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Rare & Notable Birds of Alberta, Fall 2016

Here is the Alberta report of rare and notable birds for the fall of 2016, written by James Fox for the American Birding Association’s publication North American Birds. There are many photographs of rare and unusual birds. Use the scrollbar at the right edge of the document to see all fourteen pages. (Note: The scrollbar may not work on all devices. It works on a desktop with Chrome and Firefox, but not on an iPhone.)

Download the PDF file .

Terry’s Travels: Birding the Stavely Area

Hello; allow me to introduce myself. My name is Terry Korolyk. I have been, among other things, the Compiler of the City of Calgary and Nature Calgary Bird Alert since 1994 and have  also been  the Compiler for Alberta for the Prairie Provinces Region of North American Birds, a quarterly publication of the American Birding Association, for approximately 16 years.

Currently, I am working on 2 birding books with one being “The Birds of the Calgary Area and Southern Alberta”, and, the other being the “The Birds of Fish Creek PP”. I am sure most of you are well aware of how well known Fish Creek PP is in our area as the Park is often featured on Birds Calgary.

I will be contributing on a regular basis to the Blog with my first venture focusing on a trip I led for Nature Calgary Saturday, July 16 down to the Stavely area to bird concentrating on the huge Pine Coulee Reservoir west of Stavely and Clear Lake on the prairie 15 km east of Stavely on Township Roads 140 and 142. From the main parking lot in the Glennfield area on the east side of Fish Creek PP, we cruised down Highway 2 as far as Nanton turning off and following the road behind the Esso (Regular Unleaded is almost always 2 cents more than the other Gas Stations in the town at the Esso) directly to the south end of Nanton. This road is usually quite birdy and is almost always a sure bet for one, if not more, EURASIAN COLLARED DOVES.

Sure enough, we did see one perched on a telephone line.

Once at the south end of town, we crossed the highway and set out for Pine Coulee Reservoir. This road is paved much of the way, but, just as the pavement ends, a fairly large slough appears from just over a hump. Usually, this is a good birding stop on the way, but, given the recent rains we’ve had, the slough was flooded and not one bird was present. We pushed on. Following a few kilometres of gravel, we reached Township Road 150 and made the turn left to descend down the switchback to the reservoir. To this point, the drive from Nanton was very birdy with lots of Buteos (mostly Swainson’s Hawks, but, in a different variety of plumages. Vesper and Savannah Sparrows and Western Meadowlarks, all singing, had lined our route.

The mudflats were extensive on the south of Township Road 150 where it crossed the north end of the reservoir. Large numbers of shorebirds from the North prodded and poked about in the muck. A few minutes birding there produced 250+ Lesser Yellowlegs; 60 Baird’s Sandpipers, and, 1 Stilt Sandpiper amongst many Killdeer. Female Ducks of different species led their broods of tiny Ducklings almost everywhere on the water on both sides of the road. Flocks of Tree and Bank Swallows and 2 resident Cliff Swallows swiveled back and forth the over the water in search of flying insects. There were many juveniles as it had become fledging time for them.

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Juvenile Bank Swallow.

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Adult Bank Swallows.

We carried on soon ending up at the Dam, which, in Fall is a great landfall for migrant waterfowl and other birds heading to their wintering grounds. At this time of year, there was an assortment of Diving Ducks and other birds which included 1 immature Double-crested Cormorant, and, 3 juvenile BARROW’S GOLDENEYE.

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Western Kingbird.

Leaving the Dam on Township Road 140, we found more waterfowl and both Western and Eastern Kingbirds started to show themselves. Mourning Doves also started to appear. We turned right on Range Road 281–more Mourning Doves; 7 of them.

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Mourning Doves.

Almost immediately after, one of the prizes of the day, a pair of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS, a male and a female, bounced around in the air against a backdrop of billowing white Cumulus clouds, and…………at the same time!……….a FERRUGINOUS HAWK soared against the clouds. We then stopped for lunch a few hundred metres along at a slough that, in past years, was an excellent location to observe American Wigeon during breeding season. Spring migration periods at this slough produced large numbers of Wigeons usually including one or more EURASIAN WIGEONS and EURASIAN-AMERICAN males. I could recall one particularly spectacular looking individual of this hybrid. This year, however, Eared Grebes, colonial birds, were nesting there, and you could see their many vegetation nests jutting above the water’s surface. Flocks of Brewer’s Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and, European Starlings horded along the water’s edge and in in the nearby crop fields. We headed back to Township Road 140 and then headed east to Clear Lake.

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Swainson’s Hawk.

There were more Mourning Doves then, and, both Swainson’s and Red-tailed Hawks on the drive to Clear Lake, then  after we crossed Highway 2, Horned Larks started to appear along with the Vesper and Savannah Sparrows. The Campground at Clear Lake gave us great chances to observe both Western and Eastern Kingbirds again. On the lake, Eared Grebes and Franklin’s Gulls loafed and hunted respectively, but…………amongst all the Franklin’s Gulls swam 1 breeding-plumaged BONAPARTE’S GULL, a nice surprise and a chance to watch a bird we don’t see much of here at this time of year.

Heading north on Range Road 261 up the west flank of the lake we found an adult FERRUGINOUS HAWK perched on a fencepost. Birds seen at the north end of Clear Lake included 10 breeding-plumaged SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS while a Mammal sighting there included one very large White-tailed Deer doe crossing the lake.

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Ferruginous Hawk.

We headed north on Range Road 260 to start the return trip to Calgary. We had time for 2 very good stops—-one at Township Road 152 and Range Road 265 where we watched many fledging and adult Tree, Bank, and, Cliff Swallows, and, the other on the west side of Range Road 270 just south of Highway 533  where we found 19 migrating RED-NECKED PHALAROPES in breeding plumage swimming on the water along with 3 more SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS along the shoreline. Amongst the duck species there was 1 hybrid female GADWALL-NORTHERN PINTAIL! Our final bird of the day was a bird I think is one of our showiest and most flamboyant on Range Road 272 south of Highway 23:

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Loggerhead Shrike.

We reached Highway 23; turned north on Highway 799 and followed that and Highway 552 and Dunbow Road back to Calgary.


For those of you who do not know what Bird Alerts do (they are also known as RBAs, or, Rare Bird Alerts ), they are a phone service used to report sightings of rare and unusual birds. In our case here in Alberta, the city of Calgary RBA number is 403-221-4519. If you have found a rare or unusual bird, or, have noticed some unusual interesting bird behaviour, or, have noticed an unusually large number of individuals of a particular species of bird, or, have noticed a bird in the province here out of season; by all means, report it. Anything you think relevant to any of the already mentioned requirements, go ahead and report it to us.

If you phone to report anything, I will have compiled a message which you can listen to, or, if you just want to leave your information, you may do so after the beep. Information should consist of the bird(s); location of the sighting (be as specific as possible using Route numbers; distances from prominent landmarks, etc.); date, including time if possible, and, a telephone number where you can be reached. I collect all the messages and record a new RBA every Monday and Thursday evening with all the information that has been deposited and the process repeats itself.

Nature Calgary field trips are free and open to anyone. See the list of upcoming trips here.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Jan 3

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com .  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

Bird Sightings:

A NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL was seen and photographed by Robert Brown in the Shannon Terrace area of Fish Creek Park on December 30.

A CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE was seen in the Waterton Townsite on Monday Jan 31. The bird was seen by Joan and Malcolm Macdonald. It was in the neighbourhood of 101 Fern Street. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER appears daily in the yard of Jo Nemeth at 8525 Wentworth Dr. SW in Calgary and a female BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER has been seen once again in west Fish Creek in Calgary. Counters on the Fish Creek PP New Years Day count saw the bird, then in woods southeast of Bridge 5 in the Marshall Springs area. The bird was still present in the afternoon of January 1. A leucistic ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was seen by Matthew Sim at the Hwy 8 – Range Rd 40 junction west of Calgary on Wed Jan 2.

REDHEAD ducks have survived the winter in fairly good numbers thus far. New Year’s Day counts included 7 at Policeman’s Flats by Terry Korolyk; 3 at Beaverdam Flats by Andrew Slater; 4 there by Bill Wilson; then 5 at Carburn Park by Bill Wilson. Andrew Slater saw a GREATER and a LESSER SCAUP at Beaverdam Flats while on Dec 29, Terry Korolyk observed either a GREATER SCAUP or a
GREATER-LESSERSCAUP hybrid at Elliston Park in southeast Calgary, January 1. Terry saw an AMERICAN WIGEON at the slough in the SW corner of the Hwy 2A-Hwy 22X junction.

Observers in the area can be on the lookout for wandering NORTHERN GOSHAWKS this winter. There have been many reports thus far, both in Calgary and in the surrounding area. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was seen in the Bebo Grove-Marshall Springs area of west Fish Creek PP on New Year’s Day.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Monday, January 7.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Dec 31

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com .  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

Bird Sightings:

Dec 27:
GLAUCOUS GULL, Cactus Corner Truck stop east of Hanna, Gerald Romanchuk, Trevor
Roper.
SHORT-EARRED OWL (3), Hwy 23/RRd 25 , Joan & Malcolm MacDonald, Eddy Matoud.
HORNED LARK (60-80), Hyw 23/RRd 264, J&M M.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Andrew Don.

Dec 28:
SNOWY OWL, Hwy 1, west of Calaway Pk, Andrew Hart.
(also 4 seen on Cochrane CBC)

Dec 29:
SNOW BUNTING (400), Hwy 55/RRd 255, Terry Korolyk.
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, at entrance to Wyndham-Carseland PP., TK.

Dec 30:
SONG SPARROW, Votier’s Flats, FCPP, Bob Lefebvre.
VARIED THRUSH, feeder in Dalhousie NW Calgary, has been seen for at least 3
weeks, BL.
GLAUCOUS GULL, as above, J&M M.
GOLDEN EAGLE/EAGLE sp., slough McLeod Tr/Hwy 22X. TK.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Thursday Jan 3.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Dec 27

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?

If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com .  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

Ongoing: VARIED THRUSH, male, coming to feeders in a yard in Dalhousie in NW Calgary for the past three weeks. Until recently there was a female as well. For information email birdscalgary@gmail.com

Dec.22
SHORT-EARED OWL, east of Frank Lake, by V.Wong and L.Gibson

Dec. 26
SHORT-EARED OWL, near Seven Persons in SE Alberta. Two seen by B.Velner and
five seen by M.and E. Spitzer in the same area.

SNOWY OWL, several seen by several observers spread over a wide area. Four
near Seven Persons, one N.of 22x just E. of Deerfoot Tr., and one near 42Ave. SW
off McLeod Tr.

REDHEAD(9), Bow River at Policeman’s Flats, by Terry Korolyk
GREEN-WINGED TEAL(F),NORTHERN SHOVELER(M), GADWALL, Weed Lake just east of
Langdon, by TK.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE(5+),Parkside Dr./Parkview Way intersection, in SE
Calgary, by TK.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Mon.Dec. 31.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Dec 24

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?

If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com .  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

Dec ongoing:

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER visiting feeder daily in SE Calgary, Jo Nemeth.
SONG SPARROW in Bearspaw NW, last seen Dec 20, Sally Quon.
SONG SPARROW in FCPP, Phil Quinn.
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, RED CROSSBILLS, AMERICAN CROWS, being seen in good
numbers.

Dec 20:
LESSER SCAUP pr, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, SW corner Mcleod Tr/Hwy 2A, Terry Korolyk.

Dec 21:
WILSON’S SNIPE in west FCPP, bridge 8, PQ.
AMERICAN DIPPER in NW Griffith Woods, PQ.

Dec 22:
GRYFALCON, PRAIRIE FALCON, GOLDEN EAGLE, SHORT-EARRED OWL, SNOWY OWL,
GREAT-HORNED OWL, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, Okotoks, vulcan, Lake Mcgregor areas.

Dec 23:
NORTHEN SHRIKE Southview Calgary, Carol Coulter.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Thursday Dec 27

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Dec 20

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?

If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com .  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

Dec. 15

CLARK’S NUTCRACKER, Hawkwood area in NW Calgary.Observer unknown.

Dec. 16

The following are highlights of species seen during the Calgary CBC on the 16th.:

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER; BOHEMIAN WAXWING(17,000); RED CROSSBILLS(237);WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS(1101);COMMON REDPOLLS(1940); NORTHERN
GOSHAWK(8);MOURNING DOVE(4);TRUMPETER SWAN(2);GADWALL(1);REDHEAD(23);LESSER SCAUP(9);

Dec. 17

RING-NECKED DUCK(1),Policeman’s Flats, Bow River,

Dec. 19

GREATER SCAUP(2),Bow River,Beaverdam Flats, by Terry Korolyk
NORTHERN PINTAIL(M),Bow River,Beaverdam Flats, by Bill Wilson
TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE, BROWN CREEPER, PILEATED WOODPECKER, Fish Creek PP, Ravens Rock area, by Phil Quinn.
BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER(f), Fish Creek PP,south of creek between bridges 5+6, by Andrew Slater.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Mon. Dec.24, 2012

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Dec 17

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?

If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com .  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

DECEMBER 13

STELLER’S JAY – west Bragg Ceek in Wild Rose Estates, Dan Arndt

DECEMBER 15

TRUMPETER SWAN – north of the Ivor Strong Bridge over Bow River , Jim Davis
LESSER SCAUP – male at Weed Lake, also a pair at Elliston Park, TK
NORTHERN PINTAIL – female, as above
NORTHERN SHOVELER – male, as above
GREEN-WINGED TEAL – female, as above
MALLARD – female, as above
GADWALL – female, as above

DECEMBER 16

CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE – Wildwood, in Penny Smith’s yard, call 403-249-5997
BOREAL CHICKADEE – as above
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER – Wentworth district west of Sarcee Trail, Joanne Nemeth, call 403-254-1878 or 403-801-8501 (TK)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD – still at home of Barb Castell, located on the north side of 262 Ave SW off Priddis Valley Rd. House is the 3rd one east of Priddis Valley Rd.
SONG SPARROW – along Fish Creek near the footbridge just west of Macleod Trail, Nimali Seneviratne
COMMON GRACKLE – at a home in Lakeview, Heather Jones 403-278-9389

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Thu Dec 20.

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Dec 13

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?

If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com .  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

Bird Sightings:

Dec:
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, 262 Ave SW east of Priddis Valley Rd, Barb Castell (403 931-3690)
COMMON REDPOLL partial albinistic, Dover SE Calgary, Terry Korolyk.

Dec 10:
REDHEADS (9), GREEN-WINGED TEAL (3), GREATER SCAUP (2 female), Berverdam Flats, Bill WiIlson (also on Dec 11)
NORTHERN PINTAIL male, LESSER SCAUP (4) as abovr.

Dec 11:
LESSER SCAUP (5) as above.
RUSTY BLACKBIRDS (3), AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER, KILLDEER,Cave and Basin, Banff, Joan & Malcolm MacDonald.
NORTHERN GOSHAWK after a RING-NECKED PHEASANT female, ravine off Sarcee Tr, Strathcona, Ken.
BROWN CREEPER, Braeside SW Calgary, Shonna McLeod.
SNOWY OWL McKnight Blvd west of Rge Rd 280, Mary ?

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Monday Dec 17

Rare Bird Alert Calgary: Dec 6

Have you seen an unusual bird in Calgary?

If it is on this Reportable_Birds (PDF), please report it to the Nature Calgary Rare Bird Alert line at 403 221-4519 and leave a message after the beep at the end of the recording. If you would like some help with species identification, email us at birdscalgary@gmail.com.  To report injured wildlife call the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society at 403 239-2488, or the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403 946-2361.

Compiled by Terry Korolyk

Bird Sightings:

Nov 29:
EURASIAN WIGEON, female, slough at Hwy 2A/22x, Terry Korolyk.
RED CROSSBILLS (100), west end UofC, Hank Vanderpol.

Nov 30:
WESTERN MEADOWLARK, Mallard Pt, FCPP, Janet Gill/ NC field trip.

Dec 1:
EASTERN BLUEBIRD, male, Ajax Coulee, Medicine Hat, Elaine & Milt Spitzer.
ESTERN BLUEBIRD, male and female, as above, Barry & Judy Anderson.
DARK-EYED JUNCOS (10), Queen’s Park Cemetary, Bill Wilson.
REDHEADS (20), RING-NECKED DUCK, GREATER SCAUP, LESSER SCAUP x REDHEAD, Policeman’s Flats, SE of Dunbow Rd, TK.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, Lake Minnewanka, Banff NP, Joan & Malcolm MacDonald.
NORTHERN HAWK OWL, Lookout Parking lot,Barrier Lake, Kananaskis, J&M M.
LONG-TAILED DUCK, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, PIED-BILLED GREBE, Henderson Lake, Lethbridge, Colton Prins.
SNOWY OWL, flyover, Elbow River survey, Gus Yaki.

Dec 2:
CAPE MAY WARBLER, Medford Place, SW Calgary, Liz Sargeant.
HARRIS’S SPARROW, Wyndam-Carseland PP, J&M M.
LINCOLN’S SPARROW (2), SONG SPARROW, Botteril Bottom Rd, Lethbridge, CP.
RING-NECKED DUCK (2), GREATER SCAUP (2), AMERICAN COOT (2), south of Calf Robe Bridge, Rob Worona.

Dec. 1
PRAIRIE FALCON, TwpRd 314 and RR 260, by Corine Griffin

Dec. 2
PILEATED WOODPECKER and SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, Glenmore/Weaselhead natural area, by Gus Yaki et al.

Dec. 3
HOARY REDPOLL, yard of Shonna Macleod in Breaside area of Calgary.

Dec. 4
TUNDRA SWAN(1), TRUMPETER SWAN(1), CACKLING GOOSE(2),GREEN-WINGED TEAL(F), NORTHERN PINTAIL(M), REDHEAD(7), RING-NECKED DUCK(M),GREATER SCAUP(2), LESSER SCAUP(7), AMERICAN COOT(1),KILLDEER(1), RED-TAILED HAWK(light morph). All seen by Bill Wilson on or near the Bow River between Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Carburn Park.

Dec. 5
BOHEMIAN WAXWING(200), Glenmore/Weaselhead area,Calgary, by GY et al.
AMERICAN ROBIN(50), same as above.

The next scheduled update of the Bird Alert is on Monday Dec.10.