On our way to and from Churchill from Seattle, we stayed over in Winnipeg where we visited Oak Hammock
Marsh and Fort Whyte Alive. Both are well worth a visit. Oak Hammock Marsh is an hour drive north of Winnipeg
and is a recovered wetlands. Fort Whyte Alive is a very nice park a few minutes south of Winnipeg.
At Oak Hammock Marsh we were greeted by ground squirrels. The ground squirrels are similar to prairie dogs
and marmots. Each family has a system of rooms and tunnels including a potty room for each squirrel. Daddy
hibernates in mid-July. Mama joins him two weeks later. The children take a few weeks longer as they need
more body fat to survive their first winter.
The Black tern is a small dark, graceful tern of freshwater marshes. It eats insects as well as fish.
Tree swallows move so fast they are impossible to photograph. But then this little guy came and sat on a bench right near me.
We saw lots of flocks of white pelicans flying over us at the Marsh. Then someone told us there was a lock nearby where there
were hundreds of these birds. These white pelicans migrate as far as central and South America in the winter.
At Fort Whyte Alive we were entertained by prairie dogs.Prairie dogs are a form of ground squirrel and have a warning call
which sounds like a dog's bark.
The Burrowwing Owl nests in a hole in the ground. Although it is quite willing to dig its own burrow, it often uses one already
provided by prairie dogs. All owls have immobile eyes in large heads and fluffy plumage that makes their flight nearly soundless.