Day 2 - Rain, rain go away

Birding reports from our roving reporter, Lesser Spot Finder, in Alberta, Canada.
Lesser Spot Finder
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Farnborough and anywhere between there and Norfolk

Day 2 - Rain, rain go away

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:03 pm

The first full day at CFB Suffield started well with me waking up at 4.30am and, as I was unable to sleep, I walked down to Ralston at first light. This proved a great idea with 3 lifers found, Willet, Tree Swallow and Western Kingbird, all before reveille.

Wildfowl numbers were up and two additional species for Suffield, Green-winged Teal and Lesser Scaup were amongst the now usual suspects. Two doves were found with Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared Dove in Ralston and I also picked up my first Brown Thrasher of the trip. I heard at least three Coyotes howling on the Prairie and found a couple of Mule Deer.

On my return to camp I picked up Yellow Warbler in the trees at the entrance, my first Barn Swallow and a very obliging flock of 30+ Cedar Waxwings at the front of BATUS HQ. The Kingbird was found on telegraph wires and I quickly found another 3 individuals. All in all a cracking morning with 36 species before breakfast. Finally I saw my first ever wild and migrating Canada Geese with 50+ flying west over camp.

Work got in the way in the afternoon although I did manage to bag a Veery (lifer) outside the Officers’ Mess whilst attempting to look for the Great Horned Owl pair which frequents the tree outside. Needless to say I did not find either of the owls but am told that they generally show well throughout the day. It’s amazing how a bird so large can disappear into the foliage. The walk to the aptly named ‘Gag and Puke’ café on the Crowfoot side of camp proved to be interesting with many flooded areas which will be worth another visit in the next few days. There appeared to be a couple of flocks of Cedar Waxwings by lunchtime with birds falling out of the sky into suitable trees.

Having decided that work was getting in the way of a good birding session I packed up, locked the safe and headed out to Ralston in the rain. The weather had worsened over the proceeding hours but fortunately this had dampened the spirit of the mosquitoes. It poured with rain as I walked to Ralston and the Water Treatment Plant beyond. Ruddy Duck was the only addition at the latter and on the way back the rain had pushed several Least Flycatchers (lifer) into the hedgerow that separates Ralston from the highway. I had hoped for more species here. Amongst these Flycatchers I found a stunning male Baltimore Oriole (lifer) which showed well. Two additional Sparrows turned up on the walk back; Vesper Sparrow (lifer) along the track and Savannah Sparrow (lifer) beside it. As I neared camp I flushed a male Horned (Shore) Lark which was bedraggled in the rain. There was another Wilson’s Phalarope during the walk back. I am now getting blasé about this species! Shame on me.

Finally, as I sat watching the news a flock of 50+ Pine Siskin and 20+ American Goldfinch landed outside the window – the day ended on a high.
Another cracking day – 44 species today with 8 lifers.

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