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.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Carrie Nugent on Otters

    On Nov. 22 Carrie Nugent gave a talk on otters and a study she is doing on otters that have recently shown up west of Rocky Mountain House. 

     First Carrie gave a history of where otters have been residents. They are found  across North America except for  arctic areas.

    Next we were given a description of otters and their features. Otters eat mostly fish but they eat many other things like birds, insects and other mammals. Otters need open water. They have some novel ways to gain access to open water. They can use old beaver lodges, muskrat breathing holes and natural openings through the ice.

    Otters have gained notice the last few years as sport fishermen are concerned that otters may interfere with the fishery. So the study Carrie is going to carry out will look at the number of otters , where they move and what they eat.

     Then Carrie described in detail how her study was going to take place. She also got a few volunteers who would go out and use antenna to try and connect to the otters radio transmitters.

    Carrie's presentation was both interesting and informative. Some people who have a great interest in otters kept her for a half an hour after the end of the presentation asking more questions. 

    So if you want an interesting speaker for your group, contact Carrie Nugent.

 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Geese are Really Moving.

    Yesterday, Nov. 11 the geese were on the move. About 2:00 P M it was minus 11 and geese were really moving south. One flock was somewhere between 500 to 1000. Our low for the night was minus 26. We have about 10 to 15 centimeters of snow cover. So bodies of water are freezing over quickly and the food is covered with snow. The Red Deer River is wide open. The Dickson Dam is also a favorite place for geese.

    So soon we will only find a few geese on open spots of the Red Deer River.

    Let me know about the geese you see moving through.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Canada Geese Have Decided

    The Canada geese have decided that it is time to fly south. Many flocks of geese were flying over Red Deer today. Most flocks were in the 30 -50 goose size. A couple of flocks were in the hundreds. I saw one flock that was probably 2000. I was a large somewhat disorganized flock.

    All of these birds where 200 m - 500 m high and they were not wasting anytime moving in a southerly direction. A winter storm has moved into this area with heavy snow and the temperatures are going to be much lower. So even the larger bodies of water may freeze over and the snow will be covering their food.

    These birds will probably fly south until they find water that's not frozen and feed that's not covered with snow.

    Soon we will have only a few geese left on open areas of river such as the Dickson dam.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Was That?

     I have a bird feeder that hangs at the edge of an eave on my house. From my window I can not see the ground under the feeder. 
   
   Yesterday as I took a little look at the feeder a  little gray rocket flew out of my yard from somewhere over to some nearby trees. A few seconds later another little rocket flew by. By this time I realized the birds had come from the ground under the feeder. I further realized that the little gray rockets with some flashing white were Juncos. 

    Juncos usually come to back yards and feeders during dirty weather. We've had lots of nasty weather lately. Some Juncos hang around until quite late in the fall. Juncos are always interesting birds top watch around the feeder and the yard.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Birds Are Moving

     On Tues. Oct. 25, I happened to be looking out the window just as a couple of robins went by. Now they were flying north west so they weren't migrating south unless they were taking the long way south. It doesn't surprise me to see robins the end of October. I have seen robins in every month of the year at Red Deer. 

     A few minutes later I saw some Bohemian waxwings fly by. The waxwings were a little more than tree level high while the robins were probably 80 -100 m high.

     At the same time there were seagulls meandering by. I could not identify the seagulls. 

    So there's a mixed bag here. The robins should have been out of here.  It's early for waxwings to show up. Some gulls hang around here until mid to late December.

    It all makes for some interesting sightings from a city window.