Google+ Photo Essay: Birding in Saskatchewan from Buffalo Pound Provincial Park | Travel & Happiness I by Jenn Smith Nelson

Photo Essay: Birding in Saskatchewan from Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

OH my gosh, what an amazing spring and summer it has been birding from the vantage point in and around our cabin. It seems like each year I see a little more, I learn a lot more and it feels like I am really starting to understand the behaviors and patterns of several species.

This is a fact I am quite proud of, as this is really only my second year of dedicated birding. To me, it is fascinating and thrilling each time I make a discovery on my own.

It is my belief that …

Once you start looking,
you never stop seeing.

Our family cabin is located across the lake from Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, Saskatchewan, in an area called Valley View. This prime locations makes it so easy to skip across the lake and explore the area of Nicolle Flats and the park to take in additional viewing, which generally leads to spotting more of the water loving species. There we can also take in some hiking, mountain bike riding, bison viewing, simply walk the trails or head into the park for ice cream or a dip in the pool.

This is all fabulous but let’s get to the real reason I am gushing: the birds.

We are super fortunate to be in a spot where we see significant numbers of bird varieties during the spring and fall migrations. As well, we have many that bunker down for the summer within a super close radius of the cabin to breed and raise their young.

So I have a few highlights to share.

I was able to watch (many times over) both downy and hairy woodpeckers feeding their young.

The downies are especially trusting of me I find and not nearly as skittish as their hairy counterparts.

Male downy woodpecker feeding baby Buffalo Pound Saskatchewan
And down the hatch it goes. This male downy is feeding it’s juvenile (also male).

We had a pair of breeding wrens on the deck.

I have never seen a species work so hard and so diligently to feed their young. These wrens popped in and out every two to three minutes with a variety of insects for their babies. All day long. Anytime the parents were remotely nearby the young wrens would chirp super loud. I awoke to it each morning and went to bed to it each night. They must have voracious appetites.

House wren with spider, Buffalo Pound, Saskatchewan

The house wrens seemed to favour spiders but delivered a variety of insects.

House wren with spider, Buffalo Pound, Saskatchewan

The hardest working little pair of birds I ever did see. This house wren is seen here delivering food to it’s young.

I found out where the bobolinks and horned larks have been nesting.

Bobolinks can be hard to come by and are a threatened species in Canada. One which have in fact, been in severe decline since the 60’s. Last year was the first time I had ever spotted one. I saw a pair not far from the cabin. This year, however I have seen up to three at a time and have had about eight spotting’s in total – which gives me hope that in this area at least, they are thriving.

Bobolink on barbed wire, Saskatchewan

The yellow tuft behind the bobolink’s head makes for easy identification.

Another species that used to be very common and easy to spot, the horned lark, breeds in the Saskatchewan Grasslands. I have also seen more of these this year than ever before.

Horned lark on barbed wire, Saskatchewan

This meadow lark let me shoot a ton of images for which I was grateful. I don’t come across them often.

I really loved the daily drives to take pictures of some of my favorite birds.

Each night before the sun went down, we drove the grids to take in the opportunity to spot other wildlife and bird species that exist in the open prairies. This came to be my second favorite part of the day – with the morning viewing from my deck clinching top spot. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the road.

Meadow Lark singing, Saskatchewan

There is nothing as sweet as a meadow lark’s song.

Northern Shoveler in grass with yellow flowers, Saskatchewan

I am not sure why I love this bird so much but I just do. The northern shoveler is pretty abundant in the area and was super easy to spot this year as the rain kept the ditches full of water.

Wilson's Snipe on fence post, Saskatchewan

I am getting better at ID’ing the shorebirds which admittedly have been quite tricky (same goes with the sparrows!). This Wilson’s Snipe was at home though up on the post.

Tree full of yellow headed blackbirds, Saskatchewan

A tree full of yellow headed blackbirds.

White breasted nuthatch in tree, Buffalo Pound, Saskatchewan

The ever so elegant, white breasted nuthatch.

I could go on and on … and literally have thousands of images from the summer with around 40 different bird species. These are just a few of my faves. I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed shooting them. It really is a treat to be able to hang with bird folk for most of the summer.

Read more about my birding adventures: Bluebird pilgrimage, Backyard visitors, Birding as a new birder.

Have you seen any new birds this summer?

2 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Birding in Saskatchewan from Buffalo Pound Provincial Park
  1. Samantha Gillies on said:

    Beautiful pictures Jenn…We mostly have water birds near our farm. Every year we get Black Capped Night Herons; they don’t nest here, but the bachelors seem to hang out for the summer and leave early fall. The other night pelicans came in – about 6 of them – pelicans usually show up the beginning of August (they must be done nesting and raising young) and they hang out until the snow geese show up (we think that the pelicans can’t stand the noise the snows make, so they leave). I’ve also seen some Great Blue Herons. The Canada geese were teaching their babies how to fly the other day – I cannot tell you how amusing it is…but also, how patient and organized the adult geese are! To see juvies hit the water all wings and legs and splashing makes me laugh out loud every time! We also have a few ducks that I can’t find in our bird book – which drives me nuts…there are also numerous shore birds again that I can’t find in my bird book. Thanks for sharing, love reading about your adventures!

  2. Jenn Smith Nelson on said:

    Thanks Sam! You have one bird there that I have been dying to see: Black Capped Night Herons. I will just need to come for a visit.

    I have never witnessed the geese doing the learn to fly thing, that does sound humorous!

    Why don’t you send me a pic of the ducks – maybe I can help ID them.

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