Friday, August 2, 2013

Exploring Lesser Slave Lake Important Bird Area

Kurt Yakimovich, Bird Conservation Program Assistant, Nature Alberta, is back with another guest blog post about an Important Bird Area in Alberta. In this post he visits Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory. 

I was quite excited the morning of my visit to the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory (LSLBO), which is a part of the Lesser Slave Lake IBA. I had heard amazing things about their facilities, programs, and staff. Built by Alberta Parks and staffed by LSLBO this amazing facility is for people of all ages that would like to learn and engage with birdlife and nature. LSLBO’s Executive Director, Patti Campsall met with Erin Campbell (Nature Alberta’s Bird Conservation Program Coordinator) and I. Our bright and early visit began with a tour of the facilities. It was a great walk, exploring the Boreal Centre and all its displays, which included an awesome collection of plush toy birds. When squeezed, the toys made their call making them a great interactive tool for teaching kids and adults. We continued our adventure by heading over to the original banding research station by the lakeshore of Lesser Slave Lake. There Patti talked with us about the research they have been doing and showed us some counts from banding during the recent spring migration. We really enjoyed listening to Patti talk about the area and sharing her knowledge with us. Great Blue Herons, swallows, terns, and blackbirds were just a few of the species we had the pleasure of seeing. Although the area hosts hundreds of species during migration periods, our visit was scheduled in between migrations so unfortunately, the LSLBO banding station wasn’t open.

After leaving LSLBO we continued to explore, deciding to check out some of the local hiking trails we spotted on a map of the area. It was 30˚C, so our hike didn’t last all afternoon as we had originally planned. I definitely got heat stroke that day! We did go up to the lookout on Marten Mountain near the fire tower. It overlooks the surrounding forest and part of the lake; the view was breathtaking and the pictures do not do it justice. Its one of those places where the true beauty of nature is evident and almost overwhelming. This spot is definitely a must-see part of Alberta.

We hope you will take the time to learn more about Nature Alberta’s Bird Conservation Program and Alberta’s IBA Program. 

Read Kurt's first blog post on the Beaverhill Bird Observatory