Buffalo Pound Provincial Park Field Trip – June 16, 2018

Leaders  – Dale and Paule Hjertaas

Thirteen members enjoyed a fine day at Buffalo Pound.  We arrived at the park entry about 9:00 to discover two Great Horned Owl chicks in a spruce tree; a great start to the day. Shortly after we spotted a pair of Loggerhead Shrikes. It is always exciting to find a pair of this threatened species.


Off to a great start, we then headed off on the main part of this field trip, a hike up the trail in the White Track coulee. This is a beautiful walk with grassland on one side and forest on the other with a network of beaver ponds in between. One of the highlights here was hearing and seeing two singing Yellow-breasted Chats. There were quite a few wildflowers as well as a lot of birds.

We then went to the Nicolle Flats picnic shelter for lunch.  While we ate, a Barn Swallow returned to its nest, a House Wren sang beside a nest box, a Turkey Vulture soared over the hillsides and a Franklin’s Ground Squirrel put in an appearance along the trail.  



The boardwalk provided a close look at Marsh Wrens and Yellow-headed Blackbirds, which were carrying food into a clump of cattails about 15 feet from the boardwalk. Eared Grebes, American coots, a number of ducks, White Pelicans and Common Yellowthroat were among the other birds seen.

Our final stop was at a large wetland just north of the park to see Red-necked Grebes, American Avocet, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Wilson’s Phalarope and various ducks.  

The only disappointment n the day was a lack of butterflies.  Only 1 species was identified, a Ringlet. I think the cool overcast day, while very pleasant for walking, kept butterflies from flying. Wildflowers in bloom included Carrionflower, Field Chickweed, Canada Anemone, Silverweed, Prickly Rose, Woods Rose, Wild Red Raspberry, Drummond’s Milk Vetch, Missouri Milk Vetch, Cream-Coloured Vetchling, Wild Blue Flax, Leafy Spurge, Scarlet Mallow, Western Canada Violet, Scarlet Gaura, Red-osier Dogwood, Northern Bedstraw, and Common Yarrow.

We observed 65 species of birds during the day, the following list shows species and the total number of birds seen.

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) 10 
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall (Mareca strepera)
American Wigeon (Mareca americana)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)
Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 19 
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 11 
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Sora (Porzana carolina)
American Coot (Fulica americana)
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Willet (Tringa semipalmata)
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) 60 
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) 3
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 12 
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) 1
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) 10 
Cedar Waxwing 8
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) 22 
Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)
Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) 13 
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 19 
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)