Friday, 19 July 2013

Whitewater Lake - July 2013

Whitewater Lake July 2013

Have gotten in so little birding this year due to weather and time constraints.
We were a little doubtful of this trip as thunderstorms were predicted for the all across Southern Manitoba. We checked the weather radar and it seemed that the storms would clear by mid morning at the latest. We left at 4:30 AM, when it was just started to spit rain, within 20 minutes we were into the thunderstorm. Thunderstorm lasted for almost 3 hours and we got out of it just before getting to Whitewater Lake. The dirt roads were pretty good except for numerous spots where there were big mud patches and water. We had a few tense moments when we thought we were either going to slide into the marsh or get stuck in the mud.
The trip was well worth it saw lots of birds and added six new birds to our list.
We think we saw two Helmeted Guinea Fowl near Killarney and we definitely saw one near Graysville. The one near Graysville allowed us to approach within 10 feet and we took numerous photos. We are pretty certain that the Guinea Fowl were imported as domestic stock and some have escaped.
As we were going through one large patch of mud and water juvenile Coots started running across the road right in front of us, we easily missed the first three but then a fourth dashed out of the foliage and ran in front of us, we must have missed it by inches as there was no way we could slow down without getting stuck in the mud.
We came across 3 tiny wader chicks, have no idea what they were but they wouldn't get out of our way, we managed to miss all three and got one photo of two of them as they ran away.
I'm pretty certain we ran over a tree swallow that was sitting on the road, it just didn't move and we couldn't maneuver because of the slippery road. I'm certain it was either injured or sick.
Lake is a lot higher this year, very few species in the area set up as a viewing mound. We went to the west side of the lake where there are many marshes and saw a lot of different birds. Some in huge numbers.
As we drove down one gravel road I somehow missed seeing a Swainson's Hawk sitting on a fence post 20 feet off the road until we were right up to it.  I watched it as we drove by and could see its head swivel to watch us pass.

Swainson's Hawk

American Avocet

Black Crowned Night Heron

Brown Headed Cowbird Fledgling

Coot Juvenile

Received a comment that these are 1 day old Kildeer.

Helmeted Guinea Fowl

Meadow Lark

Solitary Sandpiper

Swainson' Hawk being bullied by what I think could be a Western Kingbird

Swainson' Hawk

Yellow Headed Blackbird