Today was the last in a series of six early morning bird walks that the Red Deer River Naturalists (RDRN) run each spring. Last week we had blizzard and we cancelled. Today started out as a disappointment because my camera batteries were dead and I was the only one who attended. Other than that it was superb birding.
This morning was one of those stunning early mornings which had bright sunlight, warm and calm.
River bend is a part of the river that contains a golf course. Much natural habitat is left along the river bank on both sides. There is a great variety from old growth aspen and spruce to lots of brush and riparian growth. There's even the odd patch of grass.
When I got to the parking lot at the river bank there were hundreds of swallows catching insects over the river. There is a set of rapids by the parking lot so it's hard to hear much as far as bird calls go, but I could hear killdeer and finally spotted them across the river.
A real treat was to see a couple of 737's cruising down the river in formation. Well, they weren't 737's but pelicans. Since I was on a high bank the pelicans were flying at eye level. I had spotted them early as their brilliant white flashed against the greenery. I had a good view watching the birds approach and fly down the river. Another treat was to see a chipmunk scurrying around. They seem to have been rather scarce recently
Birds identified were tree swallows, pelicans, killdeer, mallards, crow, white throated sparrow, cedar waxwing, house wren, robin, clay colored sparrow, least flycatcher and yellow warbler. My other disappointment was that I heard or spotted at least another dozen birds that I was not able to identify. Partners help to identify sounds and spot hard to find birds. Some birds today were within 3meters but I couldn't see them because of the dense foliage.
We started the early morniong bird walks to try and attract birders with little experience. This didn't work. The avid birders were the only ones who attended. So I doubt we'll run this program again. We would appreciate some suggestionsfor activities which would attract inexperienced birders. So think about it. If you have an idea let us know. We'd like to encourage people some interest in birds to join us and improve their skills.