Friday, June 22
|Checking out the attic in the Hesketh schoolhouse|
The four of us are promptly away from
at 6:30, putting miles on Highway 9. Hesketh, about 20 kilometers west of
Drumheller, is our first stop. Located in a lovely shallow valley, this tiny
community is home to 15 people and a reputed Long-eared Bat population.
Assisted by several friendly local folks we search the attics of the ancient
town hall and nearby abandoned one-room schoolhouse, to no avail. Inglewood
We move on, checking the Drumheller area,
Lake and the Emerson campground along
the Red Deer River. (A Badger would be nice,
we comment 50 times or so.) At Wolf Lake, we find Lark Bunting for our first new team bird.
Near Steveville, we check out a site where Brian and Ray had a Grasshopper Sparrow a few years ago and, much to our surprise, we find one.
A short walk in Dinosaur Provincial Park gives us Rock Wren and a Common Nighthawk peents overhead, but we miss a Yellow-breasted Chat.
|Overlooking Dinosaur Provincial Park|
The only breakfast in Empress is a one-man operation located in the former bank building, and we take our eggs and toast at a table next to the vault door.
|Ready to go after breakfast at "That's Empressive"|
Back on the road we’re pleased to quickly spot a Burrowing Owl, and a Striped Skunk waddles across the road in front of the car. We’re impressed by the abundance of displaying Lark Buntings in this part of the province.
Near Burstall we enter
and drive into the Great Sand Hills. An inquisitive Thirteen-lined Ground
Squirrel shows itself at the parking lot, likely hoping for a handout. (Two new
mammals today!) There were also a couple of Common Nighthawks flying around and giving us much better looks than yesterday. We meet our friend Milt Spitzer, exchange sightings and watch a
Burrowing Owl pair before heading back across the border. Saskatchewan
|Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel|
|Longspur and sparrow habitat near Chappice Lake|
A quick Dairy Queen stop in
Medicine Hat stokes us
up for the drive back to .
It was another enjoyable and successful trip - 5 new team birds and 2 new team mammals. Next stop - Atlantic Canada. Calgary
- Mike -