All photos are copyright Allan or Cathy Murrant unless otherwise stated.
We left Cape Breton on a "Road Trip" to the Prairies on May 12, 2019 returning on June 16,2019. We are posting here some of the highlights of our trip. We put 15,000 km +- on our car. We stopped in Musquash, NB for a few days. We took a day trip to Deer Island to look for a Painted Bunting that had been reported.
Painted Bunting - Deer Island, NB
From Musquash, NB we headed to Voyageur Provincial Park, Ontario. We saw Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Great-crested Flycatcher in the campground.
We left Voyageur for Rene Brunelle Provincial Park near Moonbeam, Ontario. May 17th Remi Lake was still frozen over and the campsite still had snow banks. We travelled from Rene Brunelle to Sleeping Giant then on to Winnipeg, MB. We stopped a few days in Winnipeg to look for birds and hoped for sightings of Le Conte's Sparrow and Harris's Sparrow. We visited Oak Hammock Marsh a few times during our visit.
Yellow-headed Blackbird - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Sedge Wren - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Harris's Sparrow - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Clay-colored Sparrow - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
We left Winnipeg, MB for Grasslands National Park on May 23. Once we reached the Prairies it was hard for us to make good time driving. Every puddle, drainage ditch, pond, or lake was full of birds that home we would consider rarities.
Marbled Godwit - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Wilson's Phalarope were fairly common on our trip.
American Avocet were fairly common on our trip.
We spent 2 days at the campground in Grasslands National Park. The first life bird of our trip was Baird's Sparrow seen and photographed in the park.
Baird's Sparrow in Grasslands National Park.
Prairie Rattlesnake in Grasslands National Park.
Vesper Sparrow in Grasslands National Park. We are not sure what this trail camera was meant to photograph but this Vesper Sparrow picture proves the camera was useful for getting photos.
Say's Phoebe was seen in the campground at Grasslands.
Swainson's Hawk were fairly common on our trip. This one grabbed a snake off the road ahead of us.
A highlight of our stay in Grasslands was when we happened to come across a Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek.
The main destination of our trip was Elkwater - Cypress Hills Provincial Park in Alberta. We stayed from May 25th to the 29th. We drove the back roads and made a day trip to Wild Horse. We drove the "East Driving Route" a 60 km loop that tours the parks east end. We ate at the Camp Cookhouse every evening of our stay, it was delicous. The drive from the Camp Cookhouse back to our campsite along the edge of Elkwater Lake was good for birding. Flies hatching out of the lake were gathered in clouds over the road. The trees provided enough shelter from the wind to keep the flies from blowing away and the birds gathered in the trees feeding on the flies. We would park on the side of the road or walk the trail though this area.
Western Tanager was seen in the trees along the edge of Elkwater Lake.
Tennessee Warbler was seen in the trees along the edge of Elkwater Lake.
Black-headed Grosbeak was seen in the trees along the edge of Elkwater Lake.
Ferruginous Hawk were seen is various places in the southern Prairie.
There were so few trees in some parts we visited if you found a tree a bird was nesting in it.
Great Horned Owl on a nest with young.
Ferruginous Hawk on a nest.
Dusky Flycatcher seen on the East Driving Route.
Mountain Bluebird seen on the "Bench" East Driving Route.
Red-naped Sapsucker seen on the "Bench" East Driving Route. Also seen and photographed along the edge of Elkwater Lake. The flies that were attracting the birds to the wooded area by the lake can be seen in this photo.
Sprague's Pipit seen along back roads (TWP 20) near Wild Horse.
McCown's Longspur seen along back roads (TWP 20) near Wild Horse.
Chestnut-collared Longspur seen along back roads (TWP 20) near Wild Horse.
Lark Bunting seen along back roads (TWP 20)near Wild Horse.
We left Elkwater for Writing on Stone Provincial Park. This was a 2 hour drive but it would take us all day. Elkwater to Manyberries, with stops in Orion, Etzikom, Pakowki Lake, to Writing on Stone. With many stops between these places when we saw birds.
Eared Grebe in the marsh near Manyberries.
Red-necked Phalarope in marshes around Pakowki Lake.
Cinnamon Teal in marshes around Pakowki Lake.
White-faced Ibis in marshes around Pakowki Lake.
Black-necked Stilt in marshes around Pakowki Lake.
Western Grebe in marshes around Pakowki Lake.
Long-billed Curlew in ponds and prairie surrounding Pakowki Lake.
Writing on Stone Provincial Park is a really beautiful park to visit. We camped a few days, walked the trails and took time to see the attractions.
Spotted Towhee seen around the hiking trails.
From Writing on Stone Provincial Park we headed for Waterton Lakes National Park via back roads.
Golden Eagle seen along the roads.
Violet-green Swallow seen in the town of Waterton.
Rufous Hummingbird seen in the town of Waterton.
Calliope Hummingbird seen in the town of Waterton.
MacGillivray's Warbler seen in the town of Waterton.
We drove up to Banff then left for home with stops at Frank Lake, Foothills County, AB. Stayed in Dinosaur Provincial Park. A stop at Redcliff, AB for Lazuli Bunting. We pulled over at Reed Lake, Morse, SK.
Franklin's Gull at Frank Lake.
Northern Flicker (red-shafted) seen in the campground at Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Rock Wren seen around the hiking trails at Dinosaur.
Lazuli Bunting at Redcliff Park, Redcliff, AB
California Gull at Reed Lake, SK
On our trip we had 195 total species, 13 lifers that included Baird's Sparrow, Long-billed Curlew, Brewer's Sparrow, Dusky Flycatcher, Red-naped Sapsucker, Cinnamon Teal, Rufous Hummingbird, MacGillivray's Warbler, Calliope Hummingbird, Townsend's Warbler, Cassin's Finch, Lazuli Bunting and Le Conte's Sparrow.