On April 8th, the Nature Regina hike had 23 people! (5 new people!) We started at the top of the hill at Echo and our Trip Leader Stephane took us down the cross country ski paths, now dry and good walking trails, but with not much greenery, the only birds we saw in the forest were Black-capped Chickadees and we could hear squirrels. We got to the bottom and open area at the lake, where we were blasted with wind and surprised with the extent of the ice cover.
The temperature was about 8 degrees celcius in the morning and went up to 17, but the wind increased from 45 km/hr in the a.m. to gusts of 80 mid afternoon. This made it cold because the lakes were mostly covered with ice.
One interesting occurrence for the group was the sound of tinkling, like chimes as the wind blew half melted ice crystals into the shore on top of each other. We then went for lunch at a bakery in the Fort Qu’Appelle around 1:00.
Stephane then led us along the road to Lebret, very few birds: Black-capped Chickadees and one Merlin…but little of the Pasqua lake was melted. We then went to the dam site and beach at the East end of Katepwa Lake where there was a little more open water, but the wind had picked up to 80 km/hr. Some people left, while a few of us stayed to find a few waterfowl….Buffleheads, Redheads, Canvas Back, and one Merganser among a few Mallards.
List of 23 species of birds:
(Sloughs and roads along the way had several species)
Red-winged Black Birds
a Bald Eagle
Greater White-fronted Geese
a Great Blue Heron
6 Red-tailed Hawks
120 Sandhill Cranes
evidence of kills: 2 groups of Great Horned Owl feathers, one group of Ruffed Grouse feathers
Butterflies: 3 Mourning cloak, 2 Northwestern Fritillary, 1 Toroiseshell.
Mammals: 3 Red Squirrels, 1 Muskrat
Report by Ingrid Alesich
Photos by Hiro Aoki and Ingrid Alesich (click for larger views)