All photos are copyright Allan or Cathy Murrant unless otherwise stated.
We left Cape Breton on a "Road Trip" to Manitoba on July 28, 2010 returning on August 10,2010. We are posting here some of the highlights of our trip. We left Cape Breton and the first bird we saw of interest to us was a Turkey Vulture in Sackville, NB. Turkey Vultures were a regular sight on our trip with numbers peaking at ten at one time.
We traveled the Trans Canada Highway through New Brunswick into Quebec. After driving through Montreal, we turned North to Ottawa on the Trans Canada toward North Bay, Sudbury, then Sault Ste. Marie.
Just East of Sault Ste. Marie we spotted some Canada Geese in a farmers hay field and among the large round bails of hay and geese were two Sandhill Cranes. We stopped for photos. We had many sightings of Sandhill Crane in the farmers fields around Sault Ste. Marie.
Sandhill Crane - Echo Bay, Ontario
From Sault Ste. Marie we headed North to Thunder Bay and West to Manitoba. Near Dryden, Ontario we spotted a Black-billed Magpie on the roadside. We saw a few Magpies in this area but we never saw anymore on our trip.
Black-billed Magpie - Dyden, Ontario area
We entered the Province of Manitoba on August 1,2010. We began our Manitoba trip list with a Turkey Vulture. The Turkey Vulture was our mascot it seemed. We bypassed the City of Winnipeg to the South and headed for Stephenfield Provincial Park. We sighted Franklin's Gull and Swainson's Hawk just South of Winnipeg causing us to leave the Trans Canada to view them. Then we continued to the Southwest staying on the back roads as much as possible. Red-headed Woodpecker and Clay-colored Sparrow we nice sightings for us and we arrived late in the afternoon at Stephenfield. We were enjoying the birding in this area so much we stayed another night. It was also a good area for Wild Turkey, a lifer for us.
Wild Turkey - Stephenfield Provincial Park, Manitoba
From Stephenfield we headed Southwest to Turtle Mountain then Northwest to Whitewater Lake. Whitewater Lake was a highlight of our trip. We would have liked to have spent more time here taking photos. Even the eight kilometer drive into the lake was good for birds. Western Kingbird, Sprague's Pipit, Orchard Oriole, Baird's Sandpiper, Vesper Sparrow, Horned Lark and Lark Sparrow were sighted along the road.
Western Kingbird - On the road to Whitewater Lake, Manitoba
Orchard Oriole - On the road to Whitewater Lake, Manitoba
Horned Lark - On the road to Whitewater Lake, Manitoba
There were no humans greeting us when we arrived at the lake just a Black-crowned Night Heron.
Black-crowned Night Heron - Whitewater Lake, Manitoba
We spent the day birding and taking photos without seeing anyone else until late afternoon. A representive of the area arrived and we were informed that higher than normal rainfall had raised the water level. The lake which is shallow and usually full only in spring and fall was full of water. So we enjoyed the best of birding conditions. We had seen American White Pelican at Stephenfield but numbers were higher and viewing conditions better here. We also found our most wanted bird here, the Western Grebe. It was a lifer and we were able to get good close looks and photos. Lots of Eared Grebe with their young was a huge treat for us. We had a very exciting day sighting Wilson's Phalarope, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Northern Shoveller, Gadwall, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Black Tern, Forsters Tern, and Brewer's Blackbird.
Western Grebe - Whitewater Lake, Manitoba
Eared Grebe - Whitewater Lake, Manitoba
We left Whitewater Lake with the advice that we should visit Oak Hammock Marsh. Along the highway we sighted a single Snow Goose, we wondered about its provenance. We arrived at Oak Hammock in early morning of our last day in Manitoba. We found it was the best area for American White Pelican and got our best photos there. We also got Black Tern, Forster's Tern, Wilson's Phalarope, Lesser Yellowlegs, Marsh Wren, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Sora and Virgina Rail.
American White Pelican - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Marsh Wren - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Sora - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Virginia Rail - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Black Tern - Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba
Other Highlights of our trip were Buffalo, Jack Rabbit, Great Crested Flycatcher, Bufflehead, Canvasback, Redhead, Red-necked Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-throated Vireo, Purple Martin, Chimney Swift, Rough-winged Swallow, Western Meadowlark, Upland Sandpiper, and Eastern Bluebird. Our list exceeded 100 species for Manitoba. We left Oak Hammock Marsh for Cape Breton.