Friends have left, but birds still arriving!

Saturday, May 29th:  After our successful trip to PA yesterday afternoon and Bill’s fixed, good-workin’ hearing aids, we got out in the morning across the road to Red Deer trail.  It was a pretty cool morning (heavy coats and gloves), but a few birds were singing.  We chased an Ovenbird relentlessly, but to no avail.  They sing low in the forest and are very hard to spot.  It is called an Ovenbird because it builds a nest like an oven with an opening in the side.

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We did however, manage to find a Robin!  Oh well, they are pretty nice birds and have a lovely song.  It is the first song I leaned when I returned from Australia and realized I didn’t know anything about birds here at home.  I went over to Edworthy Park (we used to call it “the woods” because Mr. Edworthy hadn’t donated it to the city yet) and I walked until I found the bird singing.  Imagine my surprise that it was a Robin!  That’s 40 years ago this Month!  Just before I met Bill on June 15, 1975, teaching the birding class as Inglewood Bird Sanctuary!

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Anyway, back to our walk.  We’ve seen a Brown Creeper before, but no photo was available.  This isn’t much better, but there is one anyway, making its way up a tree trunk.  We looked closely, but couldn’t decide if it had a grub in its mouth, or was removing a fecal pack from the nest.  We’ll never know!

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This little Chipping Sparrow was so cooperative and sat up so nicely, we took his picture.  We had lunch and a nap (well, Bill did) then we did the Waskesiu Drive walk.  There wasn’t much around at first, but we ended with a bang!

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Here are a coupld of shots of a Magnolia Warbler – such a little nbeauty!

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This Blackburnian Warbler usually sings from a tall fir, so high up it’s hard to ever get a shot, so I was thrilled to get one so low down!  That orange throat – wooh!

Monday, June 1st:  Yesterday was a laundry/cleaning day, so we didn’t go out.  It was also very windy, which never helps when birding!  So today we visited Boundary Bog at the east entrance.  Two birds with one stone – needed to renew our park pass which expired end of May.  It was a mostly sunny morning and the wind picked up as the morning progressed.  We followed the song of a Connecticut Warbler back and forth through the trees, but never did get a siview of it.

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Our luck was better at the boardwalk where we finally got us a Palm Warlbler!  We could see his little rust cap and yellow throat.

A Philadelphia Vireo sang in the tree-tops, but didn’t stay still long enough for a shot.  But luckily the flora was cooperative.

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Pretty bracket fungus – and a flower I don’t know.

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Also these pretty ones:  Bluebells and another I don’t know.  Though I did look quite awhile for both of the above.

We got our new park passes (both senior now) and headed back.  Bill spotted a fox and at first it ran away.  He stopped the truck to take shots out the window, but then it started coming toward us – just like last year!

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He came right up to the window, too close for the camera and Bill said to the little beggar:  “No!”

Tues. June 2nd:  Today is our 37th wedding anniversary.  For your amusement, here is a shot from that day in 1978:

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I always think about how lucky we are to love the same pastime – birding!  There are so many couples who RV but one golfs and the other one shops (or some other type of thing).  Sure makes our time fun!

We visited the West Side this morning and had a wonderful day.  Walked for about 4 hours today!  It was sunny but cool (6C in the morning, rising to only about 13 by noon).

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Our first bird was this male American Redstart.  His little orange patches glow in the sun.

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One of our first sightings was this Western Tanager.  What a handsome bird.

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In contrast, this Least Flycatcher isn’t much to look at, nor is his song very notable:  Che-beck!

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Further along the path we came upon this Rose-breasted Grosbeak, gleaning some type of food from this fir tree.  I mean, he was really workin’ it!

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This female Yellow Warbler isn’t quite as pretty as her partner.

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Bill took a much better photo of bluebells than I did with my iPhone.  The next shot is especially for Moe:  dandilions – he loves ’em!

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These beautiful copper leaves are part of the 3-lobed sasparilla flower.  You can see the unopened flowers on the bottom, left side of the right photo, low down with unopened copper leaves like folded prayer hands.

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I spotted this nest about 25-30 feet high, as a bird flew away from it.  The flash of bird I saw looked brown – but it never returned.  Any ideas what it could be – anyone?

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Our last photo is our regular visitor to Elk trail – Bluejay!  If you zoom in on his back and tail, it looks like perfect turquoise rectangles have been placed there.

Dinner at the Hawood Inn in honour of our special day!  We will also toast our friend Geri, whose birthday it is today!

Wed. June 3:  A year ago today we lost our sweet Sasha.  He is on my mind today.

With only a few days left before we leave this wonderful place, we decided to go to Mud Ck. this morning.  It was calm and cool, with a promise of a high of 19C.

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The lake was a mirror as this pair of American White Pelicans took off.

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This sign is posted permanently (I think) – for every time we’ve come here, it’s up.  We have never seen bears on the path.  But we certainly do see lots of bears in the park.

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The marsh marigolds are profuse and in their prime.

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There are many hatching caterpillars making great bird food.  I found a Western Canadian violet also – they’re white, compared with early blue violets.

Not many birds were singing – very unusual for this time of day and year.  However, I guess it was going to be a day for cavorting with river otters.

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This was a family of 2 adults and 3 kits – probably a year old.  They were feeding on a large fish, preening and doing what otters do.  They are big for otters – males nearly 4 feet long, females a little over 3 feet.  But boy are they cute.  We came on them from a small cliff, so they didn’t see us – nor pay attention to Bill’s camera clicking.  What fun!

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Our only bird photo was this Black-and-white Warbler.

This seems long enough to post now.  Maybe only 1 more posting from Waskesiu, then on to Maple Creek and Cypress Hills.

PS: Interestingly, I just checked the sunrise and sunset times in PANP and Calgary.   For us, it’s 4:39 and 9:24- for Calgary, 5:26 and 9:41.  We have over an hour extra sunshine up here!  How wonderful to have the long days!

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