Friday, July 9, 2010

Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park – July 1st to 4th 2010

Wandering Willie – this is for you – before getting on with the spring trip postings….thought I’d post some of the pictures from our long weekend trip to Tunkwa Lake….they won’t be in any particular order….but I will put all the bird ones at the end so anyone who really couldn’t care less about the birds won’t have to suffer through them….

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The best way to describe Tunkwa that weekend was ‘green’ – I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Tunkwa so ‘green’  especially by July!

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The level of the water in the lake was also the highest I’ve seen it for a long time….in fact all of the lakes along the route (up Mamet Lake Road) were full to the brim and even over flowing….which is a very good thing because for too many years they have been getting dryer and dryer….

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The pond at the top of the spillway down into Leighton….

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Canada Geese in the spillway pond….

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Green over at Leighton too….when I get to the pictures from my other camera there will be some more of the area behind Leighton.

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The cool wet weather that led to all the ‘green’ has also produced an incredible array of wildflowers….some of which I don’t ever recall seeing here before….of course the landscape here is changing constantly as it reverts back to grasslands from forest….courtesy of the pine beetle… the above picture was taken from the top row of the campground…

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Got down to ground level to get these pictures….I think these yellow daisies must be ‘Meadow Arnica’ and I really don’t recall seeing them here before….maybe I’ve just never been at the right time for them to be in flower, because there are sure lots of them now!.

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The area up along the back fence was all wildflowers as well….more of the Arnica, the cream colored ‘Death Camas’, Goats beard, Field Chickweed, and Larkspur to name just a few…

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Wild Roses are really liking this more ‘open’ Tunkwa and were just coming into full flower….of course their perfume is heavenly!

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Here is a wild rose close up….

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Here is a view of the campground over at Leighton, through wildflowers that I don’t know the name of and have yet to look up…   Leighton was very busy over that weekend, while Tunkwa was just pleasantly occupied but not over run…

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String of Canada Geese on the lake….most of them ‘teenagers’ and all the geese seemed to be in their flightless molt stage so being quiet and staying out of trouble until they can fly again….

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Here is just some more ‘green’ – very, very, ‘green’ – that is now probably changing, we were there from the 1st to the 4th and it was pretty much sweatshirts and fleece weather, but by the 6th summer decided to arrive in British Columbia with a vengeance, so now, with temperatures no doubt in the mid to high 30’s the area will be drying out and turning it’s usual golden colour pretty quickly!

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Looking at the bluff and the spit – the spit appears deserted but it wasn’t…by evening of the 1st it was pretty well occupied ~ but the surprising thing was that several of them left again on the 3rd which was a Saturday…

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I’m told the Marmot population increased dramatically with this years crop of youngsters…if you look at the base of this pit toilet there are 2 youngsters, a 3rd had dived underneath…

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This pair were taking it easy down on the bluff….

Now we’ll get into bird pictures…

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Savannah Sparrows were everywhere, lot’s of youngsters as well.  We happened to be camped by one of the few groves of green trees left and there was constant bird activity in there….my favorite site was occupied and they stayed the whole weekend, in fact appeared to be there for even longer….so we settled for the same site we had stayed at, at Easter….

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Lot’s of Killdeer constantly carrying on trying to lead everyone away from either nests or youngsters – this pair were set up down at the turn around by the spill way.  I caught sight of fledglings a number of times but they always ‘obeyed’ mom and hid in the reeds…

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From the racket coming from the reeds there were obviously lots of nests with young Yellow headed Blackbirds in them….saw quite a few females, like this one, busy packing food….

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Speaking of packing food to kids….this Savannah Sparrow has a mouthful…

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There were a number of families of Barrow’s Goldeneye’s on both Tunkwa and Leighton…these little guys were in the inlet between the bluff and the spit….

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This male Barrow’s Goldeneye was on Leighton….he still retains some of his breeding colour but it was going fast….

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While I was taking pictures of the Goldeneye…an Osprey landed in this dead pine over the spillway from Tunkwa to Leighton….there was lots of water coming down and fish were obviously attracted to the area because this Osprey perched here quite often….unfortunately this picture really emphasis’s the difference between the vibrant ‘green’ and the poor dead pines….those of us who love the place have learned to look past the ‘dead’…

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There is a close up of that Osprey on his perch…

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had to throw in a picture of a couple of the Canada Geese, they are just so photogenic…

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There were a number of Mallard families too, these ones are pretty young and were down by the boat launch…

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this female was in the same spot….obviously hoping for a handout…

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I was standing on the bluff looking down when I took this picture….there is a female Barrow’s Goldeneye on the right (in fact I think the ‘mom’ of those babies) and the guy standing is a male Lesser Scaup.  Scaup were the most numerous species of duck we saw.  These guys totally confuse me.  This male is no longer in breeding colour…..yet they were still all ‘paired up’ and I’ve never seen Scaup ducklings here until late July or early August…

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Not a bird….but the end of this entry….we never really got a sunset that trip….this was the best that happened and it was on the Saturday night….Sunday morning we woke up to rain and that was what it was doing when we left.

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