Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Midnight in the Slough of Watson

One of the cool things about birding in the North is the fact you can bird late into the evenings. Usually 8-9 is when I would call it quits but after leaving Beatton Park i realized I would still have a good 2-3 hours of light. It felt like six pm in Vancouver but really it was 9pm in Ft St John.

It figured I should put in some time at Watson Slough. The Slough located only 30 km West of Fort Nelson towards Hudson's Hope is known as one of the best spots for both Yellow Rail and Nelson's Sparrow. The slough itself is right along a highway pullout, there is a short trail along a part of the slough as well as a small trail into the wet sedge grass.

The sedge wasn't giving anything up to me though, as I spent a good 2 hours sludging around not hearing any sparrows, or Rails for that matter, instead I was subject to the wrath of the Red-winged Blackbirds who didn't take kindly to me being near their marsh, I was mercilessly dive bombed while the mosquito;s feasted on any bare skin made available.

I soon gave up but not before running into a Cow and Calf Moose, sadly the light was too poor for good photo's but I did take one for memories sake.

Cow and Calf Moose-Watson Slough

Luckily they were far enough away I had an exit in case the mother decided to trample me. As I went back to the car Common Nighthawks started calling and gave me a show. I would camp nearby, coming back in the morning in hopes the Sparrow would be calling, but again I met with only Swamp Sparrow's and Blackbirds.

I also have to say a few words about Site C Dam. Everyone has probably heard about it, but I doubt people really understand whats actually going to happen. Though most people have never driven the valley that will be flooded, I urge you to do some research. I myself never realized the scope of this project, but standing out in one of the only places Yellow Rail and Nelson's sparrow breed, not to mention driving through the lush valley, I cannot believe anyone in their right mind would ever think of burying it under water. It opened my eyes, and if you read this I urge that you do a little research and if you are as aghast at me, and the residents of this valley are. please write your MLA, as I have done since returning.


Cedar Waxwing 12am Watson Slough

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