Friday, July 15, 2011

July 1st long weekend at Tunkwa

As promised, we returned to Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park for the Canada Day long weekend, as I wanted to see if I could find any baby Great Gray Owls….since I’ve done an extensive report on Tunkwa recently, I’m just going to post random pictures and bits and pieces of information, rather than doing a full, day by day, blow by blow, report….and speaking of ‘blow’ the wind was certainly blowing so there was, once again, no chance of getting the inflatable kayak out onto the water!

Least Sandpiper

This was a real surprise!  I thought I was aiming the camera at a young Killdeer – not a Least Sandpiper.  We are used to seeing all sorts of different shorebirds at Tunkwa in August, when they are migrating through…but this one was seen during breeding season…was it nesting there?  I don’t know.

Male Red Wing Blackbird with a bug

Of the Blackbird species, Red-wings are the least common at Tunkwa….this male obviously had a hungry mouth to feed.

The Aspen Grove

We did pay a visit to the Aspen Grove or ‘bird nursery’ and as usual, it didn’t disappoint…

Mountain Bluebird with bug

this male Mountain Bluebird was doing some breeding chores…

Red Naped Sapsucker with bugs

as was this Red-naped Sapsucker.  Lots of Tree Swallows nesting here and a family of Northern Flickers, fresh from the nest.

Geese on Leighton

of course there were Canada Geese with lots of youngsters…, this batch down on the shores of Leighton Lake by the spillway.

Pair of Scaups on a log

Because it was a long weekend, the campsite was about 85% full, so most of our usual spot selections were occupied…the spot we chose was beside a little pond and it proved to be a good choice – this pair of Lesser Scaups spend a fair bit of time at the pond…

Stone Crop

Wildflowers were out in force…this Stonecrop growing right beside our campsite…

There in the bush

I went searching for the Great Gray owl…and found him…

I see you

this picture was taken about 8 or 8:30 at night….with the campground being busier now, they (there is a breeding pair with 3 young)…have moved further back…

Leighton in the sunshine

This year, a new walking trail has been completed…you have always been able to walk a circle walk, from the campground at Tunkwa lake, down to the one at Leighton, and back to Tunkwa…but it used to involve walking along the road on one side of the lake…now there is a path cut between the road and the private cottages, the entire circle trail has now been marked as well…this is where the path comes out at Leighton Lake…that is my dog, not some exotic animal down there in the corner…

Great Gray Owlet

We’ll skip back to the owls for a moment…this is the best I managed of one of the babies…they area they were in was a steep hillside, thick with brush and fallen trees – and mosquitoes!!!

Interesting trio

There has always been a trio of ‘odd ball’ geese at Tunkwa, although the light coloured one isn’t the one that used to be there…perhaps this is an offspring…this one does have very pale coloration…

July lngwk-Canon 122

Here is the spillway from Tunkwa lake to Leighton….I told you these pictures would jump around…the problem is there are 4 different cameras being downloaded and they are grouped by ‘camera’ not necessarily in the order they were taken…


I had gone down to the spillway area to try and get pictures of all the Cliff Swallows that were gathering mud for nest building…it was then that I spotted these two Wilson’s Phalaropes…

Field Arnica

back to wildflowers…there were large patches of this Field Arnica in flower…

Wild Rose

the Wild Roses were just coming into bloom…


this was a pretty typical scene…Small flowered Penstemon; Field Chickweed; Mauve Locoweed and clover.

Mallard in the pond

back to that pond beside our campsite…

Song Sparrow on a log a Song Sparrow was there constantly – I think there was a nest in one of the bushes…

a pose

When the Scaups weren’t there, Mallard were…this one being a female…the male that showed up occasionally tended to be rather camera shy…


There was always a Flycatcher around…I thought it was a Least Flycatcher…but it may be a Willow..

Savannah Sparrow fledgling

There were untold numbers of Savannah Sparrows…some fledglings like this guy, but I think most were still in the nest as you couldn’t walk more than a few feet without being scolded by a parent…

Lincoln Sparrow

I was actually surprised to come across several pairs of Lincoln Sparrows – this was one of a pair nesting behind our campsite – unfortunately the off spring they were protecting so vigorously was a cowbird.

Juvenile Cowbird on the road

and speaking of Cowbirds…here is a baby one that was on the road –

Fledgling Brewers Blackbird

Cowbirds and Brewer’s Blackbirds are certainly two of the most prevalent species there….this being a baby Brewer’s    

another look

and just a couple more pictures …Common Loon…this guy was hanging around the base of the spillway…

Wings swept forward

and an Osprey….you can always expect to see these guys…this one was down at Leighton.

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