|Butterfly at Beatton|
As I pulled into Beatton Provincial Park my first impression was: "man that's a lot of RV's". My plans of camping here were dashed as I found the campground to be swarming with what seemed the entire motor home community of Alberta. Ahh well as busy as the campground one it was as devoid of humans in the actual park. Seems everyone wanted to sit in a gravel campground instead of braving the mosquito's in the forest.
I found myself alone shortly past the campground, the forest around me buzzing with birds and bugs. I found the fabled old growth Spruce forest, which is one of the last big tracts of White Spruce in the Peace. Spruce is the key to finding two of the specialty warblers, Cape May and Bay -breasted, although i did my best to catch any high pitched calls the best I could do was Black-throated Green.
|The forest around Beatton Park|
Continuing into the mixed forest the birds were fast and furious, Dusky and Least Flycatchers, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, the Ovenbird, Redstart's and Yellow Warblers, and perhaps my favourite songster of them all the White-throated Sparrow, kept my ears with plenty to do. I did a little bushwhacking after a Vireo that seemed a little different, but turned out to be a Red-eyed. In the process I found this caterpillar totally camouflaged on the birch tree.
After taking some pictures I heard the cry of a Red-tailed Hawk, from under the trees I started straight up and saw a Red-tail soaring high above, but then I saw another hawk. This hawk was a bit smaller, stockier shaped, when I got a good lock on it, i studied the field marks and saw the banded tail and the dark tipped wings, lack of a breast band, it was a Broad-winged Hawk, and man it was pissed off at the Red-tailed Hawk.
The Broad-winged seemed to be taking a page from Eastern Kingbird and it was taking it to the Red-tailed Hawk and eventually had chased it off, and both soon slipped out of my view. What amazing luck, especially in hindsight as I would not see another Broad-winged Hawk the entire trip, even though I looked everywhere.