Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Home on the Range

Over the next few weeks we’ll have three trips away from home, but while we are in Alberta there’ll be plenty of birds and mammals we need to go after. On Monday, taking advantage of fine weather, Brian and Phil went to the Brooks area, two hours east of Calgary.  We were joined by well-known American birder Paul Lehman, who’s visiting Alberta at present. His talents were a real asset! We had two particular bird species in mind, and we got both of them: Red Knot and Whimbrel. Both these species breed in the High Arctic and this was our best opportunity to see them. 
In the Rolling Hills area south-east of Brooks we came across a field with hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers, many of them quite close to the road. Among the plovers were at least twelve Red Knots. As we searched through the flock to see what else might be among them, two Whimbrels flew over. Although we had expected to see many more in the area, none were in evidence.
Red Knot on the Prairie

Two of Many Black-bellied Plovers

An earlier stop at the Tillybrook campground found Western Kingbird and Orange-crowned Warbler, and later in the day we came across several Stilt Sandpipers among some Long-billed Dowitchers, near Weed Lake east of Calgary. So on the day we had five new bird species to add to our list.
Western Kingbird

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