Monday, May 11, 2009

Tunkwa Lake - May 2009 - Part 2

Saturday, May 9th dawned bright and clear and frosty! The day was so full that I'm having to break it down into a couple of postings.
Sunrise.....no I wasn't up. I opened the camper door, shot the photo and crawled back into my warm bed!
Shantz and Ernie, on the other hand, got up and went for an early walk - it was Ernie who took the above photo.

After their early morning walk, they both came back to bed until we all got up at a more civilized hour. There had been concern about how Shantz would cope with the camper stairs - not a problem! Didn't even hesitate....all the more surprising since we don't actually have any stairs where we live so it isn't like she is used to them.



While I sat outside having my morning coffee, this American Kestral sat in the top of a pine tree (dead of course) just across the road.


We witnessed the above scenario a number of times. Bald Eagle after Osprey....usually the Osprey had a fish. There is a pair of Bald Eagle that have nested at Tunkwa every year, and the pair was back on their territory again although not yet sitting on the nest.




Remember those Sagebrush Buttercups we saw along the Nicola River last month? well they are just now in flower at Tunkwa.



Close up of Tunkwa's Sagebrush Buttercups.....the moisture on them is melting frost.




Yellowbells were also in flower in the same general area. This is where I searched in vain for the Killdeer nest.




Close up of the Yellowbells. There will be a whole succession of native grassland type wildflowers now until late June. Depending on the amount of moisture received and how quickly or slowly the really hot weather arrives, the show can be spectacular.
After a relaxing breakfast, it was time to go for a walk.



This is the 'spit' I mentioned in part 1....Tunkwa is one of the very few places where you can camp right on a lakeshore with your boat pulled up right at your campsite. We have stayed on that spit as early as mid-April when the lake is still frozen and we like it in late June or early July when there are lots of youngsters being fed. Many ducks, grebes and even the loons will come into the little bay in the foreground so you can sit in a lawn chair, camera in hand and enjoy endless entertainment.



For many years now there has been a very light colored Red Neck Grebe seen at Tunkwa. We didn't get there at all last year, and hadn't seen it the year before, but had for a number of years previously. I was thrilled to spot this Grebe there, this year. I'm not sure if it is the same one or not....it seems to me that the back has a bit more pigment, but then the lighting wasn't great. Compare with this.....



The above photo was taken in 2006.



This is the pair seen this year. Always before the 'odd couple' nested in the exact same spot, on the end of the spit, facing the campground. This pair were seen swimming on the other side of the spit, on the main lake side. There was another pair of 'normal' Red Neck Grebe busy nest building in the same area, in fact Tunkwa boasts quite a population of Red Neck Grebe each year.



This female Yellowheaded Blackbird was busy in the same general area.




while this male was on a further shore.....the numbers of Yellowheaded Blackbirds didn't seem to be quite up to normal amounts yet, they were probably still just arriving.


Brewer's Blackbirds were plentiful, flying about in small flocks all along the shoreline.



As you follow the main road in the campsite towards the lake, you come to a sign that invites you to 'take a walk'.....and the choices of where to walk are so many and varied..... this morning we elected to walk over to Leighton Lake.



This Savannah Sparrow was spotted along the shore....the entire area is perfect Savannah Sparrow territory


This is just one small section of the shoreline of Leighton Lake. This lake is at a slightly lower elevation than Tunkwa and although deeper, isn't normally quite as affected by wind.



The only reason I'm posting this picture is because it is rather unusual....there were 12 Eared Grebe, 1 Horned Grebe and 3 Surf Scoters all swimming together out on Leighton. I've seen both types of Grebe there before but have never seen Surf Scoters there. The fact they were all together makes me wonder if they were all migrating northwards together....I have no idea if that is the case or not.




On the way back I stopped at a clump of dead pine trees that were absolutely alive with Yellow Rump Warblers....in fact the entire area was alive with Yellow Rump Warblers....there had to be hundreds, the bird in the above photo is a male.......




and this shot is of a female...........




















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