In front of them was Loch Salaan. As far as the eye could see, hundreds and hundreds of all kinds of birds peppered the landscape. Hues of brown, tan, black, white, and grey covered the lake. This time of year, many species returned, followed by their young. Golden, who’d done lots of birdwatching with her Grandpa Gordon, readily identified the sandpipers, dowitchers, marbled godwits, killdeer, ruddy turnstones, piping plovers, semipalmated sandpipers, and red knots. She watched as flocks of sanderlings, larger in number than any of the other birds on the lake, flew in such close formation that she wondered how they did not collide.
Button said, “The shallow water and the shore are both salty, so they grow lots of brine shrimp and brine flies and other insects for the hungry flocks.”
Golden recognized still more species of birds, including the willets, phalaropes, and avocets, which nested along the lake’s edge. In the surrounding prairie land adjacent to the shore, she spotted burrowing owls, hawks, and long-billed curlews.
As they walked along, Golden was transfixed by the beautiful sight before her. They spent all day walking around the lake, talking and laughing and just taking in the view.
- Excerpt from Dagger of Urachadh: Attack from the Underworld, p. 104-105.
The trip to Chaplin Lake is such a nice drive. The bird sanctuary is right off the highway west of Moose Jaw. I had never seen so much salt in my life. You can also check out the Chaplin Nature Centre. It was certainly worth the trip. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
Karen E. Mosier
1. Mortlach, Saskatchewan. May 31, 2016. Birding Destinations.
2. BirdWatching. 287. February 21, 2019. Chaplin Lake, Chaplin, Saskatchewan. https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/hotspots/287-chaplin-lake-chaplin-saskatchewan/
3. Robin and Arlene Karpan. 2018. Saskatchewan’s Best Scenic Drives. A Drive That’s For The Birds. Winging it from Chaplin to Herbert. P. 65-68. Parkland Publishing.
4. Robin and Arlene Karpan. 2017. The Great Saskatchewan BUCKET LIST. Keepers of the Shore: Shorebirds of Chaplin Lake. P. 59-62. Parkland Publishing.