Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/25/2016

Photo taken on April 24, 2016

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side view
Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
SE of Calgary
Frank Lake
© Anne Elliott 2016
24 April 2016
Caution - deep water
Agelaius phoeniceus
Red-winged Blackbird
overcast drizzle

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Caution - deep water

Caution - deep water 

Yesterday, 25 April 2016, I was out for the day, SE of Calgary around Frank Lake. Finally, after so much glorious, summer-like spring weather, the weather changed for the worse and we had a cool (needed gloves), very overcast day with light drizzle some of the time. Not good at all for taking photos. We also had a fair bit of desperately needed rain last night. I was especially disappointed with the shots I took of a beautiful Western Meadowlark. Usually, they fly even when they see you in the far distance, but this beauty let me slowly walk quite close to get a number of photos. The quality of my previous photo is awful, but I don't get a chance to photograph Meadowlarks very often, so will post at least one or two grainy images. If you've never heard the song of a Meadowlark, it might be worth listening on AllAboutBirds website.

Eight friends and I had a great day, despite the weather. This is one of my favourite areas amd I just haven't been getting time to drive there myself for quite a long time. We started off at the main gate and drove to the blind/hide area, stopping half way to search for very distant birds. While everyone else had their binoculars pointed over the water, I was slowly walking towards the Meadowlark, who was singing its beautiful song. You can hear them and they sound so close, but their song seems to carry a long way. It kept flying away but each time returned to the same post. I was amazed and delighted that this one let me get so close. If the sun had been shining, it would have been perfect!

As usual when we go to Frank Lake, almost all the birds are very distant and pretty impossible to photograph. I did catch this male Red-winged Blackbird near the blind - the females have not yet returned here. The other amazing thing was when we had walked from the Frank Lake bird blind over to the water in the other direction, a flock of about 50 Tree Swallows were flying to and from a low tree/shrub, catching the many insects while in flight. Again, while everyone was searching over the water, I gradually made my way to within just a few feet of the bush. Quite a feeling to have so many Tree Swallows circling all the way around you. I have never ever seen so many of them acting like this, so it was a neat experience.

From this main area, we called in at the usual three other places around the lake. Two were rough roads that led to Basin 2 from the east and the west, and the third was the Ducks Unlimited location at the far southern edge of the lake, at Basin 3.

Thanks so much for a great day, Tony, and for the ride all day. I always look forward to the Frank Lake trips.

"The buoyant, flutelike melody of the Western Meadowlark ringing out across a field can brighten anyone’s day. Meadowlarks are often more easily heard than seen, unless you spot a male singing from a fence post. This colorful member of the blackbird family flashes a vibrant yellow breast crossed by a distinctive, black, V-shaped band. Look and listen for these stout ground feeders in grasslands, meadows, pastures, and along marsh edges throughout the West and Midwest, where flocks strut and feed on seeds and insects." From AllAboutBirds.

I will add our leader, Tony Timmons' list of species seen, adding that only 6 people walked as far as the Hudsonian Godwits - I was not one of them.

"Nine people were on the trip today to Frank Lake. Expected species were present in pretty fair numbers, with the best sighting being 15 Hudsonian Godwits at Basin 3.

A flock of 50 Tree Swallows hacking insects and using a small bush for a perch, made for an interesting scene.

We had 56 species for the trip

Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
White-faced Ibis (1 seen by Dan P.)
Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Green-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Ruddy Duck
Northern Harrier
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Gray Partridge
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Lesser Yellowlegs
Hudsonian Godwit
Wilson's Snipe
Franklin's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
California Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Marsh Wren
American Robin
European Starling
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Sparrow"

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Yves Saulnier
Yves Saulnier
Il est là pour avertir, superbe signalisation.
2 years ago.