Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Riverbank Hike Part One

This update will be in two parts, with part two to come later as there are many photos :

Starting out at 8am on Friday I hiked around the riverbank, beginning at the Weir, then across the CN Bridge, past the Mendel, over the University Bridge,into Cosmopolitan Park, Rotary Park and finally finishing up at Gabriel Dumont Park.

Here's what I saw ( not in order of appearance )
* = new for the year
Fox Sparrow* - 1 rusty colored bird scratching leaf litter in Cosmo Park. White-throated Sparrow* - 1 at Rotary Park.
American Tree Sparrow - 2 by the Train Bridge and 1 in Rotary Park.
House Sparrow - 6 in various locations.
House Finch - 4 in Cosmo Park.
Dark-eyed Junco - 3 near the Weir and 10 in Cosmo Park.
American Robin - 35 pretty much everywhere.
American Crow - 3 by the weir.
Common Raven - 2 over the river.
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 1 by the Mendel and 2 at Gabriel Dumont Park.
Black-capped Chickadee - 11 scattered in various locations.
Merlin - 8 in various locations , including 2 courting near the Mendel.
Red-tailed Hawk - 1 flying over the river.
American White Pelican* - 5 near Goose Island.
Double-crested Cormorant* - a flock of 23 on Goose Island.
Mallard - 5 on the river.
Gadwall - 1 bird on the west side of Goose Island.
Canada Goose - 120 pretty much everywhere.
Cackling Goose - 5 near Goose Island.
Ring-billed Gull - 75 below the train bridge.
California Gull - 2 by the Weir and 45 more at Gabriel Dumont Park.
Herring Gull - 6 at Gabriel Dumont Park.
Rock Dove - 300 under the Idlwyld Bridge and 50 under the train bridge.

Mammals :

Muskrat - 2
Least Chipmunk - 7
Richardson's Ground Squirrel - 1
Meadow Vole - 1
Jack rabbit - 1

Butterflies :

Milberts Tortoise Shell - 6
Compton Tortoise Shell - 1
Mourning Cloak - 3

Overnight we had a snowfall, combined with freezing rain, so thinking that this freakish weather would have brought some more birds down, I went out again for a few hours on Saturday.
Right off the bat, arriving at the Mendel Art Gallery, I spotted 2 'Myrtle race' Yellow-rumped Warblers looking out of place in the snow.
Heading along down the Meewasin Trail, I found another 7 , and once the day was done, I had a grand tally of 17 of these Warblers, others were on the east side of the river.
Once at the Weir I spotted 2 Killdeer among the rocks.
Looking up, I noticed what at first I thought was a huge gull , then as it got closer it was quite apparent I was staring at an Osprey.
This bird spent a good while hovering and looking down at the water, before finally plummeting down and heading off with a large fish while being chased by a Herring Gull intent on getting a free meal.
Like the Warblers , this was not to be the only Osprey I'd see.
Would you believe I saw a total of 8 of these amazing birds of prey, and all
of these were seen while walking along the lower trail on the east side. This is obviously a great time to see this bird as it follows the Saskatchewan River, and is by far the most I've seen in one day.
A surprise was seeing 2 Tree Swallows zip over the Diefenbaker Center as I rounded a path on my way to the university bridge.
Once at Cosmopolitan Park I was rewarded with 4 Hermit Thrushes (my first for 2008) and another Fox Sparrow (possibly the same one as yesterday)
Before finally heading home, a quick last scan of the river got me a Common Loon that I'd missed during yesterdays marathon trek .

Other species seen:

Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
California Gull
Northern Flicker
Black-billed Magpie
Black-capped Chickadee
Common Raven
American Crow
Blue Jay
Dark-eyed Junco
American Tree Sparrow
House Sparrow
House Finch
Song Sparrow ( new for the year )
American Robin
Rock Dove
Northern Shoveler
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant

Mammals :

Richardson's Ground Squirrel
Least Chipmunk

Here are the first batch of photos ( click to enlarge )

Fox Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Dark-eyed Junco

American Robin


American White Pelican

Red-breasted Nuthatch

California Gulls

Least Chipmunk


The Birdlady said...

They are all so wonderful! I guess my favorites would be the junco (stunning images) and the rabbit..but the pelican picture is really, really cool.

Nick S said...

Thankyou glad you like them :-)

John Theberge said...

I absolutely love your bird photography, you sure do know how to capture them with your camera.

Stacey Olson said...

Nick, I can't wait to see the rest of the photos. Love them all. One question though, are you sure that was a jack rabbit, the ears look awful short, My guess would have been snowshoe hare in almost summer coat... (But I wasn't there.) Great photos all of them. Thanks for sharing,,

Jotter Jan said...

WOW...great nature series Nick!!!!Your bird photo's are gorgeous...loved the Junco's and Pelican!!!

Nick S said...

Actually, it might even be a Cottontail Rabbit. I'll have to do some more research on the Bunnies as we have all three here. You're right though, Jack Rabbits ( Hare's) do have bigger ears !
thanks for your comments :-)

Shelley said...

I just adore all your photos - sucha a variety to relish!

Anonymous said...

You really take some amazing photos. Thank you for sharing them.

kjpweb said...

Stunning images - the Robin just bowls you over! Great work and keep 'em coming!
Cheers, Klaus

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

So many sightings and your pictures are wonderful. The pelican looks like a painting!

Nick S said...

Many thanks guys ! :-)

Barbie ♥ said...

Boy, Nick - you really have some super great images on your post! First of all...I have to say that I am so jealous that you could see EIGHT MERLINS! I have yet to see ONE! The yellow-rumped warbler is a wonderful pose! The junco pics are really outstanding and I love the rabbit! Great post!

April said...

A wonderful place with a rich variety of birds and animals! Your photographs are beautiful and I can visualize them in an art gallery. :)

Nick S said...

One of these days maybe :-) thanks again.

Unknown said...

You are very gifted! The rabbit photo is my favorite.

Nick S said...

Thanks Trina :-) I don't see those Rabbits by the river that often so it was a nice surprise.