Sunday, March 09, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Canon 70/200mm f/2.8 L lens with EOS 40D - ISO 200 - Matrix metering - minus 1 stop: 1/1000 sec @ f8 set for histogram check

I found myself out looking for spring and must say that it is close although depending what your looking for you may or may not believe it has arrived quite yet. I had left Calgary at least a hour before the sun was due over the horizon and the temperature a balmy -5 Celsius with the promise by the weather man for temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius by the afternoon. I knew I was pushing it to believe that I would possibly find some of our summer residents had possibly arrived from their wintering homes to the south.

I felt that I possibly would have a chance of seeing migrating birds at Frank Lake located a short distance east of High River, Alberta. Frank Lake is a shallow slough typical of the grasslands of southern Alberta.You can expect to see ducks, geese, prairie marsh birds and shore birds. I knew that I was pushing it to expect to see Trumpeter Swans or Tundra Swans who stage here before continuing to their nesting grounds.

Later in the spring you can expect to see Bairds Sandpipers, Long-billed Dowitchers and Marbled Godwits. Some of the endangered species seen here are the Peregrine falcon, Ferruginous Hawk, Long-billed Curlew and Short Eared Owl. The uncommon Bairds Sparrow also breeds here. Many more species can be observed here.

Frank Lake is considered the most important wetland in southwestern Alberta for breeding birds. I arrived just after sunrise to the sound of thousands of ducks and geese as the took to the skies in search of breakfast in nearby fields. The lake was still covered by a fair amount of ice although with the temperatures forecast for the coming week in the double digits, changes are in store.

The morning was gorgeous with the views to the west stunning with the Rockies blinding in the early morning light due to the snow covering them. I find it strange that with all the snow gone, It would be a mistake to put your snow shovel away as there is potential for several heavy snowfalls before we can call it done for the season. I can think back to many a long weekend of May where we had to dig ourselves out of the tent while camping in the Rockies.

After hiking along the shoreline in the early morning light and not coming up with any exciting returnees from the south, I called it done and headed back to the truck. I made the short drive in to High River where I picked up a coffee and from there, drove backroads west over to Highway 22 and making the turn north to Longview and home. The next two weeks should bring big changes in the bird migration as they make their way through our area to their summer homes. I can hardly wait. Later

Darn- "he spotted me and me with no summer coat yet"

Don't forget that all the photos expand

Everyone should have a hobby such as this with a front yard full of trains

No comments yet