Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spring Trip 2012 – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part 5

OK, I’m going to try to finish up our spring time visit to Tunkwa, today in preparation for heading out there again tomorrow…I’ll probably just show some random pictures in no special order…

White-crowned Sparrow in the grass

to show some more of the species frequenting the habitat beside our campsite – White-crowned Sparrow…

Song Sparrow after a bath

Song Sparrow – this one heading for a bath – there seems to be a small spring in this area – another bird attractant

Orange Crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler….Rufous in the bushes

Rufous Hummingbird – this one a male of course – hiding in the bushes…

Brown-headed Cowbird approaching Kinglet nest

and remember I said I’d have a bit more about Ruby-crowned Kinglets – well that is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet nest on the underside of the branch, and to the left is a female Brown Headed Cowbird sneaking over, and yes, into the little kinglet nest.

Double trouble?

There were also Chipmunks – busy eating the dried up rose hips – left from last fall….

Leighton Lake

on the Saturday (May 26th) we did the 4 km loop walk around Leighton Lake – this is the far end of Leighton where the campgrounds are.

Shantz' brother 'Relic' and 'Pride' at Leighton

Camped at Leighton were some relatives – or at least relatives of Shantz – it is pretty obvious which was is Shantz’ brother (although from a separate litter), his name is ‘Relic’ and the little gray female’s name is Pride and we humans are now all Face book friends….Relic and Pride spend about as much time at Leighton as we do at Tunkwa…

Eagle on tree top

later in the afternoon, back at the campsite, look at the very top of the tallest tree….

Bald Eagle over head

that young Bald Eagle spent quite a while up there….

clear skies and calm water

just an evening shot from the end of Tunkwa Lake..

What's back here?

and an Osprey in the late afternoon sunshine…

Evening sunshine

and one more of the spillway, with the sun now really low in the sky….  the next day, we would have to head for home.

Spring Trip 2012 – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part 4

Now the 25th of May and a Friday, we decided to head out for a morning walk over to the Aspen Grove

The spillway

it was another nice day….fisheries had been in the previous afternoon and removed their nets from the top of the spillway – the ones at the bottom were still in place…

Up from the depths

as soon as the nets had been removed, a pair of Common Loon moved into the area, one wouldn’t venture right into the tight little bay, but the other one had no concerns about doing so, nor was it at all concerned about me sitting only a few feet away…

American Wigeon pair

a pair of American Wigeon were also hanging about that area.

from the far end

heading toward the bluff….spotted…

Male Mountain Bluebird

a Mountain Bluebird on that one lone dead pine tree…

The marsh behind

onto the bluff and looking down into the marsh…could hear Marsh Wren all over the place, as well as Yellow-headed Blackbirds..

Pair of Red-head and a Scaup

Besides the inevitable Scaup, there were several pairs of Red Head Ducks (above), a pair of Canvas Back and some Ruddy Ducks as well as American Coot.  A Sora was spooked as we walked along but missed getting a picture.

The Aspen grove

and finally, into the Aspen Grove, or as I prefer to call it, the ‘bird nursery’…

Early Blue Violets

should show though that what appears to just be dead grass on the way to the grove, is actually a carpet of Early Blue Violets…

Female Tree Swallow

and, as usual, the aspens were alive with nesting Tree Swallows, like the female above,

Starling taking food to nest

European Starlings…

near the nest

Northern Flicker…

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird….and who knows what else….not wanting to alarm the nursery any more than necessary we then headed back to the campground.

In the afternoon I wandered off by myself…

The family in the bay

headed over to Leighton because it doesn’t matter how many times you visit the same area, there is always something different to see – this picture really shows the dead falls….but then I spotted not one but two families of Canada Geese..

Keeping an eye on me

I stood very quietly and this family very cautiously approached…

Canada Goose family

and then, deciding that I wasn’t a threat, came ashore only a few feet in front of me.

Flicker nest site

on the way back from the aspen grove, I had noticed this tree and thought their had to be something nesting in there…

Female Northern Flicker at nest

so, being by myself, I cautiously approached it and sure enough….another Northern Flicker nest….and now I’ll break off with the rest of the days events in Part 5.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spring Trip 2012 – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part 3

Continuing on with what was May 24th, spent the rest of the day just wandering around in the immediate area of the campground..

Female Hairy

at one point a female Hairy Woodpecker showed up in the habitat beside our campsite…

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets were there too (I’ll have more about Ruby-crowned Kinglets in a bit), notice that the wild roses were just leafing out…

Pair of Buffleheads

although the species of ducks in the bay were mainly Lesser Scaup, a pair of Bufflehead (above) showed up….

Lesser Scaup and a Barrow's Goldeneye

and a male Barrow’s Goldeneye hung out with the Scaups…

Ernie and April camped

as the sun came out in the afternoon, even April ventured outside…

Shooting Stars and Sagebrush Buttercup

of course to me Wildflowers are almost as important as the birds….it was early for wildflowers with only a few Sage Brush Buttercups left in shaded areas, and the Shooting Stars just coming out…Flower detail

there was some Yellow Corydalis in an area close to the campsite…

Cut-leaf Daisies

and Cut-leaf Daisies in the dryer locations…


at one point I wandered over to the spillway where this Osprey was perched…

Wet Western Tanager

and the same area was alive with Western Tanagers, busy bathing….a male above…

Female Western Tanager

and a female…Common Loon

In the evening I went over to stand on the bluff to attempt pictures of the Common Loon that had come into the bay to feed…

Yellow-bellied Marmot

of course one of the Yellow-bellied Marmots had to come see what I was up too..

Common Loon

after wards I walked out onto the spit to attempt some more Loon pictures with the sun behind me…

Male Western Tanager

Those Western Tanagers, around supper time, moved into the trees around our campsite and proceeded to stay there – I have never seen so many Western Tanagers in one place before!

Yellow Warbler in the willows

before I close off this day….should go back and post this, a Yellow Warbler that I had found near a little pond earlier in the afternoon.  There were also Wilson’s Warbler there.

Evening - May 24, 2012

so we’ll bring to a close an absolutely perfect, May 24th day.

Spring Trip 2012 – Tunkwa Lake P.P. – Part 2

Woke up on the morning of the 24th to see our only neighbour pulling out….not quite believing our good luck we set about enjoying the day.  After a leisurely breakfast we headed out for a walk over to ….


Leighton Lake – notice the nets in the corner there….fisheries had the spillway between Tunkwa and Leighton netted off…

Yellow-rump Warbler

There is now lots and lots of dead fall where ever you get away from the campground itself.  All those pine beetle killed trees are decaying at the bottom and being blown down but have been allowed to stay where they fall with only the immediate trail cleared…the first open spot you come to was alive with Yellow-rump Warblers…as was most of the park!

Yellow-rump Warbler

this gives a slight indication ….the trail is actually the grassy area…and there is another warbler…

Swallows feeding on the lake

in the distance we noticed a lot of swallow activity over the lake – we’d noticed this the previous evening over Tunkwa lake as well…

Tree swallow tree

then we noticed, up ahead, one of those dead pine trees, absolutely alive with Swallows….

Primarily Cliff swallows

there is a close up of just one small section of the tree – mainly a mix of Tree Swallows and Cliff Swallows although I think there were a few Northern Rough-wing among them as well…

Tree Swallows and Cliff Swallows at Tunkwa

it was an amazing sight….any stumps or dead falls in the area were decorated with swallows!

Trio of Chipping Sparrows

in not quite the same numbers and in not quite the same location, other trees were decorated with Chipping Sparrows..

Chipping Sparrow

there is a more detailed look at one of the Chipping Sparrows…

Calm Lake

back at Tunkwa lake it was a calm, but cool and over cast morning…

Yellow-headed Blackbird

The Yellow-headed Blackbirds were there – it looks to me that some of them weren’t even in full breeding colour yet, or maybe this is just one of last years youngsters and not quite in adult plumage..

Two year old Bald Eagle

There were a number of Bald Eagles around…this fellow in first year plumage, must have been from last year, he was often flying with or near the adults, then other times he was completely on his own….it seems early for a bird from this year to be out on its own, and at one point we saw an adult flying with what appeared to be nesting material – although it seems late for eagles to just be nest building…

Osprey with a fish

of course there were also Osprey and they obviously had youngsters in a nest as they were constantly fishing and then heading off in the same direction…. and I think at this stage I’ll upload this and then continue the day on in part 3…