Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/25/2014

Photo taken on July 10, 2014

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Anne Elliott
SE of Calgary
Frank Lake
Porzana carolina
small marshbird
triangular body shape
descending whinny call
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Porzana
side view

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I see a Sora

I see a Sora
These shorebirds are so hard to photograph - they move quickly in and out and through the cattails and other water plants. Always surprises me just how small they are - in my mind, they are larger - until I see one.

"A small, secretive bird of freshwater marshes, the Sora is the most common and widely distributed rail in North America. Its distinctive descending whinny call can be easily heard from the depths of the cattails, but actually seeing the little marsh-walker is much more difficult." From AllAboutBirds.

On 10 July 2014, I checked the weather forecast before dashing down to the Frank Lake area, SE of the city. Pretty much a spur of the moment thing. The temperature had gone down a few degrees from the unbearably hot day before, and the sun was shining. On the Weather Network, I discovered that there was a weather Alert in effect, possibly huge hailstones and also the possibility of a tornado. Thinking I might get a chance to see some interesting clouds, I decided that I would still go.

My destination was Frank Lake and the surrounding area, where I bumped into friend, Greg Wagner, who is extremely knowledgeable about the area and its wildlife, and does an amazing job of recording all his sightings. I saw Eared Grebes with their young ones (quite big now), a few White-faced Ibis and Black-crowned Night Herons (no photos). Did manage to get a few shots of a Sora (thanks for telling me to watch out for them, Greg!). After I'd finished at the blind, Greg took me to various spots around the lake, pointing out places where he had seen interesting things, hoping that they might still be there for me to see. Thanks so much, Greg - I enjoyed this and really appreciated it!

One of the birds we saw was a Western Kingbird - our more common Kingbird is the Eastern, so I was very happy to see a Western. We also passed by a male Great Horned Owl, who was perched on one of the huge power pylons.

The clouds were building up as the hours went by and it did rain just a little when I was driving home. Fortunately, no hail or tornado! The sky looked so dramatic in person, though my photos were a little disappointing. Good enough, though, to remind me of a most enjoyable few hours SE of the city.