A BIRDING BLOG -
hong kong AND
hong kong AND
On 21st July, we drove to Nordegg, 173 kilometres west of Red Deer. En route, we stopped at Rocky Mountain House to pick up a few supplies, including a canister of bear spray –we were entering bear country - which you wear in a holster on your belt.
Nordegg itself is a hamlet with a motel, a golf course, a couple of general stores, a small museum and a small cemetery. About 90 people reside here, but back in the mid-1990s it was home to a population of 3,000. They were there because of the local coal mine which flourished from 1911 onwards, providing coal for the steam trains on the national railway system. However, the mine closed in 1955 as steam trains were replaced by trains powered by diesel and the mine was no longer financially viable. Most people left and Nordegg became something of a ghost town.
We were visiting the area because our youngest son was working at a summer camp a few kilometres out of Nordegg on the shore of Goldeye Lake. We stayed in a cabin there for five nights, hiking to a waterfall, walking around the lake, visiting the old mine.
The small lake itself held a pair of Common Loons that had a single recently-hatched chick, along with Belted Kingfisher and Osprey. Bird density in the surrounding pine plantations seemed low, but around the camp, apart from the ubiquitous American Crows, I did see a pair of Northern Flickers, and a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Dark-eyed Juncos and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
On 22nd we hiked out into a wilderness area to Siffleur Falls. Again, there were few birds but I did see my first Clark’s Nutcracker and the only Spruce Grouse of the trip.
On 25th July the golf course at Nordegg and the adjacent lake turned up families of Ring-necked Ducks and Buffelheads, two Wilson’s Snipes, a Long-billed Dowitcher, an immature Bald Eagle and a family of Californian Gulls (one adult, three juveniles).
There were bears in the area. A sign at the start of the Siffleur Falls trail indicated such, and we were told a Black Bear had been seen near the golf course on the evening of 24th. However, we didn’t come across any during our stay at Goldeye Lake.