Sunday, 20 May 2012

Frank Lake

May 18 -- Our trip to BC will start on Saturday, but Brian and Ray have already departed for the coast by car with their better halves, Barb and Agnes. Left to their own devices in Calgary, Mike and Phil spend a morning in the Frank Lake area, about an hour south. Overnight snow had been forecast (it is only mid-May, after all) but didn’t materialize and a cool, cloudy, calm morning is very comfortable for birding.

The population of breeding White-faced Ibises at Frank Lake has been growing rapidly in recent years, and 200 birds were seen earlier in the week. As we drive towards the blind, ibises are flying over the marsh and several fly up from close to the boardwalk to the blind itself; Mike counts a dozen nests close to the blind. A lone Western Grebe is a catch-up bird for both of us, and a flock of five handsome Red-necked Phalaropes is the first team sighting of the year.
We know of several sloughs in the area which can be good for northbound shorebirds. One we didn’t know about and came across by chance, on 568th Avenue and 248th Street, turned up trumps. We have close up looks at around 50 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 15 Pectoral Sandpipers (new bird), two Baird’s Sandpipers, one Least Sandpiper and a White-rumped Sandpiper that we would’ve been overjoyed about except for the fact that we all saw one in Ontario a week ago.

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