Thursday, 25 August 2011

A Prairie Drive and A Milestone

Yesterday I headed out on a hot prairie drive to Frank Lake and Weed Lake, two of the best spots for waterfowl and shorebirds in the Calgary region.  I had an enjoyable day out and, when I tabulated my list at home, I made a pleasant discovery - scroll down for more.

A map of my route (I went anti-clockwise).  Click to enlarge.

Highlights included a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron that I flushed from the reeds and a Northern Harrier hunting shorebirds along the edge of Frank Lake.  I had my digiscoping kit with me and caught some images of the shorebirds and others.
Long-billed Curlews are stunningly elegant birds
Marbled Godwits aren't bad either
As I've mentioned before, sometimes the scope is kind of overkill!  Nevertheless, this Barn Swallow  apparently doesn't mind posing.
A Black-necked Stilt pauses to reflect (while Franklin's Gulls take a nap)
These are Red-necked Phalaropes - at least I hope it's not a botched identification because that's my 200th ABA (i.e. North American) species!
Calidris sandpipers are confusing - what species do you think this one is, and why?


  1. Hi David,
    I think you got the Phalarope right - congratulations on the milestone.
    As for the sandpiper: I'm not very experienced with these and I find them tough, so it's a good exercise to try to say why you ID it as one Calidris over another. It doesn't look like a Pectoral, and the black legs eliminate that and Least. It looks like the tail is at least as long as the wings, so probably not Baird's or White-rumped. The bill looks straight and thick, more like a Semipalmated than a Western. My best guess is Semipalmated Sandpiper.

  2. Bob,

    Really appreciate the feedback. I was fairly confident as the striped back seemed very prominent. As for the Calidris complex I'm still very challenged and I think a winter project will be to just sit down and learn them. Missed seeing you at bird study group this month - perhaps October?