Thursday, May 7, 2009

Alberta Trip 2008 - Rochon Sands - June 9

There comes a time in every trip when it is time to start heading back home, and this was the day we made that decision. Gooseberry Lake is definitely somewhere we will return to. I'm thinking mid May just after the park opens would be ideal, but it won't be this year. So before we hooked up took one last walk down towards the shoreline to get a few more shots of those Avocet. and just one more......

This Savannah Sparrow was singing it's heart out in the grasses nearby......

and then it was time to hit the road. South on 41 to Consort, and then west on #12. We decided on this route, sort of half way between Edmonton and Calgary and that would bring us out at Rocky Mountain House, a place we had never been before - of course that would be a day or two off. This was a nice drive through nice country.

We spotted this Wilson's Phalarope in a pond beside the road.

and in another marshy area, this Willet. The destination for the night was Rochon Sands Provincial Park and we arrived there mid afternoon to find a lovely campground and park with only a few other campers, although obviously this is a popular park in season.

This is a view from the path that runs between the campground and the lake. Yes, there is a lake out there past all the reeds and yes, it's pretty flat around there!

It was pretty windy that afternoon as you can tell from the waves out on the lake itself. I mainly took the above photo as it gives a good illustration of the differences between two very similar duck species. In the middle, at the bottom of the picture is a male Canvasback Duck and to the right of the picture are two male Redhead ducks...similar colouration, but different shape and size.

This Great Blue Heron was fishing in the reeds. Out here on the west coast we are used to seeing Heron, but they aren't seen as frequently in Alberta.

There were a number of Clay-coloured Sparrow in the riparian habitat that divided the campground from the path along the lake.

This shows the campsite beside us - we were one over - there was a wide lawn area with a washrooms and the path to access the lake area. All very well maintained.

this was the next campsite, after you past the large lawn area. You can see there was a bit of flooding (it was only June 9th), in fact some parts of the path around the lake were under water slightly. There were a pair of Green Wing Teal eyeing the flooded area at this site.

Out on the lake there was another of those rocks, covered with Double Crested Cormorant, Gulls and Pelican.

Yellowheaded Blackbirds were in the reeds - the first we had seen this trip.

and more Pelican. I walked over to a boat launch where there was a bit of a jetty....I walked out on the jetty and these guys were busy fishing in the area beside me. Note the pair of Lesser Scaup ducks....the female is sitting on a nest.

another view of the Scaups and the Pelicans. The wind was really blowing, hence the ruffled feathers!

There was more of that wonderful Silver Berry shrub growing here - the Swallowtail Butterflies were enjoying it as much as I was!

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