Common Redpolls in Lafarge Meadows

I headed to Lafarge Meadows yesterday because I’d never been to that part of Fish Creek Park before and a recent post on Birds Calgary had piqued my interest. American White Pelicans? Yes please! The post also mentions a lone Hooded Warbler. Hooded Warblers don’t usually visit Calgary; the theory is it got lost on its way to Mexico and ended up in the Lafarge … Continue reading Common Redpolls in Lafarge Meadows

An owl in the backyard

Exactly one week after I saw my first Great Horned Owl in the Weaselhead Flats, another Great Horned Owl appeared in my backyard. As I was preparing dinner and the evening light was just starting to fade, I looked out the window and saw a large, tree-bark coloured, barrel-shaped bird casually perched on an exposed tree branch. Cool! J and I headed outside and J … Continue reading An owl in the backyard

Ruby-crowned kinglet

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 … Continue reading Ruby-crowned kinglet

Common Merganser Dancing

While I was standing on the shore of the Elbow River at Sandy Beach Park this morning, a group of seven immature Common Mergansers floated past me and settled onto a large, flat rock for a bout of preening. Immature Common Mergansers resemble females but their facial markings are a bit different and their eyes are a lighter colour. The “dancing” bird was jumping onto … Continue reading Common Merganser Dancing

Franklin’s Gulls

A few Wednesdays ago (Aug 26), I took the long walking way to the grocery store. The air was smoky from forest fires raging in Washington state, but it was better than the day before. I made a westerly loop to the Bow River Pathway, just west of the Crowchild Trail bridge. I photographed many birds – swallows, ducks, hawks, warblers, etc. I even snapped … Continue reading Franklin’s Gulls

A rare warbler

Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi) is not rare in North America but it is not often seen as far east as Calgary. It usually breeds in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon) and winters in Mexico or on the western edge of California. However, the eBird map for Townsend’s Warbler shows a few sightings on the east coast of the United States and … Continue reading A rare warbler

Two Calgary shorebirds – Spotted Sandpiper and Solitary Sandpiper

I spotted two sandpipers on the Elbow River this week. Both were solitary but only one was a Solitary Sandpiper. And only one had spots, but it wasn’t a Spotted Sandpiper! This Spotted Sandpiper was my first Calgary shorebird sighting. It turns out juvenile Spotted Sandpipers don’t have any spots, nor do the non-breeding adults. The dark, scalloped pattern on this Spotted Sandpiper’s wings suggests … Continue reading Two Calgary shorebirds – Spotted Sandpiper and Solitary Sandpiper

Two juvenile Baltimore Orioles!!!

There are some berry bushes on the east bank of the Elbow River, a little bit south of where it forks from the Bow River. On Sunday afternoon, they were alive with a variety of bird visitors – Yellow Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-capped Chickadees, Cedar Waxwings, American Robins and a few other birds I couldn’t identify or photograph. Oh yes, and there were two Baltimore … Continue reading Two juvenile Baltimore Orioles!!!

New bird – female or juvenile American Redstart

It is hard to identify a female or juvenile warbler that has very different plumage from a male of the same species by scrolling through a list of warbler photographs. I finally had my eureka moment when I Googled “yellow and black tail feathers”. This feathered creature was actively hopping from branch to branch, in a pretty Cutleaf Weeping Birch, probably startling some insect snacks … Continue reading New bird – female or juvenile American Redstart