2022-06-03 Charlie Lake, BC

Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius
Spotted Sandpipers probably were starting a family near the shore of Charlie Lake, north of Saint John British Columbia, because they were keeping a close eye on my activities as I took bird photos.

Just north of Saint John BC is Charlie Lake. It is both a body of water and community. I stayed there on my way to Alaska in 2005, and I have memories of meeting interesting birds during my visit. I drove there Friday to see if my fond memories were justified.

On reaching the boat ramp at the south end of the lake, I didn’t see much in the way of bird-life. A few Red-Winged Blackbirds, a Mallard, and a pair of American Wigeons were loafing or foraging the near shoreline. More interesting, was a Common Loon working the waters just off-shore. I watched the bird, and sometimes its long dives brought him or her to the surface rather far from the shore, while other times much closer to my position.

After spending enough time to gather waterfowl images, I drove ten minutes north to Beatton Provincial Park, where I’d camped 17 years ago. I found my way to the boat-launch, and memories began flooding in. I set out on the trail that followed the shore and enjoyed the company of the singing birds I found. Some of them played nice and were more cooperative than others, and I wasn’t able to get everyone’s photograph.

One of the birds that gave me some great looks was the Spotted Sandpiper. I found a pair in charge of the shoreline at a grassy picnic area, and one of the birds took exception to my presence, and told me so in no uncertain terms. I assume this was the female, for they rule the roost in this species. Like phalaropes, she will take on a sequence of multiple partners. Once she lays her eggs, she searches for a new mate, while the father takes on all the parental duties. The female might have as many as 3 or 4 broods, and after she delivers her last clutch, she may remain with her last mate, or else she leaves the breeding grounds and begins her southern migration.

When I concluded my visit to Beatton Park, I found a quiet place to park at a truck stop in Fort Saint John, and worked on the backlog of images and stories from days past. I’m trying to find a rhythm to my days on the road. If I can limit my photography to about three hours a day, I should have more time to keep up with the image processing and story-telling. It seems to be a sound theory. Only time will tell if I can make it work.

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