic chemistry mid-term exam
> yesterday, I went on a field trip with the Saskatoon Nature Society to
> Pike Lake PP this afternoon. Overall, the weather was quite pleasant,
> which made trudging through the plenitude of snow not quite as
> difficult. Sure am tired now, though!
> Before I left for the trip, a Merlin silently shot past me in front of
> my residence here on campus, displacing a few hundred Bohemian Waxwings
> from the nearby trees! A foretaste of what was to come? Perhaps...
> We had a modest turnout for the field trip, fitting ourselves into four
> vehicles. Perhaps a mile or so south of Saskatoon, near the
> Ranch", I thought I saw a Short-eared Owl sitting in the ditch beside
> the highway. Our parade whipped around, and sure enough, the little
> short ear-tuffed bundle of fluff in the ditch was indeed a Short-eared
> Owl. Apparently unconcerned, it just sat there, occasionally twisting
> its head as we greedily cast our eyes, binoculars, and cameras at it.
> It only flew away, quite healthy, as one photographer attempted a
> shot. This was much to our relief, as we were starting to question the
> bird's health as it sat there for several minutes. Not at all a bad
> year bird for me- this is good!
> Off to a good start bird-wise, we continued on to Pike Lake. During
> this time, we happened across a handful of Horned Larks with at least
> one Snow Bunting in their midst, a couple of Rock Pigeons, and another
> flock of Bohemian Waxwings. The only other thing of note on the way to
> Pike Lake was seen on a snowy back road-- a hungry porcupine was
> on a tree branch fairly close to the road.
> At Pike Lake, we were able to tick off the following: (+ = new year
> for Yours Truly)
> (+)Great Horned Owl
> Downy Woodpecker - 1 male
> Hairy Woodpecker - 4
> (+)Blue Jay - 2, plus at least ten more as my car was heading home
> Black-billed Magpie
> Black-capped Chickadees
> (+)White-breasted Nuthatches - at least 6
> On the way home, north of Pike Lake, we happened upon another
> Short-eared Owl, perched on a bare tree snag before flying off in the
> late afternoon sunlight.
> Ryan Dudragne
> Saskatoon, SK
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- My daughter Colleen, Ryan D. and I went to Pike Lake this afternoon.
Before going in to the park I decided to turn onto O'Malley road and
go south and then east around the south end of the channel (the
campground is now locked so you can't drive down there within the
park). There wasn't anything to see anyway because the channel had a
thin layer of ice over it. So I drove into the park and parked at the
beach. There were more birds closer to the beach than when Nick and I
were there on Friday - probably because there were fewer ice-free
patches. We saw: American Coots, Gadwall, Scaup sp., Canvasbacks,
Redheads, Pied-billed Grebes (3) and a Greater Yellowlegs. We could
also see more Scaup and a hundred or more Canada Geese further up the
lake. We then bundled back into the car and I drove over to the Nature
Trail. I had intended that Colleen and Ryan could walk along the trail
a bit and feed the chickadees but there was no need. As I gave them
some seed by the road the chickadees descended and they were later
joined by 3 White-breasted Nuthatches and a Red Squirrel.
Here's 3 shots of the chickadees
and one of a White-breasted Nuthatches.
Although we all got to feed a nuthatch they only stayed very briefly
and seemed to be intimidated by the chickadees.
A Red Squirrel seemed to take its cue from the chickadees and started
eating seeds right at my feet. I leaned down and put my hand on the
ground and Ryan said that squirrels had very poor eyesight so I moved
my hand closer to the squirrel until it was right under its nose and
then it started feeding from my hand.
I had been hoping that we would also see some Sandhill Cranes and had
almost given up hope but we saw several hundred on a sandbar on the
river along with several flocks flying out to the surrounding fields.
This is 4 of a group of 9. As you can see the last crane has a broken leg.
We also saw a Ring-necked Duck, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Magpies,
Common Raven (soaring over the Pike Lake road and looking like a
vulture) and the briefest glimpse of what might have been a shrike.