Sunday, April 21, 2013

On The Horizon

When I received the email alert on my Blackberry, I knew where I was headed come Saturday morning. This email contained information from a birding group that I am a member of,  and whom had been contacted by a biologist from Washington State, who was tracking migrating snow geese. One of their collared geese had unexpectedly shown up east of Calgary, and here is part of what was in that email. 

Hello- I am a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish &Wildlife in Washington State. We recently implanted snow geese from the Skagit/Fraser valleys with satellite transmitters to document migration of these geese are thought to nest on Wrangel Island, Russia. The migration recently commenced and we have a very interesting migrant that is near Calgary. This route is not expected, as it is thought that the majority of this breeding population travels along the Pacific Coast. Could you
let anyone who might be interested know about this event, and what I am most looking for, is someone who might be interested in having a look at
the flocks to get flock counts. In addition................

Well you got the gest of it, and after contacting the biologist, and upon receiving fresh lat/long coordinates for the wandering snow goose, and with the coordinates entered into my Garmin Montana, I decided to go for a quick drive Friday afternoon, thinking that I would possibly spot snow geese feeding in the fields near Hussar, as there had been sightings near Hussar earlier in the week.
 Hussar is located at the intersection of highway 561 and highway 56, and borders on the south shore of Deadhorse Lake. It had been a while since I had been to Hussar, and upon arriving, a drive around town proved to be interesting, with several stops made for photos. I soon headed out to the east of town for a look around the countryside, in hope of spotting snow geese or tundra swans feeding in the fields. I did not see any large flocks, although I managed to spot and photograph a number of both snow geese and tundra swans.
Sunrise on Saturday morning found me in the Wintering Hills about 20 kilometers Northeast of Hussar, and in the Suncor wind farm located there. I had left Calgary at 4:30am, and after filling my truck with gas and then a stop at the Tim Horton's drive-through in Chestemere, I headed east on highway 1, and I was just east of Strathmore when I ran into fog. So at that point I decided to make my way up highway 564, which would put me north of Hussar and in the Wintering Hills at sunrise. The reason for this, being that I have been out that way several times in the past in hopes of photographing the wind farm located there, with the right amount of fog mixed in with good light at sunrise.

It didn't happen, but still, I enjoyed my time amongst the turbines, as I find them quite interesting. Here is a short video clip I shot while I was amongst the wind turbines.

From the location of the wind farm in the Wintering Hills, I worked my way through the back country down to the Crawling Valley Reservoir
 just North of Bassano. The lake was still covered in ice, although there were a small number of snow geese located on the open water near the shore-line. After shooting a few photos of the geese, I drove in to Bassano where I had lunch. From Bassano I picked up highway 561 just to the North of town, and worked my way back to Hussar, before heading west towards Standard, and from there, I drove the short distance over to Highway 1, and then back to Calgary.

All in all, I had a good day out and about, and I managed to come home with a number of keepers, photos that is!

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