Bird Sightings from the BLESS Platform
(estimated early morning numbers seen in about 30 minutes using binoculars)
Observers are encouraged to send/email BLESS their sightings. Use address below:
email@bless.ab.ca
Zone 1 - Inner circle (radius 170m): Birds identifiable with naked eye. Abundant=100+
Zone 2 - Second circle (radius 460m): Identifiable with binoculars. Numerous=10-100
Zone 3 - Third zone (radius 1.65km): Identifiable with scope. Present=<10>2
RP - Riel Pond M - marsh south of Riel Pond Rarer=1-2
OCTOBER 24th
Abundant Numerous Present Rarer Sightings
Canada goose lesser scaup ring billed gull (sp?) northern harrier
  common redpoll ruddy duck (sp?) magpie
      sparrows (not identified)
Observations above made Sunday (9:30 am cold, overcast, very slight breeze)
Significant or Notable things to consider
1. Hundreds of Canada geese seen flying in v-formation to west of platform. Hundreds on lake as well west
towards the narrows between the east and west ends of the lake.
2. Redpolls seen in flock of about 20 feeding on seeds from thistles along Sturgeon shore beside platform.
3. Ducks forming a 'raft' of about 50+ birds in centre of Riel Pond difficult to make out the species.
4. Harrier seen flying near the platform. Bird feathers (perhaps a coot) on the platform probably a kill.
5. Gulls seen with ducks and sitting in a few other locations (near kayak club buildings) on Riel Pond.
6. 99.9 percent of the lake covered in ice as with Riel Pond. 100 percent of river covered.
SEPTEMBER 21st
Abundant Numerous Present Rarer Sightings
American coot ring-billed gull white pelican (3) pied-billed grebe (1)
buffleheads common goldeneye hooded merganser (RP) western grebe (3)
  mallard green-winged teal (M) raven
  blue-winged teal   greater yellowlegs
       
Observations above made Tuesday (8:30 am mild, partly cloudy, calm)
Significant or Notable things to consider
1. Thousands of birds are present on Big Lake but the fall plumage of the ducks makes it difficult for identification at a distance.
2. Only three white pelicans could be spotted far across the lake. The light is perfect in the early morning to view birds at a distance.
3. A pair of beaver have returned to the north-west corner of Riel Pond and are busy collecting food (willow, aspen, sedges) for the
winter food cache.
SEPTEMBER 15th
Abundant Numerous Present Rarer Sightings
American coot white pelican (2,3) bufflehead red-necked grebe
Franklin's gull common goldeneye    
ring-billed gull mallard    
  blue-winged teal    
       
Observations above made Wednesday (2:30 pm mild, cloudy, calm)
Significant or Notable things to consider
1. Hundreds of birds on Riel Pond are present but the fall plumage of the ducks makes it difficult for identification.
2. Viewing at 2:30 in the afternoon meant that few birds were seen close to the viewing platform even though
thousands of birds could be spotted with binoculars and a scope in Zone #3.
3. Only 11 pelicans were spotted.
SEPTEMBER 1st
Abundant Numerous Present Rarer Sightings
American coot blue-winged teal eared grebe northern harrier
Franklin's gull common goldeneye gadwall common yellowthroat
white pelican (2,3) ring-billed gull song sparrow red-winged blackbird
  bufflehead clay-colored sparrow sora rail (sound)
  mallard lesser yellowlegs hooded merganser
Many hundreds of birds wigeon greater yellowlegs  
in zone 3 remain   red-necked grebe  
unidentified.   pied-billed grebe  
Observations above made Wednesday (9:30 - 10:00 coolish, very cloudy, calm)
Significant or Notable things to consider
1. Approximately 125 white pelicans were spotted throughout the east end of the lake feeding heavily on plant material.
2. An eared grebe continues to stay close to the platform with a couple of chicks.
3. Huge numbers of Franklin's gulls spending time in Riel Pond and on the adjacent soccer fields.
A Feature Bird to look for from the viewing platform currently is the White Pelican.
Previous AUGUST 8th
Abundant Numerous Present Rarer Sightings
American coot blue-winged teal eared grebe northern harrier
  goldeneye common tern kestrel
Hundreds of birds wigeon bufflehead American goldfinch
in zone 3 remain   savanna sparrow  
unidentified.      
       
Observations above made Sunday (11:00 - noon coolish, partly cloudy, windy)
Significant or Notable things to consider
1. A number of species have young at this time: Blue-winged teal, widgeon, bufflehead, goldeneye, coots.
2. An albino goldeneye is still on Riel Pond feeding with its siblings (now 2/3 adult size).
3. The near absence of redwing blackbirds is in stark contrast to a month ago.
A Feature Bird to look for from the viewing platform currently is the Eared Grebe
 
 
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