On Wednesday, Ray and I visited Beaverhill Lake and Elk Island National Park in central Alberta (east of Edmonton). Our primary objective was to see some mammals, namely American Bison and Franklin’s Ground Squirrel as well as some common ones not yet on the list.Because of the distance involved (and our need for a reasonable amount of sleep), we didn’t start birding in the Beaverhill area until 7:30 am. To see most birds, this wouldn’t be a problem but it could be for our target Short-eared Owl. We went for a long walk through the grassy, dried up lake bed at Mundare Beach where a large number of the owls had spent the winter. There were quite a few Northern Harriers flying over the fields and even some Snowy Owls but not a single Short-eared.
|Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese|
|Greater White-fronted Goose|
|Snow Geese ("Blue Goose on left)|
Where there are large numbers of Snow Geese, there are usually a few Ross’s Geese and this flock was no exception. Using scopes, we eventually picked out a few of them for another new team bird.
|Ross's Geese (behind GWF Geese on left)|
|American (Plains) Bison|
Many species are returning so our totals should take a jump once we can get a team together. We know May and June will be very busy so each of us is busy with other activities, making it difficult to arrange team outings!