Tag Archive | calgary birds

Spring Birding Course 2017

Mountain Chickadee seen by the birding course participants at Bebo Grove, Fish Creek Park. Photographed February 14, 2017. Photo by David Mitchell.

The popular Friends of Fish Creek birding course begins its 12-week spring session on April 3, 2017.

Go out on field trips with experienced leaders once or twice a week for twelve weeks, and learn about the birds of Calgary. You can expect to see over 150 species of birds.

Field trips are held in several parts of Fish Creek Park, in Carburn Park, Beaverdam Flats, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, the Weaselhead Nature Area, Bowmont Park, Elliston Lake, Griffith Woods Park, and possibly other locations.

It is still only $5 for children (accompanied by a registered adult) for the whole twelve-week course! See this page for details on how to register.

Here are just a few more of the many birds seen on the winter course this year.

Bald Eagle (adult), Mallard Point, Fish Creek Park, February 8, 2017. Photo by David Mitchell.

Black-capped Chickadee (note the unusual brownish cap), Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, March 4, 2017. Photo by Ken Pride.

Ruffed Grouse, Weaselhead Nature Area, February 22, 2017. Photo by David Mitchell.

Wood Duck (female, centre back) with Mallards, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, March 4, 2017. Photo by Ken Pride.

Great Horned Owl, Beaverdam Flats, March 6, 2017. Photo by Ken Pride.

Common Raven, Beaverdam Flats, March 6, 2017. Photo by Ken Pride.

Common Raven and Great Horned Owl, Beaverdam Flats, March 6, 2017. Photo by Ken Pride.

Great Horned Owl, Beaverdam Flats, March 6, 2017. Photo by Ken Pride.

Sunday Showcase: Long-eared Owls

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

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Adult Long-eared Owl. Photo by Tony LePrieur, Calgary, June 26, 2016.

Long-eared Owls are fairly common in the Calgary area and breed in and around the city, but they are nocturnal and so secretive that many birders go years between sightings. In early summer I was told of a Long-eared Owl nest in the city with young in the nest. Here are some photos of this family taken by several local birders.

(Note: The birds are secretive since they are vulnerable to predation from Great Horned Owls, magpies, ravens, crows, porcupines, and hawks. It is very important when observing them to not give away the location of the nest. This nest was very close to a public pathway.  Although the young have fledged long ago now, the owls may nest in the same area again next year, so I won’t reveal the location. I did share it with Dan Arndt, Andrew Hart, and a couple of young birders who had never seen this species before, but we didn’t want to put undue stress on the birds or draw attention to the location by having too many people go to see them.)

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Adult Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 9, 2016. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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June 9, 2016, Calgary. Four young were in the nest. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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June 11, 2016. Only one young remained in the nest. We were concerned that they had been predated, so stopped visiting for a while. But later on we saw two fledged young together near the nest, so they may just have fledged at slightly different times. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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Another adult on June 9. They are about 14 inches (36 cm) tall. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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A close-up of one of the young in the nest, June 9, 2016. Photo by Dan Arndt.

On June 26 Andrew Hart and I went to see if the last of the owls had fledged. The nest was empty, but we found two very vocal and active young owls nearby.

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Recently fledged Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 23, 2016. Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Vocalizing fledgling. Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Photo by Andrew Hart.

Tony LePrieur had found this same nest independently and visited it a couple of times.

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Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 26, 2016. This looks like a younger owl than the ones Andrew and I saw three days previously. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

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Vocalizing adult Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 26, 2016. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Fall Birding With the Friends of Fish Creek

Posted by Bob Lefebvre. All photos by George Best.

Here are some of the photos that George Best has taken on recent walks with the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society fall birding course.

For the week of October 12-18, we went to Elliston Park on the eastern edge of the city. Besides walking around the lake, we also viewed the wetlands immediately to the east.

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

Common Merganser

Common Merganser

Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe

Purple Finch

Purple Finch

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

The following week we went to South Glenmore to try to find Scoters and Loons, among other birds. The winter finches were also arriving by then. Here are some photos from October 19 and 25.

Bufflehead

Bufflehead

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Scoter's

White-winged Scoters

Common Redpoll close up

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

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Common Redpolls

Western Grebe

Western Grebe

Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill

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Red Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill

White-winged Crossbills

Finally, here are some photos from October 26 at Bebo Grove in Fish Creek Park.

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Great Horned Owl

White-winged Crossbills

White-winged Crossbills

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Black-capped Chickadee

Tomorrow, Dan Arndt will post a full account of our group’s tour of Bebo Grove on November 1.

 

Sunday Showcase: Summer Birds

Some summer birds and mammals from Calgary, taken in late June 2015. All photos by Tony LePrieur.

image1Redhead chicks.

image2American Coot chicks and adult.

image3Male Yellow Warbler.

image4Savannah Sparrow.

image5Yellow-rumped Warbler.

image1Great Blue Heron.

image2Black-crowned Night-Heron.

image3Green-winged Teal.

image4Barn Swallow.

image5Beaver.

June Birds of Calgary

Some shots from in and around Calgary. Taken June 14 and June 20 in Fish Creek Park and Bridlewood wetlands by Tony LePrieur.

image1Great Blue Heron with lunch (sucker?)

image3Cedar Waxwing

image1Ring-necked Pheasant

image2Tennessee Warbler

image6American Wigeon pair

image5Eastern Kingbird

image3Black-crowned Night-Heron

image2Great Blue Heron

image6Great Blue Heron

image7Franklin’s Gull

image4Spotted Sandpiper

image5Red-necked Grebe with young, on nest.

Birding Call-in Show Today

Today, Friday December 19, CBC Radio 1’s Alberta@Noon show will feature local bird expert Sid Andrews taking calls from listeners about their bird sightings. The show starts just after the 12:30 news.

In Calgary, CBC is at 99.1 FM or 1010 AM.

Tundra Swans Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/1250sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 400

Tundra Swans
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/1250sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 400

Tundra Swans with Canada Geese by the Bow River. Photo by Dan Arndt.

Sunday Showcase: Birds of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Yesterday I posted Tony LePrieur’s photos of the damage at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, and some of the birds he saw there. Here are more of his shots of birds at the sanctuary, all taken in early June 2014.

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Baltimore Oriole.

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Common Goldeneye with chicks.

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Red-tailed Hawk.

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Red-tailed Hawk.

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Western Wood-Pewee.

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House Finch.

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Northern Flicker.

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Spotted Sandpiper.

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Warbling Vireo.

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Tree Swallow.

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Downy Woodpecker.

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Double-crested Cormorants.

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Blue-winged Teal.

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American Robin, possibly banded at the sanctuary.

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Wood Ducks.

Eagles, Owls and Others

The photos below were taken by Josh OBrien. He uses a Nikon D600+Sigma 150-500mm. To see more of his photos, check his Facebook page here.

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Great Horned Owls

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Great Horned Owls

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Juvenile Bald Eagles

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

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Juvenile Bald Eagle stretching

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Great Gray Owl

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Great Gray Owl

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American Robin

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Downy Woodpecker

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Common Raven

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Great Horned Owl

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Great Horned Owl

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

Winter in the Weaselhead

Posted by Dan Arndt

For the second week in a row, the weather cooperated with this past Sunday’s walk, giving us great light, good clear skies, and warm temperatures.

It’s always nice when we get chinooks here in Calgary, and today was no exception. Fewer layers make for a much more comfortable morning, and while we didn’t have the largest species count of the week, we arguably had the nicest day!

 

The Weaselhead - November 24, 2013

The Weaselhead – November 24, 2013

As you can probably tell from the map, the sightings were really concentrated between two areas of the Weaselhead. Near the parking lot at both the start and finish of our walk, and deep in the heart of the Weaselhead, concentrated primarily around a couple of special feeding stations.

I arrived about five minutes late for the Sunday walk, but it did allow me to capture a pair of species that didn’t really provide much in the way of good looks later on, so it was a bit of a blessing in disguise as this female House Finch inspected me as I was getting out of my vehicle, and just a short walk down the path while I was hoping to catch up with the group a Black-billed Magpie caught the light just perfectly to accentuate the iridescence normally hidden in its black feathers.

female House Finch Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/640sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 1000

female House Finch
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/640sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 1000

Black-billed Magpie Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/640sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 1600

Black-billed Magpie
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/640sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 1600

It didn’t take me long to catch up with the group, and we stopped at the usual spots along the pathway leading down into the valley, but the sound of this male Downy Woodpecker tap-tap-tapping on the trunk of this small willow caught our attention. I just love how the backlight of the early morning sun accentuates the red on the back of his head.

male Downy Woodpecker Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/640sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 1600

male Downy Woodpecker
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/640sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 1600

After watching a bit of a feeding frenzy by Black-capped Chickadees and a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches at one of the first feeders, the birds quieted down quite a bit on our walk. A Blue Jay gave us a flyover near the first bridge, doing one heck of a job impersonating a Bald Eagle’s screams, and a few flights of Bohemian Waxwings had us looking at the tree tops to spot them alighted, but sadly we would have to wait.

One particularly eagle-eyed observer did happen to spot this male Northern Flicker sitting stock still in a poplar. I still have no idea how she spotted it. Can you?

male Northern Flicker Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/800sec., ƒ/8, ISO 320

male Northern Flicker
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/800sec., ƒ/8, ISO 320

Once we re-entered the thick woods though, we were once again greeted by the ever-present Black-capped Chickadees and more than a few Red Squirrels came for a bite to eat as well.

Black-capped Chickadee Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/800sec., ƒ/8, ISO 400

Black-capped Chickadee
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/800sec., ƒ/8, ISO 400

Red Squirrel Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@250mm 1/800sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 800

Red Squirrel
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@250mm
1/800sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 800

While we waited at this spot for a good ten minutes trying to lure in a Boreal Chickadee, they were feeling rather shy today, with a pair of them coming in for a look at our group, make a few calls, and fly off again, despite my playing a few calls for them in an attempt to offer our group a half-decent look. For all our effort, only three or four of us got brief glimpses of them.

As we turned to leave the little grove, we stopped to check out a large flock of Bohemian Waxwings that flew in just as we were on our way out.

Bohemian Waxwings Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/1000sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 320

Bohemian Waxwings
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/1000sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 320

As we packed in our search for our target species and began the trek back to the parking lot, I couldn’t resist taking yet another photo of our enthusiastic group, as well as the habitat of the Weaselhead as well. These photos were taken in an area that six months previously had been the home to a good number of Calliope Hummingbirds, who are now enjoying the warm weather of Mexico and Central America.

The Adventurers Pentax K-30 + Sigma 18-250@18mm 1/100sec., ƒ/16, ISO 400

The Adventurers
Pentax K-30 + Sigma 18-250@18mm
1/100sec., ƒ/16, ISO 400

The Weaselhead Pentax K-30 + Sigma 18-250@18mm 1/100sec., ƒ/16, ISO 400

The Weaselhead
Pentax K-30 + Sigma 18-250@18mm
1/100sec., ƒ/16, ISO 400

As we reached the top of the hill on our trek back, we finally had our first raptor sighting, with this 3rd year Bald Eagle flying high over the Glenmore Reservoir and into the distance. I particularly like the fact that it decided to wheel around to the southwest of us, giving a very nice background to shoot as well. For those earth science nerds out there like me (or those inclined to mountain climbing), those peaks are Mt. Cornwall on the left, and Mt. Glasgow on the right.

Bald Eagle Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/400sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 80

Bald Eagle
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/400sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 80

It was also nice to get an overflight of Bohemian Waxwings (maybe even the same group I had shot earlier) as I was packing up my gear and putting it away in the jeep for the trip home.

Bohemian Waxwings Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/400sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 125

Bohemian Waxwings
Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm
1/400sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 125

Thanks again for reading, and good birding!

Sunday Showcase: Birds and Mammals of Fish Creek Park

All of the photos below were taken by Tony LePrieur in Fish Creek Park on November 3, 9, and 11.

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