More About Nick 'N Me...
- Fellow Birders,
After posting on this forum for 5 years now, I discovered something new.
At the very top of the box when you go to post is a feature entitled
'Compose your message with Rich-Text Editor (Beta).' It says it's new,
but how long this feature actually has been available to us is anyone's
guess. Probably for a year or two---it just took me that long to
At any rate I clicked on it and got the usual post set-up, but with a
toolbar above it, much like you have in Word or other programs. It
gives you the capability to boldface, italicize, or underline highlights
of your sightings. Of course you could also use any combination of the
three!!! I plan on using it in my future stories. What better way to
start than with a more detailed summary of the S'toon May Day Bird Count
held last Saturday, May 27.
As mentioned earlier, I picked up Nick shortly after six bells on
Saturday morning. Our assignment was SW 1, which is basically the area
just south of the city west of the South Saskatchewan River, over to
Highway 7 and down to Tessier. The southern edge runs east to west
about 7 kms. south of Swanson on Highway 45.
It was definitely fleece and hot coffee weather, with temperatures
hovering only around the + 4 range and a bit of a cool breeze already.
Brrr! We headed out of town via 11th Street to Circle Drive on the west
side of town, then turned south into our territory on Valley Road. We
worked our way slowly down towards Pike Lake, getting quite a few birds
along the way. We then birded the east shore of Pike, including the
cabin subdivision. This was a very productive area.
Returning north, we then "crossed the T" at the north end of the lake
and took Snake Trail down the west side. Eventually we called up Dan
Neves (or Dan Seven as most of you know him!) He lives halfway down
near St. Martin's Church. He birded with us for a couple of hours,
sharing his wealth of local knowledge to help ferret a few species out.
It was great to "meet" him again after so many years. Of course, I've
been reading his interesting posts the past while here, but it's not the
After dropping him back at the house, I told Nick as great as this area
was, we did have a huge territory to cover and had to get going! We
then drove across to Delisle, then down Hwy. 7 to Laura. From there we
swung south and then west down the east side of Goose Lake. It's a good
thing the Nature Society only wants 25 individuals of each duck species
tallied. We'd still be at Goose counting them! There were hundreds and
hundreds of ducks there. Actually, there were ducks everywhere we went.
The prairie is a wonderful place to live when it rains like it has the
past couple of years. Of course, the farmers in our group might
disagree, but there certainly is no shortage of water in the Saskatoon
district that's for sure!
I didn't feel as guilty spending so much time around Pike Lake when we
drove to the other areas of our sector. With all the recent rain, those
clay trails were by and large impassible. Even the main grids that we
stayed on were quite sloppy in places. We worked our way back to Pike
via Swanson, Donavon then east to Gledhow, before visiting the Pike Lake
area briefly on the way home.
We tallied 112 varieties, of which 26 (# below, as usual) were new year
birds for yours truly. Nick added a few lifers as well, which some were
more heard than seen. He was pleased either way, I think! Selected
G W-fronted Goose - 1. A bit of a surprise, this lone individual was
feeding with a small flock of Canada's a few clicks south of town.
Blue-winged Teal - 250+. Not far behind the following species in terms
of numbers. The total is 25 (the minimum) plus 225+ at Goose Lake.
N Shoveler - 800+. By far the most numerous duck of the day. I wish we
could/would have kept track of them all. The total is 25 plus 750+ at
Ring-necked Duck - 7
Bufflehead - 1
# Ruffed Grouse - 1. Drumming at Pike Lake on visit #2.
# Pied-billed Grebe - 1. I agree with earlier posts. Where are the
P-b's this spring? None at several stops at Perdue so far this year and
the only bird we hear all day is along the E side of Pike Lk.
# Black-cr Night Heron - 1. A single adult along the E shore of Goose
N Harrier - 6
Swain Hawk - 14
R-t Hawk - 9
# Ferruginous Hawk - 1. Nick's life sighting is a classic light phase
bird perched on a fence post, just south of the McDonald Creek PFRA
Headquarters. Unfortunately, just as we line up the scope for a better
look, it takes flight. We watch this magnificent raptor for several
minutes in the air, but it eventually disappears to the SE before Nick
can get a photo.
Am Kestrel - 1. Only one!
Merlin - 1. Seen by Dan near his place after we leave. Actually Nick
and I see another one at the south end of town on our way home.
Sora - 14. Heard only!
Am Golden Plover - 26. 9 over me at Pike, while Nick and Dan are
chasing something else. 17 more down by Laura.
Am Avocet - 29
Grtr Yllgs - 3
Less Yllgs - 6
Solit Sand - 1
Will - 17
# Long-billed Curlew - 1. I hear one north of the Strawberry Ranch on
Valley Rd., but we are unable to locate the bird.
Marb Godwit - 11
Peep - 40+. In spite of lots of water---perhaps too much!---an
unidentified flock flying near Goose Lk. are the only birds we see all
Pect Sand - 4
Wils Snipe - 7
# Wils Phal - 35+
Frank Gull - 872+
Black Tern - 47
Mourn Dove - 28
G H Owl - 6
# Ruby-thr Hummer - 1. E side of Pike Lk.
# Yel-bell Saps - 1
Hairy Wpkr - 1
N Flick - 11
Pileated Wpkr - 1. We hear this bird along the nature trail at Pike,
but it doesn't co-operate by showing us.
Least Flyc - 17. All heard.
# E Phoebe - 2
W Kingbird - 11
E Kingbird - 17
Logg Shrike - 5
# Warb Vireo - 5. Lifer for Nick and we get a very good look at the
first bird we find along the E side of Pike Lk.
# R-e Vireo - 4
Blue Jay - 1
Com Raven - 3
Tree Swlw - 235+. The vast majority swooping low over Pike Lk., looking
for something to eat!
# Bank Swlw - 65+
# Cliff Swlw - 6
Barn Swlw - 45+
B-c Chick - 7
W-b Nuthatch - 1. Also found on our second tour of Pike on the nature
House Wren - 28
Marsh Wren - 3
Mount Blbd - 8
# Veery - 3. Along the nature trail at Pike.
# Gray Catbird - 9
# Brown Thrasher - 3
# Sprague's Pipit - 4. We hear and see "the speck in the sky" in
grasslands southwest of Laura. It's another lifer for Nick.
Tennessee Warbler - 7
Orange-cr Warb - 1
Yellow Warb - 44
# Cape May Warb - 2. Two single males in the Pike area. The second
gives us a decent look at it forages and sings in a medium-sized Spruce
tree for Nick's life sighting.
Y-rumped Warb - 2
# Black And White Warb - 1. Male singing on the nature trail at Pike.
# Am Redstart - 9. All on the nature trail as well.
# Ovenbird - 2. Great spot by Dan on the nature trail. During our
return visit in the evening, the "Teacher bird" is singing strongly.
Com Yellowthroat - 4.
# Spotted Towhee - 11
Chip Sprw - 16
Cl-col Sprw - 63
Vesp Sprw - 52
# Lark Sprw - 3. Pike Lake area.
Savan Sprw - 57
# Baird's Sprw - 4. All SW of Laura. Nick's "lifer" however, doesn't
co-operate very well for a diagnostic look. However, we do enjoy the
# Le Conte's Sprw - 2. Both near the Boy Scout Camp at the north end of
Pike. We actually watch a bird singing from a grassy hummock.
# N Sharp-tailed Sprw - 1. One giving it's explosive hiss near the Le
Conte's. Nick has to satisfied with the "song" for his first ever.
Song Sprw - 22
R-w Bkbd - 314
W Meadow - 110
Y-h Bkbd - 115
Brew Bkbd - 180
Com Grack - 7
B-h Cowbird - 86
# Baltimore Oriole - 12. Several fabulous looks at one of the prettiest
birds we have.
Purple Finch - 1. Dan sees a male at his feeder before our arrival.
House Finch - 1. Female near Dan's.
Am Goldfinch - 27
OK, guess that was pretty much all 112, but I got a little carried away.
I'll sign off now and give someone else a chance!...
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