Birds & Beers, September 2017

The September Birds & Beers social get-together will be held next Thursday evening, September 28. Anyone who wants to come for an informal chat with your fellow birders is welcome. Food and drinks are available, and children are welcome too if accompanied by an adult.

Royal Canadian Legion, Centennial Calgary Branch #285

9202 Horton Road SW

Thursday September 28, 2017, 6:00-9:00 pm

Greater Yellowlegs by Tony LePrieur.

We have also booked the Legion for October and November, also on Thursday nights. Make a note to come out on October 26 and November 23.

Furry Friday: Summer Mammals by Tony LePrieur

Some mammals of Calgary and area, photographed this summer by Tony LePrieur. To see more of Tony’s photos, visit his Flickr page.

The first three photos are of a family of Coyotes at a den in the city.

Coyote, Calgary, July 9, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Coyote, Calgary, July 9, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Coyote, Calgary, July 9, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Pika, Kananaskis, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Pika, Kananaskis, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Pika, Kananaskis, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

White-tailed Jackrabbit, Queen’s Park Cemetery, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Mink, Fish Creek Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Mink, Fish Creek Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Mink, Fish Creek Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Mink, Fish Creek Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Northern Flying Squirrel in bird nest box, SW Calgary, June 25, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

 

Summer Birds by Tony LePrieur

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

We’re back! After a really long summer hiatus, it’s time to get posting again. I have a lot of great photos that readers have sent in, and we’ll start with some of Tony LePrieur’s excellent photos of summer birds. Be sure to check back on Friday for his photos of a wide variety of mammals.

First I wanted to mention that although it may seem like a quiet time of year, especially with the steady hot weather we have had, the past couple of weeks have been pretty good for fall warblers and other migrants. Confederation Park in the NW and several locations in the river valleys (notably Mallard Point in Fish Creek Park and Carburn Park in the SE) have had some good birds. Black-and-white, Townsend’s, Magnolia, Canada, Blackburnian, Mourning and Cape May Warblers have all been reported, among others. A Lark Sparrow has been seen at Mallard Point.

I also wanted to mention that a Peregrine Falcon has been seen perched on the Peter Lougheed Hospital in NE Calgary on two occasions by reader R. Michael Fisher, on August 12 and 20. It may be worth checking for it if you’re in the area.

And now for Tony’s photos.

Cedar Waxwing, Fish Creek Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Eastern Kingbird, Fish Creek Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Spotted Sandpiper, Fish Creek Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Great Gray Owl, Priddis area, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Great Gray Owl, Priddis area, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Calliope Hummingbird, Weaselhead. June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Sora, Bridlewood Wetlands, June 25, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Fish Creek Park, June 25, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Wood Duck female with chicks, Carburn Park, June 25, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Yellow Warbler, Carburn Park, June 25, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Yellow-headed Blackbird, Frank Lake, June 25, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Wilson’s Phalarope, Frank Lake, June 25, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Yellow Warbler, Fish Creek Park, July 3, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Fish Creek Park, July 3, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

To see more of Tony’s photos, go to his Flickr page.

 

Autumn Birding Course 2017

Registration is open for the popular Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society Autumn Birding Course.

Autumn Birding Course – Registration Now Open

Autumn Birding Course Starts Monday, September 4, 2017

Autumn is one of the best times of year for birding. Between September and December, you can see, hear and learn about more than 150 bird species. As the leaves drop off the trees in the cooler months, many of the smaller migratory birds will be much easier to see. Outings are conducted by Gus Yaki, a lifelong  naturalist who has birded around the world – and other experienced instructors. All birding course sessions are held in the great outdoors – in Fish Creek Provincial Park and other natural areas. Each outing is approx. 2.5 hours. Choose to come 1 or 2 days / week.

Each outing is approx. 2.5 hours. Start times Monday – Thursday: 9:15am
Saturdays: 9:00am, Sundays: 9:00am or 1:15pm Choose to come 1 or 2 days / week

2017-18 Friends of Fish Creek Membership fees: Individual: $35.00, Family: $45.00
Senior (60 or over): $25.00, Senior Family: $30.00. Renew Your Membership or Become a Member

Registration Required. Click here to Register

Photo of Long-eared Owl courtesy of Phil Smith

Copyright © 2017 Friends of Fish Creek, All rights reserved.

Birds & Beers, August 2017

The first Birds & Beers social event of the fall season will be held on Thursday, August 17. We have normally met on Fridays in the past but we are trying a Thursday evening in the hope that the venue will be a little quieter and less busy.

Royal Canadian Legion, Centennial Calgary Branch #285

9202 Horton Road SW

Thursday August 17, 2017, 6:00-9:00 pm

American Robin fledglings, July 23, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

As a special treat, Gus Yaki will present a slide show and talk about his Prairie Walk. This spring, to celebrate Canada 150, Gus led a group of about 40 people on a walk along the southern Alberta border from Saskatchewan to British Columbia. Come out to hear about the birds and other wildlife they saw, and see photos of the trip.

The event will start at 6 pm and there will be lots of time for a meal or drink and a visit with your fellow birders before Gus speaks after 7 pm.

Everyone is welcome, including children if accompanied by an adult. See you there!

Breeding Birds of Carburn Park

Common Merganser with chicks, Carburn Park, June 4, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Common Merganser chick, Carburn Park, June 4, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Black-billed Magpie fledglings, Carburn Park, June 4, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Mallard (right) with chicks, Carburn Park, June 4, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Mallard and chick, Carburn Park, June 4, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Northern Flicker with young, Carburn Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Northern Flicker, Carburn Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

House Wren at nest hole, Carburn Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Mallard with chicks, Carburn Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American White Pelicans don’t breed at Carburn Park, but they can often be found there. June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American White Pelicans, Carburn Park, June 18, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Not from Carburn but a nesting Red-necked Grebe from Bridlewood Ponds, June 4, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

To see more of Tony’s photos visit his Flickr page.

Furry Friday: Baby Pika

Tony LePrieur was photographing Pikas in the Highwood pass when he saw a juvenile moving around mostly under the rocks (as opposed to the adults who bound over the tops).

Adult Pika, Highwood Pass, July 14, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Juvenile Pika, Highwood Pass, July 14, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Juvenile Pika, Highwood Pass, July 14, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Juvenile Pika, Highwood Pass, July 14, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Here are some more photos of Pikas that Tony took last year.

You can see more of Tony’s photos on his Flickr site here.

Great Crested Flycatcher in Bearspaw

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

On July 6, 2017, this Great Crested Flycatcher was photographed by Caroline Brooks in her Bearspaw yard, just west of Calgary. This is a local rarity.

Great Crested Flycatcher, Bearspaw, July 6, 2017. Photo by Caroline Brooks.

Interestingly, Caroline had seen and photographed another Great Crested Flycatcher in her yard almost exactly a year earlier, on July 13, 2016. That bird (very likely the same one) was there for the first two weeks of July.

Great Crested Flycatcher, Bearspaw, July 13, 2016. Photo by Caroline Brooks.

Great Crested Flycatcher, Bearspaw, July 13, 2016. Photo by Caroline Brooks.

After photographing the bird this year on July 6, Caroline did not see the bird again. But on the morning of July 11 one was seen in Carburn Park in SE Calgary by Bob Storms. Carburn Park is about 10-12 km due east of Bearspaw. It’s possible this was the same bird.

Here are a couple of screen shots from eBird that show the range of the Great Crested Flycatcher. As you can see, this bird is seen only occasionally west of Regina. Apart from a few regular spots in the Edmonton and Cold Lake areas, it is not often seen in Alberta. It does nest in a few spots from north of Red Deer up to east-central Alberta. Having this bird show up here at this time of year in two consecutive years makes one wonder if they are breeding (or trying to) in the Calgary area.

Great Crested Flycatcher sightings, Year-round, All years, from eBird.

Great Crested Flycatcher sightings from 2017, from eBird. The teardrop in Calgary is a bird that was heard by Michael Harrison in South Glenmore Park on June 25.

Another Great Crested Flycatcher was photographed in Carburn Park by a Friends of Fish Creek birding group on September 14, 2013. Possibly there are a few of these around here every year, so this is a bird that local birders should be aware of, and be on the lookout for.

Cowbird and Yellow Warbler

Tony LePrieur took these great photos of a huge Brown-headed Cowbird fledgling being fed by its foster parent, a male Yellow Warbler.

Brown-headed Cowbird being fed by a Yellow Warbler, Calgary, July 8, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

The warbler is off to find more food for its demanding foster child.

Brown-headed Cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds’ nests and often the other species does not recognize the difference and raises the young cowbird. For more photos of cowbirds with some other host species see these posts:

Baby Owls of Burnsmead

This spring a family of Great Horned Owls nested in the Burnsmead area of Fish Creek Provincial Park. Max Ortiz Aguilar got these photos of the family after the young had hatched and were almost ready to start branching.

Great Horned Owls – mother with two downy young. Burnsmead, April 16, 2017.

Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Great Horned Owl, male standing guard by the nest, Burnsmead, April 16, 2017.

Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

To see more of Max’s wildlife photos, go to his site, Photos by MOA.