Posts Tagged ‘Arrowleaf Balsamroot’

Monday evening, May 28

It’s about a 5-hour drive from Cypress Hills to Waterton Lakes, but I wanted to stop at Elkwater Lake in the West block of the provincial park, so I spent most of the day yesterday leisurely traveling.  My GPS seems to have a preference for gravel roads.  I was puzzled by some of her choices, but obeyed and had no complaints when she took me by a lovely little shallow lake by the side of the road soon after leaving the resort.  The nice thing about dirt and gravel roads is that you can stop, so I pulled over when I saw the White Pelicans.  Even though I had just seen them a few weeks ago in North Carolina, I couldn’t just drive by.  The pelicans were joined by Western Grebes, several species of ducks, and, of course, Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds.  These little lakes are magical surprises and one of the wonderful pleasures of driving the rural roads.

Waterton Lakes National Park. The view from the entrance.

I arrived at Waterton Lakes National Park to learn that there were extensive fires here last year and, as a result, many of the roads and trails are still closed.  This makes it unlikely that I would be able to find my target birds, Spruce and Dusky Grouse.  So, without the pressure of finding life birds, I just enjoyed the birding and the spectacular scenery.

A Common Loon was on her nest at the entrance ponds.

Common Loon on nest

Marsh Wrens at the same location allowed me to take their photos, something that has never happened before today.

Marsh Wren

I saw more pretty wildflowers on a walk this morning.  The flowers are getting more common as I go west, or as each day is closer to summer.  I learned that the wildflower festival here is the middle of June, so it’s still a few weeks from peak bloom time.

Update: I think this is Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Update: I think this is Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Tree Swallows are everywhere out here.  And, I never get tired of them.  I saw this pretty female on a beautiful walk this morning.

Tree Swallow

But, my best sighting today was this guy, immediately identified by the owner of the motel where I am staying as “the 3-year old male.”  He was just casually walking around the lake in town.  I tried to keep a safe and respectful distance rather than try for the best photo.  This is a black bear, but they have grizzly bears here, too.

The three-year-old black bear casually walks around Waterton Lake.

The past few days have been rather leisurely, but I am learning to pace myself. Every day cannot be an intensive birding day for 23 straight days. My time in Canada has gone too quickly and I have thoroughly enjoyed the birds, the landscape, and meeting some interesting and friendly people. Tomorrow I head back to Montana where more birds and adventures await.

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