OFO's annual birding trip in Cochrane took place on Saturday, September 16.
The weather was fantastic, and much appreciated by the 17 participants.
Over the course of the day, over 40 species were recorded.
We began with a visit to the site where there had been a forest fire in
early June of this year. Before we even reached the burnt area, we were
greeted by a family of Boreal Chickadees. Of course, our target species was
Black-backed Woodpecker, and we were not disappointed. Observers finally
agreed on 6 as the official number of BBWO seen, although there were
probably more. In any case, everyone had gorgeous views of this northern
specialty. Other woodpeckers were also present, including Downy, Hairy,
Pileated, and Northern Flicker.
We next visited an older burn site (from a few years ago), so that
participants could compare the two landscapes. A few people observed a
single Black-backed Woodpecker, a Canada Jay, and a Ruffed Grouse, but the
forest was very quiet otherwise. What we lacked in birds, we more than made
up for in delicious blueberries, as that is one of the earlier regenerative
plants in an area that has been cleared by a fire.
After exploring the burn sites, we made a tour of some of the farmland
surrounding Cochrane, in search of Sandhill Cranes. One field had about 300
staging cranes, with more arriving every few minutes. Also seen: a circling
American Golden-plover and a Merlin that was terrorizing a flock of
American Pipits (as well as a bunch of Rock Pigeons).
Our day wrapped up at the Glackmeyer sewage lagoons, where there were good
numbers of Wood Ducks, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and Mallards, as
well as one Northern Shoveler.
-Angie & Ken Williams