Red Deer River Naturalists

The Red Deer river Naturalists are a group dedicated to learning about and preserving natural history. They have regular programs with speakers and many field trips.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More Chukar Sightings in Red Deer

          Last year I posted on a chukar sighting I made in Red Deer and asked people to let me know if they saw any chukars. The chukars I saw were on the east side of the Bower subdivision along a strip of green and along Piper Creek. Later I had reports from 30th Ave north of Save On foods. Then I had a report from Oriole park which is in the north west section of Red Deer. Then I had a report of a sighting from the Pines which is north of the Parkland Mall.

      About this time I was riding my bike along the green strip west of the Bower subdivision and there in the wide open was a chukar. The bird just sat about 15 meters from me and did not move. This was about June 1.  I was surprised to find a chukar in the same spot as last year as I assumed that with reports of sightings in other areas that the birds had moved. Or have the birds come back? Whatever is going on it would appear that there are a number of chukars in Red Deer and that they have survived a couple of winters. Nests have been found and young have been observed but we don't know if the young have survived.

      So once again if you see chukars in Red Deer, let me know or phone the Kerry Wood Nature Center 403-347-2010. If people observe chukars in any area let me know. It would be interesting to see what these birds are doing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fish Spawning in Piper Creek

         For 41 years I have lived less than a kilometer from Piper Creek. Piper Creek flows from drainage south east of Red Deer. Much of this land is agricultural and has cattle pastured along the unarable land beside the creek. Where I live the creek flows through a heavily wooded coulee. The water in Piper Creek is not high quality as agricultural run off and city runoff enters the creek at various places.

       Nevertheless, I have spent some time watching for evidence of fish in the creek. I know that historically fish spawned in this creek. There were no beaver dams to block swimming upstream until recent times. About 25 years ago a kid told me that he caught a jack fish in the creek in the Bower Woods area opposite Sunnybrook.

       This year I hit pay dirt. I spent a few minutes watching for fish on May 16. . I saw a sucker swim by. I was disappointed that I only saw one fish as they usually are in  fairly large groups. A few minutes later I saw four fish that I could not identify. They were not suckers or jack fish. These four fish were from 7- 11in long and were narrow in width. They swam by very quickly so I only had a brief glimpse of them. Someone else had reported seeing fish in this same area and reported their sighting to the Kerry Wood Nature Center.

      The location in the creek where I saw the fish is important as these fish have come up the river escarpment so they have not only swum upstream but have gained altitude.

     I was happy to see the fish as I was rewarded for looking for so many years. It is important to report these sightings as it confirms the creek to be a body of water for fish and thus fall under specific regulations and these can be used when  development threatens the creek as a proposed road crossing.

      I would be interested in hearing from others who have seen fish in Piper Creek.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Looking for a Home

      My neighbor, Duane,  was surprised a few days ago to find a couple of mallards in his yard. They were in the small back yard as well as the open front yard. We live in an urban area which has some urban parkland, but we are almost one km away from a creek and natural area.

      It is becoming more common to find wildlife in urban areas. These areas provide suitable habitat for some species but I must admit that for ducks it's a bit out of the range. We have a fairly good population of jackrabbits as there's suitable food and cover. We have deer that wonder through on a regular basis. Coyotes and foxes are probably more common than we think as they prowl around at night. I have had moose in my yard several times. Dogs these days are very closely controlled so they do not chase deer. And of course birds do fairly well in the numerous trees planted in yards and along streets and in closes.

       Now for several years I have seen mallards near Duane's house. They have certainly been in his neighbor's yards and out in the close. Last year the mallards were in the close for such a long time that I suspicioned that they were nesting. I searched but did not find a nest. So this year Duane will have to watch his yard and let us know if he has any ducklings. I think that as time goes by we will see more wildlife inhabiting our neighborhoods.