Fun with friends…

Thursday, May 21:  It was a foggy morning with promises of temps in the mid-20’s!  On our way to Mud Creek we, as usual, found some wildlife along the road:  a Ruffed Grouse cooperated nicely for his photo but he probably thinks he is camouflaged against the road!

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A single Bluejay appeared amidst 3 Gray Jays.  Jays are my target bird to see all species in NA.  Missing Florida Scrub Jay (maybe next winter) and Island Scrub Jay (when we get to CA).  The rest I’ve seen!  They are a big, bold species!

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There was lots more open water today, thanks to some warm weather yesterday.  The fog created a haunting photo of the loons.

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Spring/love is definitely in the air with pairs of birds everywhere.  Here is a beautiful pair of Common Mergansers (male is the whiter).

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This pair of Canada Geese was protesting the arrival of another pair.

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We were able to get to the path, though had to go in the back way and return the same due to snow.  Lots of trees had fallen across the path, so it was “duck, leap and sweep” – and when we finally got to the creek it was pretty quiet.  No catkins, which seems to attract the most birds this time of year.  We did hear a Ruffed Grouse drumming and a Winter Wren singing.

Stopped at Waskesiu River to see if there were catkins there, but not many.  Did see a Spotted Sandpiper and watched the Barn Swallows building nests.  Found a pair on a couple of posts (1 out of focus that’s why I didn’t get the pair this time) – this one has a blade of grass in its mouth which looks like a moustache.

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At Spruce River a Wilson’s Snipe was displaying and calling most of the time.  Barn Swallows were busy under the bridge here as well.  Finally found a Wilson’s Warbler who was too far for a photo.

Friday, May 23:  Don, Carman, Moe and Marg arrived today!  We were so excited we were up pretty early to be prepared for them.  Went for a little walk past the kiosk at the edge of our campground, to kill some time and discovered another new warbler:  Canada!  It didn’t stick around for a photo, but a beautiful male American Restart did.

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Back to the trailer to await our friends.  Sure enough we finally got underway after lunch.  Here’s the gang (l-r):  Carman from Prince Albert, Marg and Moe from Birch Hills (and a cabin here at Waskesiu), (me), and Don from Broadview.  We met on a birding trip to Costa Rica and have also been on another trip to Belize.

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At the Waskesiu River bridge we took the boardwalk to seek respite from the heat (yep, she’s a-hot today – 28!).  A pair of beautiful Common Goldeneyes (male whiter) cruised along the river, their golden eyes gleaming.

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We’ve seen Boreal Chickadees a couple of times, but finally got a record shot.

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There is evidence of lots of beaver activity here – though these are fairly old.  Amazing how a tree can still stand a long time after this much destruction.

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We headed south and discovered a Red Fox along the road.  He didn’t leave or run away, so Bill got a shot of him trailing Don’s vehicle, then turned back toward us and as we slowed he got closer and closer until he was looking right up at us in the truck.  We think someone may have been feeding him?

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At Spruce River we observed this beaver munching happily on whatever, and who looks like a giant compared with the little Blue-winged Teal just behind him!

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An American Goldfinch glowed among the bushes..

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On the way back we saw a black bear lope across the road into the bush.  But a few minutes later we came across a mother with 2 yearling cubs and they stayed when we slowed down, to shoot a couple of photos.

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There are few wildflowers blooming, but I found a few early blue violets.  They are very tiny, but these were a little larger than usual (the perfect spot?) but still only about a half an inch blossom.

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We visited and drank wine together later on.  It was so much fun to catch up with everyone.

Saturday, May 24:  On our last walk before Don and Carman left, Bill found another American Restart in action.

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Flycatchers are one of the most difficult species to identify because they all look quite similar.  Their song is the best way to do it, but even without its call we finally added a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher to our list!

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We craned our necks watching this busy Blackburnian Warbler high in the trees – whose throat glows orange like a burning ember.  Then he was on the move.

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Our last “spot” as a group was this group of Amer. White Pelicans flying over in silhouette.  They have just arrived – quite late due to late thaw!

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We said farewell to Don and Carman, who headed home – then had another walk later in the afternoon with Moe and Marg.  Not much at Boundary Bog, but a Gray Jay and an Amer. Kestrel prevented a shutout!

Enjoyed a glass of wine with Moe and Marg, then said farewell to them at suppertime.  They may return next weekend – we hope.

Sunday, May 25:  A fairly quiet walk this morning at one of the Red Deer trails.  This is what many of the forests look like with their beautiful green moss carpet.

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The morning produced a beautiful Magnolia Warbler.  Haven’t been able to get a photo before because they are usually up too high!

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On the way out 2 birds were spotted at about the same time.  Here’s a Brown Creeper.

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We’ve seen lots of workings from an American Three-toed Woodpecker, but never spotted the culprit until today.

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After lunch a short walk at the end of Waskesiu Drive was nearly silent (except for the ubiquitous White-throated Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets).  But at the truck we found another Boreal Chickadee.

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Dinner and early to bed after watching some of the first round of the French Open tennis!

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