The field glasses and the bird guides were out Tuesday, May 8. Approximately thirty-five members of The Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association (YFBTA: www.yfbta.com) accepted an invitation extended by Paula and Morley Maier to attend a pot-luck barbeque at their farm. Members were invited to provide an opportunity for some spring-migration bird watching, to become better acquainted with a few of the new members and to assist with a welcoming of YFBTA’s newly-hired employee, Tanner Garbutt.
The number thirty-five is provided as an approximation because counting was difficult. It was difficult because three vehicles of enthusiast headed out at 4:30 p.m. (They were richly rewarded with a sighting of two bald eagles and a Sharp-tailed Grouse). Meanwhile, “back at the ranch” other folks were sitting in the sunshine in lawn chairs exchanging nature-related stories; others were lined up at a spotting scope enjoying Avocets, a Willet, Wilson’s Phalaropes and Lesser Sandpipers; others were spying on a pair of Killdeer that have returned to nest in a previously-successful spot in the Maiers’ yard.
A few conducted their socializing in Maiers’ decorated barn. Part of the décor was provided by artistic impressions of birds produced by Saltcoats students who belong to an after-school art group led by Saltcoats teacher, Leah Murphy. These copies of original student art-work had been saved after having been used as placemats for the banquet at The Symposium in Saltcoats April 28.
In addition to birds mentioned above, here is a listing of birds observed:
Ducks (Shovellers; Mallards; Blue-winged Teal; Lesser Scaup; Red-headed Duck; Ruddy Ducks)
Blackbirds (Red-winged Blackbirds; Yellow-headed Blackbirds)
Barn Swallow (shockingly, now a threatened species)
Gulls (species not determined)
Following a meal which, due to the largess of those of those attending, more resembled a banquet than a barbeque, co-chair person, Lauretta Ritchie – McInnes, proudly introduced the association’s summer employee, Tanner Garbutt of Bethune. Tanner’s official title is Summer Program Facilitator. He will be working in schools in our region during May and June. During July and August Tanner is charged with facilitating programs on behalf of YFBTA. Tanner has been asked to focus (not exclusively) upon connecting youth with nature. We, members of YFBTA, believe that if Mom Nature is given a chance she will more often than not, for a life-time, capture the heart and mind of a young person.
On behalf of those who attended, thank you Morley and Paula for an invitation to your home. Thank you to the YFBTA directors who assisted in various ways.
Article by Rob Wilson. Photo credit: Morley Maier