Tag Archive | Nature Calgary

Nature Calgary’s Big Week of Birding

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

For many years Nature Calgary has held a Big Day on the Victoria Day holiday – an attempt to find as many species as possible in one day, in this case all of them inside the Calgary city limits (we had 116 species this year). During the 2015 Calgary Birding Competition we decided to add a Big Day in the Calgary Region–the 80-km diameter circle centred in Calgary. We did the trip again last year. In both cases we saw lots of good birds (151 species in 2015, and 132 in 2016) but it is a long day with quite a few dead stretches of driving.

Great Gray Owl, one of two seen on our 80-km Circle Big Day in 2016. Horse Creek Road, June 18, 2016. Photo by Saravana Moorthy.

For this year, we decided to try something new: A Big Week instead of a Big Day in the 80-km circle. There will be a series of field trips offered from June 4 to 10, and we will try to reach a cumulative total of 175 species on these trips.

Most of the trips will be led by myself, Andrew Hart, and Rose Painter. We will kick it off with a day-long trip to the northwest corner of the circle, around Water Valley, on Sunday June 4. The final day will feature another long trip to the south and southwest. Both of these trips require registration because car-pooling will be required and spaces will be limited.

There will also be several field trips offered during the week, including trips inside the city to the Weaselhead and Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. A couple of other trips will be Twitch ‘n’ Tours, our term for for a field trip with a known starting point but for which the destinations are not decided until the last minute, so that we can chase rare birds or ones we have not been able to find so far.

If you want to see how many species you can find in the Calgary region in one week in June, join us for some or all of these outings. See the Nature Calgary field trip page for details and to register.

Event – Nature Calgary Speaker Series

Nature Calgary Speaker Series, Tuesday November 15, 7:30 pm.

Cardel Theatre, 180 Quarry Park Blvd. SE

Chris Fisher will speak on “The Wildlife of Great Explorers.” Learn about the travels of the great explorers of Alberta and some of the birds, plants, and mammals named for them.

Franklin's Gull Pentax K-5 + Sigma 150-500@500mm 1/1600sec., ƒ/8.0, ISO 400

Franklin’s Gull, named for Sir John Franklin. Photo by Dan Arndt, Carburn Park, April 2015.

See the complete description of the talk, and directions to the location, on the Nature Calgary website.

Free parking. Please bring a donation for the Food Bank.

 

Join Us For a Calgary Region Big Day

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

Next Saturday, June 18, Andrew Hart, Rose Painter and I will lead the 2nd annual Calgary Region Big Day field trip for Nature Calgary. This is an all-day trip to find as many species as possible within the 80-km-radius circle centered on Calgary. Our modest goal is 125 species.

As you can see from the map below the area is huge, and we can’t visit all good habitats in a single day. We will be focusing on a few good spots and trying to keep the pace fast to give us flexibility towards the end of the day.

80km circle - Google Earth

The Calgary Region 80-km Circle.

We will begin our day at 5:30 am in NW Calgary. This is kind of a late start for a Big Day at this time of year, so we need people to arrive on time or a little early. Note that registration is required – please call one of the leaders to let them know you are coming, so we know when everyone has arrived and can plan the car-pooling. The trip details and phone numbers are on the Nature Calgary website here.

Our destinations will include Horse Creek Road, several stops in the Water Valley area, Plumber’s Road and Brown-Lowery Provincial Park, Windy Point west of Turner Valley, and Frank Lake. There may be more stops after that if there is time. We plan to be back at the starting point by no later than 8 pm. If anyone cannot stay for the whole day we will try to arrange the car-pooling to accommodate that.

Bobolink

Bobolink – one of our target birds for the Big Day. Photo by Dan Arndt.

Nature Calgary field trips are free and open to everyone; you don’t have to be a member of Nature Calgary to attend. We hope that some birders will have their biggest day ever, and there is always a chance to see some birds that are new to you, and to learn about some new birding locations in the Calgary area.

Cruise the World For Birds

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

Tomorrow evening, Tuesday September 15, marks the beginning of another season of nature talks in the Nature Calgary Speaker’s Series. The topic is “Cruise the World For Birds” and will be given by renowned local author and speaker Chris Fisher. Here is the talk description from the Nature Calgary site:

“For more than five years, Chris served as lecturer and naturalist for a major cruise line.  This experience took him to every continent and to more than 160 ports around the world. From Alaska to the Antarctic and Stockholm to Samoa, birds (and other wildlife) were a constant, yet ever changing companion to his voyages.  This presentation will not only be a natural history showcase, but it will also strive to demonstrate how our wildlife encounters enrich our lives and create our life’s most cherished moments.”

The location is the Cardel Theatre in Quarry Park, just south of Carburn Park. For a map, driving directions, and more information, see the Nature Calgary event page here. There is free parking, but please bring a food bank donation. The doors open at 7 pm and the talk begins at 7:30. Everyone is welcome.

The Nature Calgary Lecture Series is held on the third Tuesday of each month in this location, from September through April. In addition, the Nature Calgary Bird Studies Group holds talks on the first Wednesday of each month at the University of Calgary. Watch the Nature Calgary site for upcoming lectures and events.

Chris Fisher’s web page.

Follow Chris Fisher on Twitter @FisherSpeaks

Birding Competition Presentation

If you’d like to learn more about eBird Calgary 2015, the competition sponsored by Nature Calgary, please attend the Bird Study Group Speaker Series on Wednesday, December 3. The competition committee will present information about eBird, and the rules of the event. You will also be able to register in person to participate in this year-long activity.

In addition, Brian Elder will speak about how to get a good start on your winter birds list. This will be of interest to every local birder, whether you will be in the competition or not.

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Great Gray Owl. Find out where to go to look for these birds in the winter. Photo by Logan Gibson

Bird Study Group meetings are free and open to anyone. The doors open at 7:00 pm and the meeting starts at 7:30. It is held in Room 211 of the Biological Sciences Building at the University of Calgary.

Here is the Nature Calgary page which gives details of the location. Our Bird Study Group blog page also has information about the meetings.

Bird Studies Group Meeting Tonight

Just a reminder that the Bird Studies Group of Nature Calgary will be meeting tonight, Wednesday January 9 (instead of the first Wednesday of the month). The presentation will consist of the results of various Christmas Bird Counts held in the Calgary region.  Phil Cram will present the results of the Calgary Count.

The meeting is at 7:30 pm in Room 211 of the Biological Sciences Building at the U of C. Doors open at 7:00.  See this page for a map and more information.

Nature Calgary’s Big Day

Update:  Results of the Big Day

The day started off well, but the weather gradually deteriorated, and by 4:30 in the afternoon, with cold driving rain, and after eleven hours of birding, we decided to stop.  The total for the group was 93 species.  I saw or heard 88 of them, so I’ll have to try another time to reach 100 species in a day.  Due to the weather we missed almost all shorebirds and warblers.

We went to the following locations:  Votier’s Flats, Bow Valley Ranch and Sikome, all in Fish Creek Park; Inglewood Bird Sanctuary; Elliston Park; Ponds one mile west of Shepard; Shepard; Shepard Slough (east of Shepard); a series of ponds south of highway 22X in the far SE; a pond just east of Spruce Meadows; the South shore of Glenmore Reservoir.  We didn’t go into the Weaselhead as planned.

Click here for the report, with a list of the species seen or heard, from Albertabird.

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How many species of birds do you think you could find within the city of Calgary in a single day?  The answer at this time of year is over 100.  This weekend there will be a great opportunity to see if you can do it.

Birders call this a “Big Day” – an attempt to identify as many species as possible in a twenty-four hour period.  This is often done as a competitive or fundraising activity, usually with teams of birders all trying to get the highest total.

For the past few years, Nature Calgary has offered a guided Big Day field trip every Victoria Day holiday.  It can be a long, hard day, especially in bad weather, but it is a great chance to see most of the bird species present in Calgary in the spring.  This year the trip is on Monday, May 23.  We will meet at Votier’s Flats in Fish Creek Park (at the south end of Elbow Drive SW) at 5:30 am.  From there, the leader, Tony Timmons, will guide us to several different habitats within the city over the course of the day.  Bring a  lunch, and be prepared for whatever weather we might get.

Last year, the group managed to find 111 species!  The highlight of the day was a Virginia Rail calling at a slough in SE Calgary.

Virginia Rail. Photo by Mike Baird, from Wikimedia Commons.

In 2009, in very cold, wet conditions, the total was 108 species.  The birds are out there, so come out on Monday and help us find them!  If you need more information, call the leader, Tony Timmons, at 403-256-0754.  Like all Nature Calgary field trips, it is free and open to all members of the public.

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

Free Summer Bird Walks

Last week, the first of Nature Calgary’s Tuesday evening bird walks was held.  For those of you who can’t make it out on weekend mornings, these evening walks may be a good opportunity.  Throughout the spring and summer, a free birding field trip to one of Calgary’s many parks will be offered every Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

For information on upcoming walks, check the “Free Nature Walks” page on our banner above.  The page is updated regularly.  This evening, May 10, the field trip will be at Edworthy Park in the northwest.  Spring migration is getting into full swing, so get out and see the latest arrivals.

Carburn Park

All Nature Calgary field trips are free and open to all members of the public.  You don’t have to be a member of Nature Calgary to attend.  If you need any more information about a particular walk, you can phone the walk leader at the number listed.  But in general, you just have to show up!  Dress for the weather, have your binoculars and/or camera ready, and have fun while learning about the birds of Calgary and our natural areas.

Posted by Bob Lefebvre