Friday, August 22, 2008

Birding Meewasin Park

At 8am I set out to Meewasin Park which is situated in
the city's north west and runs along the river. It has Poplar and Aspen trees, Chokecherry, Buffalo Berry , Silverberry. Willow and Red Osier Dogwood shrubs to name but a few.
I spent a few hours there, with my primary goal to find as many migrants as I could.
The Meewasin trail here just keeps on going, and I actually had to turn back after awhile otherwise I'd have gotten carried away and ended up having supper there.
When I first arrived at the park, it was alive with Robins. Probably 70-80 of them . It was hard to separate the occasional Catbird or Thrasher at times because they were in almost every tree or bush often with 2 or 3 young in tow.
On the east side of the riverbank I watched as a flock of Crows, 100 strong,took to the skies as a Great Blue Heron disturbed by their flight, veered off in another direction.
The only other birds I saw over the river were 5 White Pelicans and a couple of hunting Northern Harriers.
I did find a few Warblers under the tree canopy, but photographing them was pretty much impossible as they were 30ft up in the air flitting from branch to branch.
My prize for the day was finding two Olive-sided Flycatchers, one of whom was still giving its " Quick Three Beers " call, which I had only ever heard on a cd before, so that was great.

Here are a few of the highlights followed by some photos :

Black & White Warbler - 2 females
Magnolia Warbler - 1 female
Tennessee Warbler - 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 5
Wilson's Warbler - 1 male
Blackpoll Warbler - 1 fall plumaged male
American Redstart - 1 male, 2 females
Yellow Warbler - 6
Warbling Vireo - 4
Red-eyed Vireo - 2
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 2
Alder Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 2
Northern Flicker - 4
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Great Blue Heron - 1
Northern Harrier - 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1 female
Purple Finch - 1 heard
House Finch - 60+ !
American Goldfinch - 2
Pine Siskin - 6
Baltimore Oriole - 1
Spotted Towhee - 1

Olive-sided Flycatcher :

Warbling Vireo :

Red-eyed Vireo :

American Robin ( juvenile ) :

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More from Gabriel Dumont Park

Things were quite slow the other day when I went to the park, and it sure was hot. Maybe this was a factor. Still , I managed to get a few photos ...

House Wren - This adult was feeding bugs to its young :

Yellow Warbler - I saw a Tennessee Warbler at the park feeding close to this guy, but it didn't stick around for a photo op :

Eastern Kingbird - This youngster was sat out in the parking lot, and I had to get it to safety by placing it in some bushes away from the cars. Its parents soon found it, and all was well :

Cedar Waxwing - There are still many of these around. This was was perched high overlooking the river :

Clay-colored Sparrow - yet another one of these abundant birds. I liked the background on this one though , so couldn't resist taking the shot :

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Old Regina highway again...

After a nice afternoon at Blackstrap Lake, my wife and I went home via the old Regina highway.

Here are a few photos...

Pied-billed Grebe - This was one of four juveniles in a slough :

Red-tailed Hawk - These Hawks seldom sit still for a photo. I was happy with this flight shot though :

Western Kingbird - not the best of perches ( sitting on an electric fence ! )but these are a beautiful flycatcher :

Brown-headed Cowbird - yet another youngster. We had one of these in our backyard this morning feeding on the ground with the House Sparrows :

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boundary Trail

Last Friday, a friend and I drove out to an area south of the city known as Boundary Trail.
It consists of a narrow stretch of land surrounded by Willows and Aspen with two sloughs on either side of the 'road' which then leads to a bigger marshy area.
I was hoping we'd find a Black-crowned Night Heron or maybe a Kingfisher, but that wasn't to be the case, although we did find a few nice things...

Highlights were 3 Northern Harriers , 2 very vocal Alder Flycatchers ,a few young Common Yellowthroats, a Pied-billed Grebe , a lone female American Redstart and a very handsome Prairie Falcon.

Here are 3 photos :

Northern Harrier - This juvenile was performing some impressive aerobatics :

Common Yellowthroat - one of a few Juveniles in the area :

Great Spangled Fritillary - It was nice to see one of these beautiful butterflies :

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gabriel Dumont Park - Part 2

Here are a few more images from my recent trip to the park ...

House Wren - One of many fledglings still around :

American Robin - yet another youngster :

Comma - The park is a good spot to find Butterflies this time of year :

Cabbage White - possibly the most abundant butterfly at the park - they don't often sit still though :

Eastern Kingbird - These will be leaving soon, and are already starting to flock :

American Goldfinch - This one had just had a bath and was drying off :

White-tailed deer - This was a surprise. I turned a corner and there she was :

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gabriel Dumont Park

Last week I spent a few hours hiking around Gabriel Dumont Park.
This park is absolutely gorgeous right now and many flowers are in bloom.
Every other shrub or tree has fruit on it, while on the ground, Alfalfa and other native plants have been left to grow, attracting Butterflies and insects.
Most of the birds in the park have had their babies, and there are several different species to be found, although the mainstays are the Catbirds and both Clay-colored and Song Sparrows.
A few things of note were 4 Spotted Sandpipers , a Greater Yellowlegs that appeared to have only one leg (so I guess he will now be called Greater Yellowleg), a young Pied-billed Grebe, a female Common Merganser, a few juvenile Franklin's Gulls and a lone 1st year Herring Gull.
Other birds seen included American Goldfinch , Least Flycatcher ,Brown Thrasher ,Swainson's Hawk , Red-eyed Vireo and Cedar Waxwing.

I took many photos , so there will be a follow up to this post...

As usual all photos are clickable to see them full size .

Least Flycatcher :

Red-eyed Vireo :

Wood Nymph :

Yellow Warbler :

Spotted Sandpiper :

Clay-colored Sparrow - complete with mouthfull of Green Aphids to feed its young :

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Along the old Regina highway

On Friday, some friends and I went out for a drive along part of the highway that used to be the main way to Regina from Saskatoon. This road is quite popular among birders as it can be one of the few places where one can stop without too much traffic racing by. There are a several sloughs dotted along either side that often provides a stop-over for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl.
Lately, some new building developments have begun which I hope will not negatively affect the wildlife there.
In the few sloughs that we checked were the usual groups of waterfowl , a few Avocets, Willets , a Spotted Sandpiper and many Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.
Other species seen included : Brown Thrasher ,Baltimore Oriole , Solitary Sandpiper , Le Conte's Sparrow , Northern Harrier , Swainson's and Red-tailed Hawk( including a nice Krider's race individual.)
A kind owner of a nearby acerage let us look around his property which boasted a couple of dug-outs and many trees, so I was able to get a few photos :

Solitary Sandpiper - There were probably 5 or 6 of these in the area. This is the best look I've had at one all year :

Baltimore Oriole - This worn Male was looking for food by the roadside :

Cedar Waxwing - There were a few of these youngsters around the property :

Downy Woodpecker - I saw this little Male before we left for home :