Thursday, 2 August 2012

A Day Trip North

Very early this morning, Brian, Mike and I set off for a location north of Beaverhill Lake to chase down a lead we had on a Sedge Wren.  Gerald Romanchuk had provided us with an exact location, even daring to suggest we would hear and even see our bird right from the roadside. Experience has led us to temper our optimism on such occasions but today we had no need to worry! We arrived at the designated location and even as we climbed out of the car we could hear two Sedge Wrens singing energetically nearby. We spotted the closest of the two immediately and were able to get a couple of decent pictures.
Sedge Wren

 We could hardly believe our good luck. These outings don’t always end that successfully! Thank you Gerald!

We started our long journey south right away, making a short cruise along the south side of Beaverhill Lake before carrying on to Rochon Sands Provincial Park on the south shore of Buffalo Lake. One of our field guides suggests this is a good site for Franklin’s Ground Squirrels. This is a bushy-tailed relative of the more common Richardson's Ground Squirrel but it is increasingly rare in Alberta. We spent a pleasant hour having lunch and exploring the park, picking up several bird species but no ground squirrel. We decided to ask about them at the Park Office where a very helpful gentleman assured us they were not only present in the park but also in the village just outside the park. We spent another half hour looking around the park but to no avail. We were ready to call it a day and head for Calgary, but as we left the park and made our way through the adjacent village we suddenly caught sight of one just twenty feet away. It very quickly disappeared into someone’s garden but not before we all had a brief glimpse and even managed a quick picture.

Franklin's Ground Squirrel

Getting both a new bird species and a new mammals species on the same day is going to be a very rare event for us in Alberta from now on. A very productive trip indeed!

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