Last blog for our SK vacation.

Saturday, June 13th:  Went down to 4C last night – brrrr!  Highs the next few days only in the mid-teens.  So we didn’t do much.  What with muddy roads, we stayed in!  Just about our laziest day ever!  Napped, tidied, cooked, read.

Sunday, June 14th:  Another not very nice day!  High 13C and windy!  More organizing, etc.  I guess we’re sort of winding down with only 6 more days before we go “home”!  Although, as Karen Mickelson says in her memento for us “home is where your cat is”!  HA!  We realize that we live longer in our trailer than our home in Calgary!

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Here are the girls this morning.  First looking out the window together in 1 basket – then sleeping cuddled together.  These baskets are heated and there is one for each.  But sometimes they just like to be together.

Monday, June 15th:  4C this morning but no wind.  Supposed to be partly sunny today, but by 10:30 AM no sun was in sight.  So we went into town to pick up the last of our groceries.   By “into town” I mean, Maple Creek!  Well, we took out time with a couple of detours along the way and found some good birds!  A new one for the list was a N. Goshawk – seen twice, but too fast to shoot.  As a matter of fact, one of the trails in the park is closed due to “an aggressive goshawk”!!

The wildflowers are still blooming, though three-flowered avens are just about finished.  Wilf will mow his front lawn once we’re gone and all those “fluffy seedheads” (like Deen) will be gone.  Luckily there are TONS more around!

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We came across an unusual fruiting species, which I researched.  It is called ground plum – and one can see why!  Next a brown-eyed susan.  I assume the next is some type of vetch, though couldn’t find the exact species, and roses amongst the thorns!

We stopped at a little lake off hwy 21, heading west (just north of the park) and found some interesting stuff!

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There is a Great Blue Heron colony here, which includes Double-crested Cormorants.  Those dead trees are on an island, so looks like a pretty safe place to nest.  A large colony of gulls is nesting behind them.

We shopped in town for a few groceries to tide us over until we get home, and on the way out of town to the hills, a few nice birds posed along the fence next to the hwy.

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Both Eastern Kingbird and Western Kingbirds!

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For Tarie, another Western Meadowlark, still not quite facing us with his brilliant yellow breast.

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So if the meadowlark is for Tarie, who could this be for?  Well, it’s my dear youngest brother, Brian.  His favourite bird in all the world.  First having a snack, then taking off.  Hope you love ’em Bri!

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Also stopped at the group camping place just past the turnoff to Cypress, where we saw the N. Goshawk!  Also Canada Anemone.

Sunday, June 16th:  Nicest day of our stay! High forecast for 19C.  So, it was off to the “far side” (Alberta Cypress Hills).  The gap road between is nice and dry.  We were rewarded out on the prairies with a couple of Grasshopper Sparrows (though we only saw one take flight – no photo).  We have never actually seen one, just heard them.  This brief look was not satisfying – still hoping!

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The prairies are covered in flowers.  Enough rain has fallen at last to bring them forth.  Whenever we stop for birds (or flowers) the scent in the air is beautiful. Here is blue flax, and a wild rose

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The mixed forest hills are beautiful.  Found a little stream running here on the south end of the AB hills.  There were lots of little ponds out on the prairies with various ducks.  So we upped out species count for this portion of the trip substantially.

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At one pond this Willet was complaining!

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Finally got a coupole of pretty nice Mtn. Bluebird photos.  One can’t have enough of these beautiful electric blue birds I say!

On our way back, just as we were headed into Maple Creek (we tood the #1 Hwy this time) a big truck threw up a rock which hit our windshield.  It made a large star, about 1 1/2 “, then started migrating.  By the time we got back it was about 6” across.  Obviously we needed to replace our windshield.

Wednesday, June 17th:  A beautiful morning, but with promise of thunderstorms this aft and rain overnight.  3 deer graced the yard in front of the trailer this morning.

We got out flower watching this morning.

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Here are a few shots.  As best I can research on line:  sunflower, buttercup, and some type of vetch.

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Couldn’t resist this fat Savannah Sparrow with the a mouthful!

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This is the view from the top of the Bluff/Viewpoint road looking out toward Maple Ck. but pretty smoky.  Couldn’t quite see the town from here today.image

Forgot I had this photo of Wilf in his tractor with the mower attachment.  His toys are big!  You can see the size of the barn which houses this, his ATV (just in front of the barn) plus other stuff!  What a beautiful place this is – no car sounds just birds and wind in the trees.  The odd thunderstorm as well – nature at its finest!

Thursday, June 18th:  Cloudy and windy so we stayed in.  Bill worked.  In the evening, Penny and Wilf dropped in to see us!  It was threatening thunderstorms, but they had no problem.  They are off on Friday to see Uncle Bud in Creston for Father’s Day.

Friday, June 19th:  Heavy thunderstorms overnight.  When Bill tried to get out this morning (just with the truck), the road was too slippery to drag the trailer, so we were stranded.  Waited until after lunch and when he tried again – the roads seemed better. So we madly cleaned up, hooked up and left.  By the time we got onto pavement, the skies opened up.  That means we JUST MADE IT OUT!  Actually, it rained so hard that both the truck and trailer were cleaned off pretty well of the mud thrown up getting out.  A very fortuitous escape!  We were able to set up our trailer in the park in Maple Ck, borrow a vehicle from Wilf’s dealership (he owns Cypress Motors), and drop off the truck at the windshield repair place.  They needed to keep it overnight.

Saturday, June 20th:  We picked up the truck, hooked up the trailer (which BTW was sitting in water in the campground – it rained so much yesterday) and dropped off the loaner truck with key back at Cypress Motors.  We were away before 9 AM!

Out totals for the trip are as fofllows:  Grand Total:  189; Waskesiu:  124; Cypress Hills:  80

List of other animals:  Coyote, White-tailed Deer, Mule Deer, Elk, Antelope, Red Fox, Bison, Groundhog, Richardson’s Ground Squirrel (gopher!), Prairie Dog, Muskrat, Beaver, Black Bear, River Otter, Mink.  Pretty cool to see all these wonderful animals.

It’s been a great vacation with lots of nice wildlife, flowers and birds.  We look forward to more good stuff next year!

See you in the fall when we head for Florida!

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