I had an excellent morning birding at Elbow Park Park (a nameless park in the Elbow Park neighborhood) this Wednesday. I got there a little after 10 am and the sun was shining. Because the temperature is a bit cold in the mornings these days, the birds were still busily moving within and between the many trees and bushes. The big, big highlight: I got to photograph many, many ruby-crowned kinglets! I’ve seen a few glimpses of them lately at Elbow Park Park and River Park – warbler-like, but a bit smaller, mostly olive green, a prominent white eye-ring, black wing feathers with yellow edges, and a white wing bar followed by a black wing bar. I thought I was seeing ruby-crowned kinglets but I couldn’t be sure; their appearances were such a blur. But Wednesday, I saw many, and they didn’t seem to mind me standing 3 or 4 meters away as they moved incessantly from branch to branch, gleaning insects from the shrubs.
The male’s namesake ruby crown is rarely visible. All About Birds says they may show it when excited and singing in the spring or summer.
Elbow Park Park is quite big. It covers about 4 city blocks. It has a huge mowed grass area, tennis courts and a playground. And it has a lovely bluff on the west side covered with all kinds of bushes and trees and tall grasses: birdland! I think the shrubby little berry tree in which I photographed a few kinglets is a Serviceberry tree (Amelanchier). I’ve seen similar trees elsewhere in Calgary, all with red fruit. The fruit looks like Saskatoon berries (Juneberries) but they aren’t purple. Update: I think the tree-shrub is some kind of Hawthorn (Crataegus) since the branches have long thorns; the “berries” are wee pome fruits.
A small section of the bluff in its early fall colours:
And a few more ruby-crowned kinglets: