Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 2012 Trip – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part two

As mentioned in Part one, the over whelming theme of this trip was feeding baby birds…

Savannah Sparrow with a mouthful

Savannah Sparrows everywhere were running around with mouthfuls of food!

Feed me!

most fledgling Savannah’s seemed to still be in hidden nests, but this little guy was advanced enough to have left his carefully concealed nest.

feeding the kids

Dark Eyed Junco were doing feeding duty as well…

Fledgling Cowbird in Ruby-Crowned Kinglet nest

Remember in a past blog, the little Ruby-crowned Kinglet nest and the female Brown Headed Cowbird sneaking into it?  Well guess what!  Here is the Kinglet nest and that is one fat fledgling cowbird hanging out of it!

Ruby Crowned Kinglet showing the 'ruby'

and here is the poor little Ruby-crowned Kinglet that has been run ragged keeping it fed.  The day after I took these pictures, the nest was no more.  It seems the cowbird had reached the stage where it’s size just blew the nest apart – not to worry though (if you worry about cowbirds), the fledgling was perched on a branch….still being fed.

Aspen Grove from a distance

over at the aspen grove…

slightly different

the Tree Swallows were busy feeding young.

Chipping Sparrow with a mouthful

Chipping Sparrows too were running around with mouthfuls of food.

Raven family

out and about, but still being very noisy and demanding was this rather large family of young Common Raven.

Robin with a mouthful

Mustn’t forget the Robins!  They were busy too!

Red-naped Sapsucker

There was a Red-naped Sapsucker nest in the same Aspen tree where the Northern Flicker nest had been – I tried and tried to get a picture of one of the parents going to the nest, but this was the only picture I managed the entire 5 days we were there, of one of the parents.


what wasn’t hard to get pictures of were the Canada Geese goslings!  My goodness!  Remember in my posts of the May trip I’d said how the people running the park had commented on how few Canada Geese there were?  Well no one would say that now.  There were so many goslings, from newly hatched size to some, like in the picture above, that were already molting into adult plumage….and we’ll have more on Canada Geese and others…in part three.

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 2012 Trip – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part one

For the July 1st, Canada Day long weekend, we did as we had done for the May long weekend, taking an extra 5 days off to extend the mini vacation.  This time we started at Tunkwa.

lush, green and windy

The month of June had been as wet and cool here as elsewhere in the province, resulting in a very green, lush landscape with high water levels for the lake.

The first campsite

With our favorite site taken, we settled for this one, the same spot we had stayed in last Thanksgiving…

Husky television

Shantz was very happy to have ‘husky television’ as not only were there various water fowl, but also many…

Marmot in the grass

Yellow-bellied Marmots, running here, there and everywhere!

Pair of Lesser Scaup

I was happy to be able to sit at the water’s edge were there were Lesser Scaup – the males already out of breeding plumage, but still paired up and no ducklings to be seen…

Pair of Red-neck Grebes

was also kind of confused by this pair of Red-necked Grebe that were constantly together, seemed to be loosing their breeding plumage but with no young.

Mallard family

these Mallard ducklings were well on their way to maturity…

Coot with young

and there were lots of young American Coot.  In fact youngsters and very busy parents feeding them, was definitely the theme and we’ll continue on in part two.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spring Trip 2012 – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part 5

OK, I’m going to try to finish up our spring time visit to Tunkwa, today in preparation for heading out there again tomorrow…I’ll probably just show some random pictures in no special order…

White-crowned Sparrow in the grass

to show some more of the species frequenting the habitat beside our campsite – White-crowned Sparrow…

Song Sparrow after a bath

Song Sparrow – this one heading for a bath – there seems to be a small spring in this area – another bird attractant

Orange Crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler….Rufous in the bushes

Rufous Hummingbird – this one a male of course – hiding in the bushes…

Brown-headed Cowbird approaching Kinglet nest

and remember I said I’d have a bit more about Ruby-crowned Kinglets – well that is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet nest on the underside of the branch, and to the left is a female Brown Headed Cowbird sneaking over, and yes, into the little kinglet nest.

Double trouble?

There were also Chipmunks – busy eating the dried up rose hips – left from last fall….

Leighton Lake

on the Saturday (May 26th) we did the 4 km loop walk around Leighton Lake – this is the far end of Leighton where the campgrounds are.

Shantz' brother 'Relic' and 'Pride' at Leighton

Camped at Leighton were some relatives – or at least relatives of Shantz – it is pretty obvious which was is Shantz’ brother (although from a separate litter), his name is ‘Relic’ and the little gray female’s name is Pride and we humans are now all Face book friends….Relic and Pride spend about as much time at Leighton as we do at Tunkwa…

Eagle on tree top

later in the afternoon, back at the campsite, look at the very top of the tallest tree….

Bald Eagle over head

that young Bald Eagle spent quite a while up there….

clear skies and calm water

just an evening shot from the end of Tunkwa Lake..

What's back here?

and an Osprey in the late afternoon sunshine…

Evening sunshine

and one more of the spillway, with the sun now really low in the sky….  the next day, we would have to head for home.

Spring Trip 2012 – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part 4

Now the 25th of May and a Friday, we decided to head out for a morning walk over to the Aspen Grove

The spillway

it was another nice day….fisheries had been in the previous afternoon and removed their nets from the top of the spillway – the ones at the bottom were still in place…

Up from the depths

as soon as the nets had been removed, a pair of Common Loon moved into the area, one wouldn’t venture right into the tight little bay, but the other one had no concerns about doing so, nor was it at all concerned about me sitting only a few feet away…

American Wigeon pair

a pair of American Wigeon were also hanging about that area.

from the far end

heading toward the bluff….spotted…

Male Mountain Bluebird

a Mountain Bluebird on that one lone dead pine tree…

The marsh behind

onto the bluff and looking down into the marsh…could hear Marsh Wren all over the place, as well as Yellow-headed Blackbirds..

Pair of Red-head and a Scaup

Besides the inevitable Scaup, there were several pairs of Red Head Ducks (above), a pair of Canvas Back and some Ruddy Ducks as well as American Coot.  A Sora was spooked as we walked along but missed getting a picture.

The Aspen grove

and finally, into the Aspen Grove, or as I prefer to call it, the ‘bird nursery’…

Early Blue Violets

should show though that what appears to just be dead grass on the way to the grove, is actually a carpet of Early Blue Violets…

Female Tree Swallow

and, as usual, the aspens were alive with nesting Tree Swallows, like the female above,

Starling taking food to nest

European Starlings…

near the nest

Northern Flicker…

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird….and who knows what else….not wanting to alarm the nursery any more than necessary we then headed back to the campground.

In the afternoon I wandered off by myself…

The family in the bay

headed over to Leighton because it doesn’t matter how many times you visit the same area, there is always something different to see – this picture really shows the dead falls….but then I spotted not one but two families of Canada Geese..

Keeping an eye on me

I stood very quietly and this family very cautiously approached…

Canada Goose family

and then, deciding that I wasn’t a threat, came ashore only a few feet in front of me.

Flicker nest site

on the way back from the aspen grove, I had noticed this tree and thought their had to be something nesting in there…

Female Northern Flicker at nest

so, being by myself, I cautiously approached it and sure enough….another Northern Flicker nest….and now I’ll break off with the rest of the days events in Part 5.