Monday, June 25, 2012

Spring Trip 2012 – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part 1

Everyone who follows this blog knows that Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park is our very favorite place to be and therefore I’d better get our ‘spring trip’ to there finished, because in a few days we will be heading back for the 1st summer trip!  Usually getting to Tunkwa is a pretty straight forward proposition….

a for real cattle drive heading to Tunkwa

This time it was a bit complicated by a ‘for real’ cattle drive!  We had to back up beyond a cattle guard and sit while this herd was moved…a real treat to see ranchers on horseback and working dogs doing their thing!…

Always the next question when you actually reach the campsite is ‘where do we want to stay’ – of course I have favorite sites for different times of the year and different weather situations – my very favorite site had been commandeered now for this, the 3rd year, by the same people who park there for the entire season (something that actually is now being allowed at this park as a trial)….my 2nd favorite site, close to the water but beside one of the few groves of trees left with lots of undergrowth that attracts birds – is one of the favored sites by most park visitors…

Evening - Scaup in the bay

but, lo and behold, it was free!  In fact there was only one other unit parked at this end of the campground and they only stayed over night so the next day which would have been May 24th we had the whole end of the campground entirely to ourselves – just the way I like it!!  First thing to notice are all the Lesser Scaup in the little bay!

Savannah Sparrow singing

as we were setting up this Savannah Sparrow was serenading us from a little pine tree – yes those are bugs but they are chrominids, that don’t bite as opposed to mosquitoes that do.

Dark-eyed Junco

it didn’t take me long to notice a slightly concerned Dark Eyed Junco on the other side of the campsite…

Dark-eyed Junco near nest

the reason became apparent when I noticed there was a nest under that cluster of dried grasses (I sure hope they made it – I pointed it out to the park attendant so at least he wouldn’t weed whack it but it was very close to the road…)

Birdy area by campsite

This shows the area immediately behind the chosen campsite, the same sort of habitat continues down the side to the road…so after setting up it was just a case of wandering around and establishing that every thing you expect to be here at this time of the year is in fact here…

Brewer's Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird – check!  They seemed to be in the midst of nesting and yes, those are more of those chrominids.

Male Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbirds – check!

American Coot

American Coot – check!Lesser Scaup in the bay

as already mentioned – LOTS of Lesser Scaups…50 to 60 at a time in the little bay..

Barrow's Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye – here a pair but mainly there were just males so I expect most females were nesting – this is a species that nests in cavities in trees…

calling Killdeer

Killdeer – as hysterical as ever!

May trip 2012 -Can35x 147

American Robins….most seemed to be in the nesting or feeding young stage…

Mountain Chickadee

Up the back where the Great Gray Owls had nested last year, there were only Mountain Chickadee this year.  The park attendant thinks that with all the attention the owls drew last year, they’ve found a less busy place to nest this year.

Geese on the prowl

so that pretty much brings us to the end of the first day.  We had noticed that there didn’t seem to be nearly as many Canada Geese as we’d seen here at this time other years, something the park attendant confirmed, however numbers did seem to increase over the few days we were there..

like father, like daughter

so we’ll leave today with Ernie and Shantz relaxing in the evening sunshine – for our next trip we’ve bought two more chairs so I’ll get to sit outside as well!

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