Saturday, 25 May 2013

Counting in the Rain

Let's start with a typical spring bird count scene - identify these four duck species, click to enlarge if needed....
Answers at the bottom of this post!
Having missed last year's spring bird count I was excited to get out again this year.  I spent about six hours exploring my fairly nondescript section of prairie north of the town of Strathmore.  It's marked as  area 32 on the image below...

The wet and windy weather made finding songbirds somewhat challenging, although a surprise Rose-breasted Grosbeak showed up in a little clump of woodland.  The wetland birds were easy to find though, with the highlight being a slough with eight Double-crested Cormorants and seven Hooded Mergansers on the water along with an amazing eight Great Blue Herons and three Black-crowned Night-herons all lined up in less than a hundred yards of shoreline - I guess someone is keeping the fish stocked up!

Here are a few more photos from the day's count:
Black Tern, Chlidonias niger, not actually all that black but agrees that the weather is pretty crappy ;)
Wilson's Snipe, Gallinago delicata, more proof that Mother Nature has a sense of humour
Three Bank Swallows, Riparia riparia, arguing over personal space
Black-bellied Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, something of a spy shot of one of the day's rarer finds
I didn't see any Black-necked Stilts, Himantopus mexicanus, in the count area but this beauty was feeding by the road on the way home.
 Duck Quiz Answers (left to right): Gadwall, Canvasback, Blue-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup


  1. Very cool post. I wish I could have taken part, but I wasn't in Calgary for this year's count. Is there one for another season that you know about? I'd like to join in. How did you get assigned to region 32?

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I was put on area 32 on my first count a few years ago and have been doing it since then - just luck of the draw. You'll need to contact Terry Poulton (easiest through the AlbertaBirds Yahoo Group) to get on the list. If it's your first count and you need an area, you're welcome to join me.