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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Sunday, September 25, 2016


     I lead a birding group for the Red Deer River Naturalists. Now I use the term lead very loosely. I like birds. I have some basic bird knowledge, But I can't identify very many species. I know where the birds are . I can find them. I set up a schedule for taking the group out. However , I can't say right away , "that is a marsh wren." I have to check my bird book.

    Now the group I had were very satisfied with what we did. I was very happy with the group. I could see that their experience paid off and they learned much more about birds. I could also see that there were people who were well qualified to lead the group.

    The group also increased in numbers.

    Then a professional biologist joined us. He's a college teacher. This improved our birding experience many times. More species were seen and with each identification a tremendous amount of information about the bird. So the biologist made birding much more worthwhile.

    Now we only had one biologist for about 8 months when another biologist joined us. These two are both teachers and talk the same language. We all benefited some more.

    So my point today is that we have some great expertise the birding experience is much better.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


     Yesterday I went with 7 other birders to the Nova Nature Trail. I had never been to this area and it was a very pleasant surprise. Nova Chemicals has set up a nature trail on 280 acres just north of the plant. Jones Creek runs through the center of the area so there are some very good wetlands.

     As I said the main feature is the creak. Some of the area is reclaimed land. Other parts are pastured areas. There is brush, riparian treed and grassed areas. This makes for great bird and animal habitat.

      They have put in 7 Km of gravel rails. There are many bridges over wetlands so it affords great views to the area.

    I was quite pleased to see that Nova Chemicals had set aside and improved the area so well.

    We saw 19 species of birds that we could identify and a few that we didn't get a good enough look at in order to identify them. We saw:Canada geese, crow, great blue heron, red tailed hawk, mallard, flicker, yellow rumped warbler, American tree sparrow, vesper sparrow, tree swallow, raven, Savannah sparrow, downy woodpecker, black capped chickadee, red necked grebe, coots, American goldfinch, shovellers.

    I highly recommend that you visit this area.

     I will certainly be out next spring to check on breeding birds.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Crazy Robins

      Every fall we get a few days where robins are abundant and tear around as if they've completely lost it.  It's when I get phone calls about all the robins in the yard.

      Today was one of those days with crazy robins. There were many robins in the area. They chase each other and you'd think they are acrobats by their flying. At this time it's common for robins to hit your windows. It is fall migration. They are feeding heavily to fatten up and have spare energy. We will get several rushes of robins. Robins nest on the Arctic coast so we have robins go through from much further north. I would think our local robins have gone south a few weeks ago.

     In spite of all the emphasis on fall migration, we have quite a few robins who stay with us all winter. I've seen robins in every month of the year. We usually get robins counted in the Christmas bird count.

     Now added to the fun today were the black birds. We usually have a day or two with masses of blackbirds. Trees are full of blackbirds and they fly as a flock. I can spend a whole day watching black birds from my windows.

     So I'll be watching for more robins and blackbirds tomorrow.

     Tell me if you have large flocks of birds going through the area.