Mike and Phil set out early this morning to the rolling pasture land in the area of Nanton, an hour south of Calgary, against the backdrop of the Rockies. It was a beautiful sunny day, with the temperature climbing from minus 13 as we passed through Nanton at 8 AM to plus 12 when we returned to Calgary at 2:30 PM.
Yet again, the spectacular winter day did not translate into a long list of birds and mammals. We had excellent looks at a male Northern Harrier, a Northern Shrike, small flocks of Snow Buntings and American Tree Sparrows and two small herds of Mule Deer as we drove over 300 km during the day. But it was late morning before we finally found a new bird, as two Horned Larks flushed up as we drove on a gravel road NW of Staveley. No luck with Golden Eagle or Sharp-tailed Grouse, which can be encountered on the route we took.