Saskatchewan's Whooping Cranes!

I went to Saskatchewan for four days and just got back!I got to do some birding and got to see some Whooping Cranes! I won't publicly disclose the exact location of these cranes as they are too critically endangered.I found two adults and one Juvenile. The juvenile is the one with the cinnamon head to the left. It is extremely rare to find them this late in the year first of all and second in Canada you usually don't get close to them like you do in Texas usually you get distant scope views. This family group let me approach within 200m. I did not push it further than that in order not to flush them as they have a long journey ahead. I was in awe when they started to vocalize which is extremely rare to hear! You can hear that bugle across SK! They are usually silent up here! I have never been this close to Whooping Cranes in my life!  I was very lucky as they should be leaving by next week at the latest! This was a day I will never ever forget! Being so close to the tallest birds in North America is pretty magical.

3 close Whooping Cranes in SK! - Photo: Melissa Hafting
In Meacham I came across two late snipe and for the first time ever I got a decent shot of one!!! I have never been able to achieve this in all my years on the planet!

Wilson's Snipe in Meacham - Photo: melissa Hafting
Wanted to show BC birders the large prairie flocks of Snow Geese and the large quantities of dark morph Snow Geese they get! Literally hundreds of blues in the flocks!
I looked for a Ross's Goose in vain though but you would have to search all day! They also are very skittish not like our Snow Geese that let you walk right through them 



Lots of Blue Geese! - Photo: Melissa Hafting
 

Other birds seen during my trip were:

White winged crossbills, Blue Jay, American Tree Sparrows, Bald Eagles, Large flock of Lapland Longspurs, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Common Ravens, Black-billed Magpies, Horned Grebes, Ruddy Duck, Redheads, Gadwalls, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Canada Geese, gray partridge, Black capped chickadees , slate-coloured juncos, white-throated sparrows, white-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches, hairy and downy woodpeckers, yellow-shafted flickers , eastern song sparrows,ring billed gulls, huge flocks in the hundreds of migratings sandhill cranes, late lesser yellowlegs, and a rare smith's longspur.

At night I watched the Northern Lights from my friend's farm I quickly realized I didn't have the skill to give them their due so I just sat back and enjoyed them.

On the last day before my flight I came back to view the cranes...
 

2 adults and 1 juvenile Whooping Cranes in SK - Photo: Melissa Hafting
They were still in the same general area but now in flight displaying their beautiful black primaries. Note even the juvenile has the primaries of the adult.

Definitely an unforgettable trip to the beautiful Canadian Prairies.

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