Fairy Hill, Seven Bridges Road and Wascana Trails – April 15, 2017

There were 15 people on this field trip.

We started out at the Fairy Hill area with Dale Hjertaas leading our convoy. It was about 5 degrees in the early morning and 12 by afternoon, but the wind was very cold and about 35 km/hr.

The highlight there was the sighting of 3 American Kestrels and 3 singing Western Meadowlarks. Many Northern Harriers hovered above the marshlands the whole day.

We followed Highway 99 after about an hour in the Fairy Hill area. This area is located on Hwy 6, 14 km S of Southey or 36 km N of Regina. It includes 493 acres of seasonal wetlands and three acres of permanent wetlands. The nearby Fairy Hill Marsh provides habitat for several shorebirds and migrating ducks and geese. Northern Leopard frog, Sprague’s Pipit, Yellow Rail, Porcupine Sedge and Bigmouth Buffalo fish are some of what have all been spotted here.

The highlight there was the sighting of 14 Hudsonian Godwits among many mixed waterfowl, including one lonely American Avocet.

We stopped for lunch around noon at Craven. Dale had to return to Regina, so Jim Nordquist agreed to take the lead. We decided to cross the valley to Lumsden and take the 7 Bridges Rd, Wascana Trails Rd, and meander back to Regina.

The wind had picked up and it was threatening rain. The highlight of the latter part of the trip was the sighting of 13 Sharp-tailed Grouse. **

In total we saw 37 species of birds:

 (examples of an American Avocet and Hudsonian Godwits from Southern Saskatchewan. click for larger views)

American Crows – 15
Red-winged Blackbirds – 211
Yellow-headed Blackbirds – 5
Ring billed gulls, California, and Herring– 8
Greater Canadian Geese – 8
Killdeer – 3
Common Grackle – 13
European Starling-2
Western Meadowlark – 5
Dark Eyed Juncos – 8
Greater Yellowlegs – 2
Purple Martin – 2
Northern Shoveler – 9
Mallards – 38
American Kestrel – 4
American White Pelicans – 48
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Sandhill Cranes – 12
Northern Pintail – 8
Northern Harrier – 9
American Widgeons – 7
Gadwalls – 6
American Tree Swallows – 4
American Robin – 3
Sharp-tailed Grouse – 13 **
Greater Scaup – 1
Great Blue Heron – 1
Hudsonian Godwit – 14
Mourning Dove – 1
Blue Winged Teal –2
Green Winged Teal-20
Purple Martin-1
Tree Swallow -4
Black Billed Magpie-41
American Avocet –1
Rock pigeon – 7

Report by Ingrid Alesich.

** note: the actual location of the 13 Sharp-tailed Grouse has not been provided: There is a protocol for observing breeding birds such as in a Grouse Lek.  It involves such ethics as: 

Arrive at lek sites at least one hour before sunrise
Don’t drive onto the lek. Park away from the edge of the lek.
Turn off the vehicle lights and engine.
Use binoculars and spotting scopes to observe birds.
Stay in your vehicle.
Do not make loud noises or sudden movements.
Do not leave until the birds do.
Keep pets in your vehicle. Better yet, leave them home.
Do not trespass on private land.
Postpone your visit if roads are muddy.
Be especially cautious with viewing activities during late March and early April when breeding activity usually peaks.