Monday, May 17th was going to be another warm day…we were up and ready to go by 8 am.
Shantz is in her crate in the backseat and April in her bed in the front…. while Ernie made use of the sani dump and water supply…
I took a few more shots of these Thirteen Line Ground Squirrels….
This shot actually shows their tail… The plan now was to backtrack along #44 to Macrorie and then follow #44 westward to highway #4….the map showed nice paved secondary highway….
We took the turn and started along the ‘highway’ but then thought….”this is a ‘highway’!?” so we actually turned around and went back and double checked…and yup….this is ‘highway’ #44 – OK if you say so!
we were soon on miles and miles of this….that ‘stubble’, in fact the road itself, was alive with birds though…they flew in all directions as we passed….with not even a fence post for them to land on it was very difficult to see what they were or to take pictures…
This, I think, was a female Lapland Longspur….one of the species you would expect in this habitat
there are a couple of Horned Lark in this picture….as hard to see here as they were in person…. Savannah Sparrows and Starlings were the two other species we were able to identify.
Also came across this group of Antelope…
a better shot of them…
When we had done about half of the 50 or 60 km on this ‘highway’ we came across pavement…and then wished it was still gravel because the gravel had been in much better condition than the pavement was!
need I say anything?
Finally the intersection was met and we turned south towards Swift Current. #4 would take us straight to Grasslands National Park, should be choose to go there. Stopped at the little town of Elrose to fill up the fuel tank and continued heading south….
Where we found – Surprise! – a rest area! The first one we’d seen since arriving in this province.
It was in about the same condition as the roads….there were washrooms but I didn’t have the nerve to actually check them out….the over flowing garbage in containers adjacent to them was enough to turn me off – thank goodness for our own facilities!
I think we were looking back northwards in this shot….we stayed long enough to make some lunch and give the dogs a bit of a walk…
I took this to show that Prairie Crocus here were long since finished….at least in the flowering department – it must have been pretty though when they were all out.
This highway brought us to Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park….another huge Saskatchewan Park.
This park is also situated on Lake Diefenbaker…..as I mentioned before, Lake Diefenbaker is a huge lake and is sort of in a long backward ‘c’ shape….this is the extreme western end of it. A bridge crossed the lake and brought us to this visitor centre which was actually open….however there was no one in sight, but there was enough information to let us know where the campgrounds were (back across the bridge)…
This appeared to be a wet land area adjacent to where the visitor centre was…..it looked like you could drive down there too, but we didn’t investigate, by this time it was getting pretty ‘toasty’ out there!
So back across the bridge, turn right, and we’re in the middle of a golf course. Stop at the entry booth – which was open, but again, no one around….so we continued on down the main ‘park’ road, past several sections of campground, with quite a few RV’s in them but no people….finally found a central area with a ‘store’ (not open until the May long weekend) and lo and behold a self registration station…. We then noticed a couple of ladies sitting out behind the store having a cup of coffee so talked to them. Said we found their system very confusing….to which they said ‘Don’t worry about it, so do we’…..anyway they clarified that we could pick any spot we wanted, pay the off season rate and ignore everything else because the world didn’t really begin until Friday and the May long weekend….
So we drove to the further campground (actually I think there were more but they were paving the road so didn’t attempt driving further)…..this was called ‘Sagebrush’ campsite I think….anyway that is what it looked like at the back of our spot….
and that is a general view of the campground itself….
shows the good size campsites….
We had been seeing these flowering shrubs in a number of places, in fact there had been some, not as advanced, back at Dinosaur Provincial Park and Chin Lake in Alberta….I think they might be a Flowering Almond but am not positive. I don’t know if they are native or just something parks departments plant in their parks in this particular climate….
The lake was down there, at the end of the campground, through all that tall grass….to the beach….also in that tall grass were….
ticks….in fact there were ticks everywhere….this one is courtesy of Shantz as you can probably tell from the fur that came out with it….
Despite the ticks I did venture out for a walk when it finally cooled a few degrees – it had reached 30 that day and I can only imagine what it is like here in the summer! At least there were lots of trees for shade…
There were a lot of Crows here….many of them busy constructing nests in all of those shade trees in the campground – I guess when you think about it, they were the ONLY trees around for miles and miles….
Besides the usual Yellow Rump Warblers, I found a few of these Common Yellowthroat…..
That is just an evening view towards the lake….you can tell from the long shadows…and I didn’t notice it at the time but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was another tick up in the top left hand corner……
brushing ticks off as I went I made it down to the shoreline….see what I mean about ‘long shadows?’
there were actually quite a few birds down here….these Least Sandpipers…
here a Killdeer with some more of the Least….
Some Ring bill Gull and a Mallard out there on the lake….
Canada Geese complete with goslings….there were also, I think, Western Grebe out on the lake in this area….at least I think they were Western, although I guess they could possibly have been Clark’s, I wasn’t able to get a good enough look to ID for sure.
On the way back I spotted this Marbled Godwit…
and then this Willet….
a closer look, there were actually several of them….
The sun is really low now, this would be looking sort of south westward…
and one final bird after negotiating the tick filled grass and getting back into the campground – this, one of a pair of Brown Thrashers.
Tomorrow we make the decision….Grasslands or Cypress Hills….