Thursday, July 14, 2016

Alberta - Part 1 - The Trip and Elbow Falls

A couple weeks ago, I (William) went to High River Alberta for a friend's graduation. I managed to slip in some birding along the way. Most of these pictures were taken while driving, so excuse the blurriness of some pictures.

I got 6 lifers on the trip, and another 7 when I met up with Ethan (Birdboy). I don't think I got many pictures of the lifers on the drive over, it's hard enough to identify them when your whizzing by at 110 km/h.

Swainson's Hawk
 My friends and I started from our house at 5:30 AM. So I wasn't in any condition for birding that early in the morning. I started getting lifers in Saskatchewan, driving along, I managed a Ferruginous Hawk, Mountain Bluebird and Lark Bunting before Regina.

Entering Regina
 I stopped birding for the most part as we passed through Regina, but started again in earnest once out of the city.
 A pair of Shorebirds on two telephone poles alerted my attention, I managed to snap a picture of them. When I saw the short bill, I got excited, it was an Upland Sandpiper

Upland Sandpiper


 After awhile we passed through what looked like snow, but it we figured it must be salt.

 While driving by a small pond, I managed to get this picture of a Black-necked Stilt, another lifer
Black-necked Stilt


Medicine Hat Tipi

 We arrived in Alberta, with my life count for the trip at 5, I kept checking the fence posts for Owls or Falcons, and my persistence paid off, another lifer, Prairie Falcon.

 We arrived in High River, and spent the next few days keeping ourselves busy with the graduation, Calaway Park. And on Saturday we set out for Canmore, to meet up with Ethan for some birding. We were halfway there, when our car started acting up. It was overheating if we were traveling at anything but highway speed, and the way to Canmore was plagued with construction, which meant we'd have to travel way below highway speed. So we rescheduled with Ethan, to meet Monday instead, and we headed to Elbow Falls AB.

The water at Elbow Falls was crystal clear

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 

Me (Second from the left) and my friends

My friend and his sister

I didn't get anymore lifers at Elbow Falls, but it was an amazing area, full of awesome landscape, and I had a great time.

Sorry for the amount of pictures in this post, but I decided to put the whole trip in two posts, the next part will be about birding with Ethan. Stay tuned for part 2!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Weekly What Bird Wednesday

This weeks bird is in a photo I took a few weeks ago at Oak Hammock Marsh. Can you guess what it is?

Leave your guess in the comments
There were multiple birds on last weeks. Some of the birds were Trumpeter Swan, Red-Winged Blackbird, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Eared Grebe, and possibly a few more. Good job Ethan and Neil who guessed most of them!

Other What Bird Wednesday posts:
Bird Boy's
Cat's and the Birds

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Kenora Camping

Several days ago we went to Kenora for camping and my mom also sold flowers at a market there.
William is currently in Alberta for a friend's graduation so he took our DLSR and I was stuck with our point and shoot. I was actually surprised to find out it can take pretty decent photos.

We borrowed two canoes from friends and strapped them onto our tent trailer and head out. Our plan was to do a bunch of canoeing.
We arrived there late and it was after midnight by the time we set up the trailer.

The next morning near the farmer's market we saw these deer leisurely crossing the road. There was a line up of cars behind them on the bridge but they didn't seem to mind, they walked along in the center of the lake at a slow pace. 

A mother deer and two fawns taking a stroll

The giant white tent-dome is where the farmer's market took place.
View over lake of the woods
 Later that day we went for a pleasant canoe near the campground. We found our way into a peaceful little cove (I named it Stillwater Cove because of the absolutely still water) with some tall cliffs (named them Juniper Cliffs).
Stillwater Cove
 There were several turtles basking on this rock.
Painted Turtles
 We found a Great Blue Heron along the shore among the reeds.
Great Blue Heron 
Great Blue Heron
 The next day we planned to go for a longer canoe. We started at 12 and began canoeing down the Winnipeg River which is right by Lake of the Woods. Along the river we found this nest with some young Bald Eagles!
Bald eagle Nest

We spotted a very cool tunnel through the rock. There is a railway going over it so we figured they made it when the constructed the railway.
We paddled through the tunnel and on the other side it led to Mink Bay, a small bay now only connected to the river by this outlet.
Tunnel to Mink Bay (me in the back of the canoe)
This is what we saw as we emerged from the tunnel: 

More paddling and we stopped for lunch at this lovely little point. It is just a tiny peninsula, surrounded by lake, bushes and cliffs.
One of our beached canoes
 There was some very cool rocks there, such as this one.

We canoed for the rest of the day and in the whole trip we paddled a total of 26 km.
Here's a picture of me and Matthew (my twin brother beneath a cliff. I'm in the back of the canoe.
Matthew (left) and I (right)

 The next morning a Bald Eagle landed in a tree very near to our campsite so I was able to snap some nice shots.
Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle taking off

It was a very fun and pleasant trip and we saw some great wildlife. I am very much looking forward to more canoeing. 

I've made a map so you can get a feeling for where we were canoeing: