20 June 2012

Up the Skookumchuck, 11 June 2012

A little adventure to entertain a visiting sister, and an opportunity do to some point counts was indeed an enjoyable day.

En Route to Square NR83

What are all those big birds in the field?

A FLOCK of Long-billed Curlews ! Very unusual for this time of year.

My theory is that these are all the Dads gathering for morning coffee klatch, just like the OAPs (old-age pensioners) who go to the local A&W for the cheap coffee. There were about a dozen and half dodging the irrigation sprinkler.

A few other surprises were in store for us up in squares NR82 and 83.

An expansive rocky outcrop beside a point count yielded an unusual species - ROCK WREN ! Not a lot of records from this regional district. We triple checked the id because there was a possible sighting of a Canyon Wren further north earlier in the year; but alas, no. Yet, it is still a wonderful sight and sound.

Also, a flock of COMMON NIGHTHAWK, almost two dozen of them, skimmed along at road level over the drop off  of a rocky cliff. 

Our first good view of the countryside revealed the Skookumchuck River drainage off to our west and Wasa Lake in the distance to the south.

Skookumchuck River drainage

The whole crew: me and the Ross' and Chase - the Rockies in the background.

Some people were slightly more interested in flowers. Here are some Glacier Lilies, I think.

Our goal was to reach the old fire lookout tower atop the little mountain but a Tamarack had fallen across the road and we did not bring a chainsaw.  So we hung around the landing, ate some lunch, chased a Hairy Woodpecker up into the slash, then prepared to depart with the last task of finding a good bush biffy spot. Good things are sometimes found when one steps right in to the forest - I got a lifer!

Spruce Grouse, female - a Lifer AND the first species on my 'Birds Seen While Peeing' list - just kidding.

Down at Tamarack Lake, we saw an interesting thing - a BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD repeatedly visiting the sapwell of a RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER on a water birch beside the lake then going to perch and digest atop another little bush. I was hoping it was gathering insects to feed babies and would go directly back to its nest, but no, it was just resting in between.  Also, the Common Loon babies way up the lake were nice to see.

So much fun!  Thanks Ross' !!!!!

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