Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 06/24/2014

Photo taken on June 22, 2014

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Anne Elliott
Common Nighthawk
Dinosaur Provincial Park
E of Calgary
camp ground area
camouflages well
horizontal stance
Status in Canada: Threatened

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Nighthawk - what a treat

Nighthawk - what a treat
It was such a thrill to see this Nighthawk (a rather strange looking bird), as I had always wanted to see one actually perched! I saw three of them flying over the Bow River and over our heads in Bow Valley Provincial Park just a few years ago, but no chance for a photo. This Nighthawk was one of two new species that I was lucky enough to see, the other being a Lark Sparrow. I think I'm right in saying that this is a Cottonwood tree.

Sunday, 22 June 2014, was a long day trip with friends to Dinosaur Provincial Park. This park lies about two and a half hours' drive away, to the east of Calgary. I had only ever once been there before, that I can remember, and it must have been 30+ years ago, so yesterday's bus trip was an absolute treat.

46 people went on this annual outing and when we arrived, we split into two groups. One half went on a mini bus tour in the morning to an area of the park that is kept closed to people in order to protect the landscape. The other half took this tour in the afternoon. The rest of the day, we could go on a walk along one of the trails in the park that are open to the public.

I was in the group that walked in the morning. We went on the Cottonwoods Trail, that eventually led to the river - a long walk that was much further than I expected! We saw very few birds, the main one being a Yellow Warbler that had its beak full of soft, white "down" from a Cottonwood tree. When we were almost back at the starting point, the Nighthawk in my photo was spotted, lying on a very high branch. Well done, Shirley, for spotting this bird (and the Lark Sparrow) that was very difficult to see!

Our mini bus tour in one of the Park's buses in the afternoon took us through some spectacular scenery. Will be posting a few different views in the next little while. We had great weather, which was very lucky, as we had had rain for quite a few days before. When wet, the Bentonite clay becomes treacherously slippery, so we did not have to experience that, though in a few places we could feel our feet slipping.

I got back home around 6:30 p.m., barely able to move an inch, but it was definitely worth it. Thanks so much, Lynn, for organizing such an enjoyable trip to this fascinating area! A lot of work goes into organizing an event like this and it was much appreciated! Thanks, too, to friends Val and Wendy who took turns to sit with me for the long 2 1/2 hour journey out there and back! Great to catch up with both of you!

From "Birds of Alberta book:
"This species has declined across most of its North American range since 1966, and has even disappeared from some parts of Canada. Declines require investigation. Food supply may be affected by pesticide use in urban and suburban areas."

Cats 99 has particularly liked this photo

Cats 99
Cats 99
How cool! - A great find!
3 years ago.