After a great evening with Cathy and Roger Watson (thanks guys!), Paul and I began our two week adventure in Alberta and Saskatchewan by heading east from Calgary towards the Cypress Hills. We pulled into the Tims at around 2:40 am (seriously) and were soon heading out of the city rolling towards the hills. Shortly after 3 am the first light started to appear in the sky, though the sun wouldnt rise for over two more hours.
We spent most of the day in the Cypress Hills in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, ending up south of Maple Creek where will spend two nights. There were tons of highlights today but the biggest flurry was early on in the day when we had an adult Goshawk stoop low across the road in pursuit of a songbird (sorry, it didnt garner much attention), soon followed by a provincially rare Red-headed Woodpecker looking very lost on a fence line in the middle of the prairies! I took a record photo of the latter just for documentation. The actual location of the bird was at the corner of Hwy 41 and the Cypress park turnoff a few km south of Elkwater.
Soon after this, a pair of uppies (Upland Sandpipers) landed at the roadside and provided stunning views. This provided my best photo opp of the day.
In early afternoon we had lunch at Cypress Lake resort in Sask. The feeders there are great fun with Red Crossbills regular attendees (pics to follow in the next post). A showy pair of Western Tanagers provided some nice colour while we enjoyed a well deserved lunch break. Here is the male.