- Hello Everyone:
Well, I'm back, as it were, after a long hiatus from posting, including a 'special time' of enforced silence due to a completely fried hard drive. It wasn't quite silent as I have a quirky, old, dial-up machine downstairs - just too slow and irritating to spend much time on. (And, this bit of complaining is coming from someone who learned to type on manual typewriters!).
Anyway.....I just want to say, here, that I did an overnight trip to Chaplin last Monday/Tuesday. It was cold, wet and extremely windy. The viewing conditions were bad, road conditions weren't much good either. Sanderlings were everywhere in fairly large flocks. This was the main bird species at Chaplin Lake for sure. There also were American Avocets (many nesting), a few Willets, Marbled Godwits, Least Sandpipers, White-rumped Sandpipers, Wilson's Phalaropes, various duck species.
The highlight for me, though, was seeing 1 Piping Plover at Reed Lake late on Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning I found a total of 6 Piping Plover pairs plus one solo (at least I couldn't match it up with another) along the western mudflat side of grid #58. First Sightings for the year, of course.
I stopped in at the Interpretive centre for a chat before leaving the area to tell them what I had seen, and where. They were a bit anxious about how the Shorebird Festival was going to evolve this past weekend since the wet weather had stopped the tours and access to all sites except the grid road.
Other birds of interest on my trip back home include:
Mountain Bluebirds at Besant Campground (The road down to the heritage marsh got a little wet and iffy so I decided to be safer than sorry about going down - my rv is a van type but it's heavy). Also Swallowtail butterflies, Westerns I think.
Lark Sparrows, Catbirds and more Swallowtail bflies at Dunnet Regional Park at Avonlea
I'll post again about Estevan area things after I take some dog friends for a walk.
Kathy in Estevan
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- Currently, this is a great time to see Piping Plovers as close as at roadside within the second basin south on # 58. As mentioned previously, I saw 12 including adults and juveniles here last week. I'm uncertain just how long these will remain?
The closest two juveniles were at the very edge of the road allowance just meters away. Others were scattered along the shallow inflow channels of fresh water which meanders into the alkaline basin here. One of these birds exhibited the intriguing plover "foot vibration" foraging behavior which was the subject of a discussion earlier this spring.
Its great that you got the opportunity to get the bus out on the dikes. We had several brief yet heavy showers here in the City this afternoon.
On another note, in fairness, my research suggests that many refuges have similar hours.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 2:36 PM
Subject: [Saskbirds] chaplin lake tour
I have just returned from taking out a tour on the West Chaplin Lake.
We saw 2 Piping Plovers, a Marbled Godwit, approximately 8-12 Willets,
many Wilson's Phalarope, sanderlings, a few sandpipers, and of course,
American Avocets. I noticed that many of the Avocets heads have now
changed to an almost white color. The Phalarope are all a lighter shade
now too. The roads are not too bad, the East side is rough and is not
the best driving, due to sodium sulphate on the road, but at least we
were able to take the shuttle bus out!
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- We spent a few days in Fort Saskatchewan, AB where we enjoyed two days of snowfall - not. That excluded our Alberta birding. We did see a Gyrfalcon on our way up west of Saskatoon and a Great-blue Heron. Anyway, yesterday we came home via Swift Current and stayed until today to visit the old haunts from my childhood days. Of note were the dozens of dead Richardson Ground Squirrels on the highway in a short stretch between Saskatchewan Landing and Swift Current. No wonder there were so many hawks in that area. It was nice to see the sun when we hit Saskatchewan. We stopped at Chaplin and glad we did. We saw the thousands of Sanderlings plus Semipalated Sandpipers mentioned by Stephane and also spent a good half hour watching four Piping Plovers on the east side of the road. We had really lots of good sightings on our trip. Also it was great to see water in Reed Lake as last year it seemed to be miles away. The Double-crested Cormorant tree (Donna's name for it) in Moose Jaw never fails to entertain us. Lots of cormorants sit on the limbs there every day.
All sightings are exciting but only mentioned a few highlights.
Val and Doyle T - McTaggart
- Jordan (fun and very knowledgeable), Tan and I took a trip down south in Tuesday morning to the Lake Alma area. Great company and lots of neat sightings in six hours on a gorgeous day. While around Sandhoff Lake we stopped to observe shorebirds. The lake is quite low exposing a fair bit of alkaline shoreline. Lots of shorebirds. Amazingly four calling birds flew overhead and landed on the gravel road about 40' in front of the vehicle. Piping Plovers. We had good views of them walking around. On the still rarer side also saw a few Chestnut-collared Longspurs and three or so Bobolinks in that area. I've really enjoyed going down there about twice a year for the last six years usually with Doyle and have enjoyed Kathy's company a lot also. She really knows the area and her birds exceptionally well. It's a magnetizing place. This is the first time seeing Piping Plovers there for me. Lots of Swainson's Hawks this year. I didn't keep a listing on paper but we saw many species. Val T - McTaggart