Saturday, September 5, 2009

Birding Cypress Hills Part One

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, is somewhere I've always wanted to visit, and at the end of last month, my wife and I spent an enjoyable 4 nights there.
The park sits on a rise about 600 meters above the vast Great Plains between Saskatchewan and Alberta and is the only place in Saskatchewan where you can see Lodge pole Pines growing.
The scenery really is something to behold, and even if you aren't a nature lover, you'd be in awe.
I, of course, had some birds to find, seeing as this area ( the south west ) has a few species that only occur down there,and nowhere else in the Province.
One bird I needed for my life-list, but missed, was Dusky Flycatcher.
That will now have to come next year when we get there a little earlier in the season.

I did still get three lifers on the trip, which more than made up for any misses:

Red-naped Sapsucker ( No decent photo-op unfortunately )
Wild Turkey
MacGillivray's Warbler

One of these days, I'll get around to buying a nice landscape lens, so I could have taken some half-decent scenic photos, but for now I will have to share the many feathered friends I found on my hikes...

Click for bigger versions :

Northern Goshawk - This handsome Accipiter has long eluded my lens, and 'mocked' me from afar, as they are usually seen in the blink of an eye as they streak across the road ( often in the winter time )
I spotted this adult bird sunning itself early one morning from a good distance away, its silvery feathers glowing in the morning light. After what felt like an age, I eventually got as close enough, creeping up slowly like a hunter, finally getting my prize :

Pink-sided Junco - Here is an example of a bird you can only find at the Cypress Hills, unless you want to travel down to the US.
This sub-species of Junco were quite numerous around the park :

MacGillivray's Warbler - Another species high on my want list. I found this male on our last day, literally an hour before we were due to leave :

Veery - These can be found fairly locally, but this one flew down to a nearby perch after I imitated its " veer" call :

Wild Turkey - I didn't think I'd get to see these, but again, luck was on our side and I photographed these two along a roadside about 8pm :


holdingmoments said...

Excellent set Nick.
Well done on the Northern Goshawk, he's a beauty. A good bit of stalking :)
Amazing detail in the Pink-sided Junco close up.
Some beautiful birds you have over there.

Mike said...

Nice collection Nick, well worth the trip, look forward to round 2.

Dan Huber said...

Great photos Nick


Susan Ellis said...

Cypress Hills is a beautiful part of the world -we camped there few year ago. Love the shot of the turkeys!

JPT said...

They are all great shots.

Chris said...

Hi Nick,
Magnificent set of pictures as usually I want to say! Well done for the three species on your life-list, and on this nice pictures. I love the raptor one! It looks so majestic!

Tina said...

Very nice series of wonderful catches!! That Goshawk is quite nice..and those two turkeys are too funny the way you caught them neck in neck..glad you were able to capture all that you set out to see! How nice is that...sure makes for a great trip!!

Unknown said...

Cool series of images. While I like all of them the images of the Northern Goshawk are my favorite in this set.

The details are sharp and the bokeh can't be more perfect Nick.