Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip Report - Southwest


Back to normal?  Maybe!  My scanning project was waylaid by a s-l-o-o-o-o-w computer, that problem is fixed, but now I've got new ones!  Can't use my faithful "Riptide" image program, so the pics in this post are uncropped and not resized. 

But we finally got to take a trip!  Had to pack all of our birding into one day, but we managed!  Our first tour was through the Alexander-Griswold marsh, where we picked up all of the expected ducks but two (dipped on Green-Winged Teal and American Wigeon). 

One of the first birds we spotted was a far off Swainson's Hawk! 

Western Meadowlarks are most conspicuous this time of year, singing for territoriy is serious business!  This fellow looks like he's crossing his legs.

A bit more classic pose.

Lots of ducks to be found, but not many good photos to be had!  Here are a few, starting with a Canvasback

A Northern Pintail

Northern Shoveler male (left) with Lesser Scaup Male (center) and female (right). 

Sorry this is a bad picture, but it includes a Ring-Necked Duck (second from right), another Canvasback, and a pair of Redheads.  We saw lots of Redheads and quite a few Gadwalls, but most were too far away for pictures. 

We also saw quite a few Blue-Winged Teals, but they were likewise skittish. 

Lots of American Coots around, these three are displaying. 

Tons of Red-Winged Blackbirds,

and Song Sparrows too!

We also saw a Wilson's Snipe, and quite a few Yellow-Headed Blackbirds.  Mammals were a little sparse, but we did spy a muskrat, a Richardson's Ground Squirrel, and this cutie (a Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel).

Our second destination was Whitewater Lake.  The wind had picked up by now, and the clouds were starting to roll in.  A big flock of Snow Geese was spied along the roadside.

Another Western Meadowlark. 

Flushed a pair of Gray Partridge from the roadside, here is a picture of one of them!

We also saw a few American Kestrels during the day.

And a single Horned Lark.

It started to rain soon after we got to Whitewater, and there wasn't too much to see. 

We thought about turning around, but decided to stick it out, and had lunch in the car. 

This trio of Common Grackles kept a close eye on things. 

Good thing we stayed!  In short order, there were ducks (Redheads and Scaup), gulls (Franklins or Bonapartes, couldn't see well enough to determine which), and a Double-Crested Cormorant, struggling to fly against the wind.  Then a pair of American Avocets out in the water.  Next to show up was a flock of American White Pelicans, then a flock of Tundra Swans!  Only bad pics, of course! 

Leaving Deloraine, we spotted a Eurasian Collared Dove.  These guys are new to the province, and it was a life bird for both of us. 

More Snow Geese and Tundra Swans seen along the highway.

Then a family group of Sandhill Cranes flushed across the road, and stuck around long enough for pictures. 

Our next sighting was another Swainsons Hawk,

And our last bird of the day was another Robin.

Other birds seen but not pictured:  Mallard, Canada Goose, Red-Tailed Hawk, American Crow, House Sparrow, Rock Pigeon, Killdeer, Ruddy Duck, Pied-Billed Grebe, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Ring-Billed Gull, Brewer's Blackbird.

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