Birding around Calgary – May 2015

TH1D2575d&b-crop-fbWell, things continue to hot up around Calgary as more and more returning birds make their way north. This time of year I like to go visiting ponds and sloughs all over Calgary and its outskirts as I never know quite what will be around.

One returning species that I particularly look forward to is the graceful American Avocet with its delicate upturned bill:TH1D2534-crop-fb

When the weather cooperates and I get a cloudless sky with minimal wind, it’s worth the effort to get up early and get shooting shortly after sunrise. Not only do you get great glass-like reflections from the water surface, but this also combines with warm, saturated colours from the golden sun which can add some interest to any shot:TH1D2341-d&b-crop-fb

In company with the avocets were a number of Yellowlegs:TH1D3064-fb TH1D2433-fb

However they were not exactly ‘best friends’ and the avocets would frequently chase away their more diminutive shorebird cousins:TH1D2035-fb

Not to be outdone, a handful of Bonaparte’s Gulls made an appearance and after giving me a couple of squawking fly-bys to let me know they knew I was there, then quickly settled on the pond surface and proceeded to feed on what looked like snails:TH1D2758d&b-crop-fb2 TH1D2142-fb

TH1D2183-fbWaterfowl are now back in great numbers and at some other ponds I came across the striking Red-necked Grebe:TH1D3119-fbTH1D3149-fb 

As well as flotilla of Redheads:TH1D3256d&b-fb

As you can tell from the shot above, I don’t always shoot at water-level as often you get some attractive water reflections simply shooting from kneeling down.

While doing all this shooting, I was serenaded by the spring chorus of a dozen Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds – a sound that epitomises spring for me:TH1D3212d&b-fb

The surrounding shrubs and trees also produced a few new birds such as the White-crowned Sparrow:TH1D3274-fb

and a resident-all-year Red-breasted Nuthatch who picking off newly emerging spiders:TH1D1386d&b-fb

Elsewhere I was very pleased to get some close-ups of Canvasbacks, which happened to be a target bird of mine this year as I’d never got any shots I was happy with until now:TH1D2499d&b-crop-fbTH1D3777-fb

as well as a Cinnamon Teal revealing its gorgeous wing plumage:TH1D4227-fb

At Prince’s Island Park at the northern edge of downtown I was also pleased to see a pair of American Wigeons going about their day, with the male being particularly vocal:TH7D8913d&b-fb TH7D8810d&b-fb

TH7D9265d&b-crop-fbThis park also hosts dozens of Canada Geese:TH1D3292-fb

and it was great to see my first goslings of the year – such photogenic yellow puffballs!:TH7D9392-fb

 Looking ahead, by the time you read this I should be on my way to Point Pelee National Park in Ontario to try & capture some warbler action. Needless to say I’m quite excited at the prospect, so with a bit of luck I’ll be able to share my results with you next month! Cheers, Tim.

 

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3 Responses to Birding around Calgary – May 2015

  1. Gilda Blackmore says:

    Oh how I envy you! Beautiful birds. Beautiful photos.

  2. Dianne says:

    Beautiful and enviable photos as usual, Tim. Always look forward to your posts.

  3. Sharon says:

    Glorious photos!! Thanks so much.