Tuesday 19 May 2015

Chaplin Lake Saskatchewan Country Part 4

May 16 2015 Chaplin Lake Saskatchewan Overcast 12C

Saskatchewan's Chaplin Lake is on the TransCanadaHighway between Moose Jaw and Swift Current. On May 29 1997 Chaplin Lake along with nearby Old Wives, Frederick and Reed Lakes gained world-wide recognition as Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network sites.
During the month of May 50,000 Sanderling, 30,000 Baird's Sandpiper. As many as 100.000 shorebirds can be present during migration time.
The lake holds numerous species of waterfowl including the rare and endangered Piping Plover. The  grassland species including Sprague's Pipit and Chestnut-collared Longspur. Forster's Tern and Black-crowned Night Heron can be seen from the roadside.
The last time I was at the lake during the Victoria long weekend a few years back I had to take shelter for the afternoon site when a surprise and severe snow storm blanked the countryside.
This time it was heavily overcast as I made my way around the lake. The #58 road crosses the lake and allows close views of many species including Marbled Godwit, Willet and American Avocet. There is always the chance to spot a Piping Plover.
Piping Plover
The Canadian population of Piping Plover is thought to be around 400 pairs. Predation and climate change are the main concerns to the survival of the species.

A Male Gadwal wards off an American Advocet.

Chaplin Lake is a saline lake from which salt is extracted on an industrial scale. The above picture may look like snow but the white shoreline and water teems with brine shrimp which the birds, including ducks relish.

For more about
Marbled Godwit
Common Tern
American Avocet

As I travel across Saskatchewan I am beginning to see more of the new species for my 2015 Year list. Baltimore Orioles, Clay-coloured Sparrows, Brown Thrashers, and nesting Western Kingbirds . Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Chipping Sparrows, Wilson's Snipe, Swainson's Hawk and American Pelican
Had I been here two weeks earlier I may have seen Whooping Cranes as they flew past my brother-in laws farm. He tells me the Fall is the best time to see them in the Last Mountain Lake area.He also tells me that spring arrived two weeks earlier and that something is changing with the prairie ecosystem that is worrying to him.

Tomorrow I continue my exploration of Saskatchewan and enter Manitoba to bird the Winnipeg area, something I am looking forward to as there have been large numbers of warblers arriving after a severe snowstorm.

'It's never too late to start birding'
John Gordon
Langley /Cloverdale
BC Canada

1 comment:

  1. I love your photo of the beautiful piping plover. I miss SK and the beautiful birds there.