We started with a drive from Camrose to the Lowden Springs prairie preserve where we saw two Grasshopper sparrows, dozens of Savannah Sparrows and a good five or more Clay-colored Sparrows, along with some good water birds. The hoped-for Baird's Sparrow and Sprague's pipit were not to be found. Either it is too late in the summer for them or these target species were observing the Canada Day bank holiday.
We took lunch at the campgrounds in Elnora - possibly the nicest campground restrooms ever - and did a bit of birding in town, then headed out to Dry Island Buffalo Jump provincial park for a last look at grassland habitat on this ten day trip. The canyon of the Red Deer River offers beautiful views of terraced badlands in rich green, grey and brown. Our wildflower lovers were in awe at the profusion of wildflowers at the top of the buffalo jump overlook. For me, though the highlight of this stop was a chance to observe a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker pair delivering food to (at least) two nestlings. The female tended to work her insect goodies into a bollus for the chicks and the male made multiple trips without apparently using an anvil to process the insects. We took in a lot of new information thanks to narration of every detail by woodpecker expert Steve Shunk.
All other birds observed today were spotted on roads between Camrose and our two main destinations.
Species identified by other observers on the trip but missed by us: Marbled Godwit, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Common Raven, Violet-green Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, House Wren, Mountain Bluebird, Spotted Towhee, Lark Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole, and Pine Siskin[note by Mary]