Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/26/2015

Photo taken on November  9, 2013

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like winter
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SW of Calgary
Pine Coulee Reservoir

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Pine Coulee Reservoir, November 2013

Pine Coulee Reservoir, November 2013
Had a great day of birding on 9 November 2013, SW of Calgary, in an area that I don't think I'd ever been to before. (Some of us recently went on another of Terry's trips to this area, on 19 April 2015.) The scene in this image is at Pine Coulee Reservoir. There are several campgrounds along the Reservoir, one of which is Pine Coulee Campground. To give an idea of how far away from Calgary this reservoir is, the Pine Coulee Campground is located 119km southwest of Calgary and 9km west of the town of Stavely. There was a lot of ice on the Reservoir, but there was also plenty of open water, being enjoyed by a lot of water birds, including Canada Geese, Swans and a good variety of ducks, etc.. After stopping at several places along the Reservoir, we continued to Clear Lake, where there were a lot of Snow Geese - this was the first time I'd seen them in great numbers. We also saw two Long-tailed Ducks, and something like 17 or 18 Rough-legged Hawks, plus Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harriers, Prairie Falcon, etc..

The following report was written by Terry Korolyk, who was our trip leader. Hope he won't mind my using this, as it is so well documented - and accurate : ) Terry has done, and continues to do, phenomenal recording of bird sightings for many years, which has been extremely valuable to endless birders. Thanks so much, Terry, for such a great day!

"Fifteen birders and the Trip Leader thoroughly enjoyed a day of birding today (9 November 2013) visiting Pine Coulee Reservoir and Clear Lake in the Stavely area. Highlight was 2 Winter-plumaged female LONG-TAILED DUCKS at Pine Coulee, one off the Dam there; the other seen from the road on the east side of the Reservoir approximately a kilometre south of Township Road 150.

Mind-boggling numbers of waterfowl, particularly Mallards, were at the Reservoir, but, also in large numbers were Canada Geese and Hutchinson's subspecies Cackling Geese. Small numbers of Swans, both Trumpeter and Tundra, were in the north end of the Reservoir. Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye were also in good numbers with species there in smaller numbers in the north end being Lesser Scaup, Northern Pintail, and others. A juvenile Greater Scaup or Greater Scaup-Lesser Scaup hybrid was on the north side of the bridge which is part of the highway from Stavely that runs across the Reservoir at roughly its halfway point.

North of the Bridge to the Dam was concentrated mainly with dabblers such as American Coot, American Wigeon, and Gadwall. Others here included approximately 40 Eared Grebes. One Killdeer was at the north end; another just north of the Bridge.

Raptors were in good numbers and variety at the Reservoir including 2 Golden Eagles; 2 juvenile Bald Eagles; 4 Northern Harriers; a Merlin, and many Rough-legged Hawks. The drive to Clear Lake on Township Road 140 produced another juvenile Bald Eagle; 1 Red-tailed Hawk, and, more Rough-legged Hawks.

There was still much open water off the Campground at Clear Lake with Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, and, Mallard there in large numbers, and, a generous sprinkling of all the other Duck species. On the ice edge north of the Campground, probably 2,000+ SNOW and ROSS'S GEESE rested. One blue SNOW GEESE was there and, there was a very generous assortment of ROSS'S GEESE in these birds; probably 200+ at least.

The north end of Clear Lake was frozen, so, we headed north to the Twin Valleys Dam Reservoir, and, drove up the east side of it. This produced more Rough-legged Hawks,and, a Prairie Falcon. Some herds of Mule Deer and flocks of Gray Partridge were seen on the trip home via Highways 804, 799, 552, and, Dunbow Road. Total Rough-legged Hawk numbers for the Trip was 17 with one of the parties seeing one while they were travelling to the starting point."