Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tunkwa Lake PP – July 3rd

In real time it is the 27th of October and it is an absolutely beautiful day.  I’ve walked and walked because it just seems too nice to be inside….but I guess I’m pretty much ‘walked out’ so will finish up our Canada Day long weekend to Tunkwa Lake.

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I feel that I have to reiterate – this was a long weekend!  Yet look at how quiet the campground is!  Not that I’m complaining – that is just the way we like it!!  What had surprised us was how many people left on the Saturday of the long weekend…instead of getting busier like one would expect, it actually got quieter.

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This would be our last full day here as well…not by choice…but ‘work’ beckoned…  This last day was spent just wandering around and getting bird shots….so if birds aren’t your thing, you probably won’t be too interested in the rest of this posting.

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Here is one of the families of Barrow’s Goldeneye

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an American Coot…

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a Marsh Wren, heading home with a mouthful of dinner for some hungry fledglings…

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fluffed up Killdeer….probably had just finished a dust bath..

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a female Yellow Headed Blackbird…

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another busy parent….this one a Savannah Sparrow

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More Goldeneye ducklings….can’t help it, I love those little guys!

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Can’t forget the Yellow bellied Marmots!

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 we’ll throw in a bit of scenery….this being the small bay at the north end of the lake…

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and the spillway that leads from it down to Leighton Lake.

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back in the campground a hungry fledgling Brewer’s Blackbird being fed by mom…

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back to that spillway where it falls into Leighton Lake, this male Barrow’s Goldeneye was lingering…he is just starting to molt out of his breeding plumage…

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Golden eye's are diving ducks….first you see him….then you don’t!

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and speaking of seeing….notice the Osprey perched up in the dead pine tree over the spillway…

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Here is a better look…

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and another.

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let us not forget the Mallard ducklings…not quite the same level of ‘cute’ ~ but close.

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So let’s take a final look at ‘green’ Tunkwa…..

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and then late evening …..we will be back here a couple more times before the year is over.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tunkwa Lake PP. – July 2nd, 2010

In real time it is the 25th day of October and it is POURING with rain….best to go back …can it be almost 4 months already?! to July 2nd at Tunkwa…..

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Morning that day dawned bright and sunny so we decided to do the walk over to Leighton Lake then up to June lake, circling back past the aspen groves…  Here is an over view of Leighton….

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once more the over whelming theme is how ‘green’ everything is.  Water levels are pretty high too.

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wildflowers abound in those green grasslands….here a close up of a Gaillardia

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and here, in a dryer area, Trailing Daisy.

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we’ve veered away from the lake now, this is a view looking back…Tunkwa is on the far side of that bluff.

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more flowers in the grasslands…

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These Cut-leaf Anemone being predominant…

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Mustn’t forget the birds….here one very scruffy looking Mountain Chickadee…showing the effects of having raised a family!

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June Lake is never the most picturesque place….but this time the wildflowers made it so.

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These yellow daisies are Meadow Arnica

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Here is a close up

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Stonecrop was in flower in the dryer, barren areas closer to the lake itself.

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after skirting the lake, where there were a few Killdeer but nothing else in the way of birds visible, we took a look back at June Lake and then headed through the forested area….

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The route was uneventful…that is we didn’t find any wild horses like we had at Easter, but mosquitoes were thick….finally reached the aspen grove but didn’t linger….by now those bugs were getting to me!  I’d forgotten about them so no insect repellent with us.

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back to the open country about as fast as we could walk….

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and as we skirted the lake on our way back to the campsite, you could see a definite change in the weather, although as so often happens at Tunkwa, nothing major came of it as systems just seem to pass over or skirt around…

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The rest of the day was just spent hanging around in the campground area….this is one of the many fledgling Savannah Sparrows that were in the bushy area to the back and side of our campsite.

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Even the campground itself was a sea of flowers.   Not so long ago (8 or 10 years at most) this whole area was pine forest….then the pine beetle arrived, the trees all had the life sucked out of them and the parks department cleared all the dead trees out of the campground…it looked pretty rough for a couple of years….but has resulted in views like this.

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more of that Meadow Arnica as well as other wildflowers, up along the very back of the campground area.

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Look carefully at the base of this pit toilet and you’ll see two young Yellow Bellied Marmot….these marmots find pit toilets a wonderful home base!

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Here is a pair of them in a more suitable and picturesque setting!

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and for a final picture for the day I’ll throw in this one of a male Lesser Scaup, going out of his breeding plumage.  There is a female Barrow’s Goldeneye to the right….these guys were on a rock at the foot of the bluff the marmots were lounging on.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tunkwa Lake PP July 1, 2010

The July 1st, or Canada Day long weekend we headed to our favorite ‘home away from home’ – Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park.

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as you can see, even though it was a long weekend it wasn’t terribly busy and we actually managed to grab the same campsite we’d had back at Easter…

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Looking the other direction from our campsite and it was even quieter!  The only long weekend we won’t consider going to Tunkwa for is the May long weekend….I’m afraid that weekend has turned into a zoo!

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The spot we were in was very ‘birdy’…primarily lots of these Savannah Sparrows…

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Down in the little bay between the bluff and the spit, there were duck families….these ones being Barrow’s Goldeneye…

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and here a Mallard family.

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Wild Roses were just coming into full flower.

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We set out on a walk, headed over to the north end of the lake….there was a Killdeer family in the area, with young ones and boy did the parents set up a ruckus every time anyone walked past!

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a lot of American Coot with young in this area as well…

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Pairs of Lesser Scaup…the males already loosing their brilliant breeding plumage, even though they haven’t yet had their families.  These ducks are late nesters… you’ll see when we are back here in a month or so.

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Wildflowers were everywhere!  Here, these Alumroot growing on the cliff above Leighton Lake.

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Looking towards Leighton, the blue are Small flowered Penstemon..

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Here is a close up of that particular wildflower.

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Goats beard, Alum Root and Grasses….

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Everything was very green! 

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As we walked along the trail on the north side of the lake we spotted this Common Loon with a youngster…always a good sign!

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Another shot that shows just how ‘green’ the whole place was.

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Death Camas were one of he prominent wildflowers in this area.

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and Savannah Sparrows the prominent species of bird.

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As usual, it was a good year for young Canada Geese….

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These youngsters long past the ‘cute’ stage and into the gangly ‘adolescent’ stage…

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As we walked back the sky was full of Common Nighthawks….

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Back at the campsite I managed to get some pictures of the Least Flycatchers that must have been nesting in the bushy area beside us.

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The weather was improving as we went for an evening walk…

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Canada Geese in the evening sunshine…