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American Dipper On Ice

American Dippers are aquatic songbirds that feed in fast-flowing mountain streams, capturing all their food by walking under the water on the stream bottom, by swimming, or by picking insects off the surface. They are sometimes seen in the city on Fish Creek, the Elbow River, or even on the Bow in the winter, but are more common west of the city where they breed.

Tony LePrieur captured these fantastic shots of a Dipper seen from water level at Elbow Falls, west of Bragg Creek, on December 24. The first photo shows the nictitating membrane which protects the eye when the bird is submerged. Tony lay in the ice-cold water and on the ice for two hours to get these shots!

American Dipper, Elbow Falls, December 24, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Dipper, Elbow Falls, December 24, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

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

 

Great Gray Owl

Tony LePrieur photographed this Great Gray Owl hunting near Priddis, SW of Calgary, on Christmas Eve 2017.

Great Gray Owl, Priddis area, December 24, 2017. Photographed by Tony LePrieur.

Great Gray Owl, Priddis area, December 24, 2017. Photographed by Tony LePrieur.

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

 

Some Winter Owls

Michael Kim took these photos of a Great Gray Owl and a Snowy Owl in early winter.

Great Gray Owl, Bow Valley Parkway, November 2017.

Great Gray Owl, Bow Valley Parkway, November 2017.

Great Gray Owl, Bow Valley Parkway, November 2017.

Snowy Owl, Airdrie, December 2017.

Snowy Owl, Airdrie, December 2017.

 

Merry Christmas From Birds Calgary!

Northern Cardinal photographed in Cranbrook, BC, November 2017, by Tony LePrieur.

Below are White-tailed Ptarmigan photographed at the Highwood Pass, November 2017, by Tony LePrieur. Note the “snowshoes” in the second picture.

 

 

Some Winter Birds

Here are some winter birds photographed by Gavin McKinnon. You can find the first two in the city, but you have to go up in the mountains to find the third.

Black-capped Chickadee.

Downy Woodpecker.

White-tailed Ptarmigan.

Read Gavin’s blog Canadian Birder here.

Pygmy-Owl and Woodpeckers at Bebo Grove

Yesterday, December 2, 2017, Tony LePrieur photographed some birds at Bebo Grove in Fish Creek Provincial Park, SW Calgary.

Northern Pygmy-Owl with Meadow Vole, Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Northern Pygmy-Owl, Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Pileated Woodpecker (male), Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Three-toed Woodpecker, Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

 

Bow Valley Birding

Posted by Ethan Denton

Though it is not birded by many people, the Bow Valley – Banff, Canmore and area – can be an amazing place to bird. Whether it’s just for a few hours, or if you have a day or more, visiting the valley is an unforgettable experience. Recently, hotspots in Banff and especially Canmore have been heaving with birds, from late a Red-tailed Hawk and American Coots to a plethora of Rusty Blackbirds and Common Redpolls. Here are some of my photos – all taken within the last week. If you have time, visiting the area would be a great idea. Main hotspots are Policeman’s Creek (Canmore) and the Cave and Basin (Banff), but birds turn up anywhere, so check out some other locations on eBird or the local Facebook group, Bow Valley Birding.

Common Goldeneye, Policeman’s Creek, Canmore, November 5, 2017. Photo by Ethan Denton

Clark’s Nutcracker, South Canmore, November 8, 2017. Photo by Ethan Denton

Injured American Coot, Policeman’s Creek, Canmore, November 5, 2017. Photo by Ethan Denton

And they’re not all birds, either. This Long-tailed Weasel was seen on Policeman’s Creek, in addition to Muskrat, Voles, Mule Deer and Red Squirrels.

Long-tailed Weasel (winter coat), Policeman’s Creek, Canmore, November 5, 2017. Photo by Ethan Denton

Finally, if you are looking for a way to spend a Saturday helping birds and bird research, the Banff/Canmore Christmas Bird Count is coming up, on Saturday December 16th. It’s always a great time, and usually you see some interesting birds. Afterwards, there’s a big potluck in the senior’s centre in Banff, where we talk about the day, tally up the results and enjoy fabulous food! Anybody interested can contact me at birdboy.ca@gmail.com, or head over to birdboy.ca for more information.

Black-capped Chickadee, South Canmore, November 10, 2017. Photo by Ethan Denton

Carburn Park and Fish Creek Park, November 2017

Here are some of Tony LePrieur’s photos taken in some local parks this month.

Great Horned Owl, Carburn Park, November 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Robin, Carburn Park, November 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Coot, Carburn Park, November 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

A close-up showing what the coot was feeding on, Carburn Park, November 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Trumpeter Swans, Fish Creek Provincial Park, November 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Great Horned Owl, Fish Creek Provincial Park, November 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Black-backed Woodpecker, Fish Creek Provincial Park, November 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

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

 

68 Street Wetlands and Carburn Park with the FFCPP

The Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society’s birding course groups went to the 68 Street wetlands (east of Elliston Lake, just off 17 Avenue SE) during the week of October 23-29. Max Ortiz Aguilar took a few photos on the outing with the Sunday morning group.

Trumpeter Swan, 68 Street SE Wetlands, October 29, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Trumpeter Swans, 68 Street SE Wetlands, October 29, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Canada Geese, 68 Street SE Wetlands, October 29, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

The following week the groups went to Carburn Park, on the Bow River in the community of Riverbend.

Likely Cackling Goose (left rear) with Canada Geese, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Note its small size, short neck, dark breast where it joins the black of the neck, and very small bill. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Bufflehead group, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Common Goldeneye group, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Coyote, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Killdeer, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Mallard drake, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Red-breasted Mergansers, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Note the much thinner bill on this species compared to that of a Common Merganser. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Tundra Swan, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

White-tailed Deer, Carburn Park, November 5, 2017. Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

To see more of Max’s photos, see his Flickr page.

The friends of Fish Creek are now taking registrations for the winter birding course, which runs from January 8, 2018 to the end of March. Register here.