Four Seasons in Four Weeks – Birding Calgary in Fall 2016

th7d3990-v2-fbBirding this past month in the Calgary area has – due to a variety of weather patterns – presented a lot of opportunities to photograph many species under different conditions. A particular favorite of mine is the always striking Wood Duck:th7d3490th7d4288 th7d3645

An increasing number of Wood Ducks have taken up seasonal residence at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and, being only 15 minutes’ drive from where I live, I have made a number of trips to photograph these beauties…th7d4176 th121709db-crop th121911 th122136-v

On sunny days I try to go either early in the morning, or late in the afternoon when the sun is slow in the sky. On fall mornings the Sanctuary is particularly beautiful:img_1454enh img_1452enh th7d3545As their name suggests, the Wood Ducks spend a lot of time perched on fallen dead trees in the lagoon and they seem just as happy there as in the water:th7d3462-v th122248v-fb

Although there does definitely seem to be some competition for the ‘best’ spots:th7d3439merge th7d4061

A goal of mine this year was to try and capture some in-flight shots of Wood Ducks and I’ve been lucky enough to get a number of opportunities to try my hand at this, and the results have been personally pleasing:th122330crop-mask-v th121994 th121906-v th121888-v th121876 th121835db-mask-fb th121704 th121713-mask2-v-fb2

Some Woodies appear to have paired up…th122924 th7d3800

…while others seem to be chasing each other around:th122950 th122944

Watching them preen and clean can also be an action-packed sight:th122998

And if the Wood Ducks aren’t enough for you, often times you can get a rowdy Belted Kingfisher flying up and down the lagoon making its harsh rattling call. th7d3318 th7d3306

A very skittish bird, I managed to get some of best shots yet of one that decided to perch unexpectedly close for a good minute:th7d3243db-mask-flickr

Some mornings can be quite foggy, which presents its own beauty…img_1451enh img_1449enh

th7d4127 th7d3602-vth122318But fall being fall, the weather can change quite dramatically and snowfall is not unexpected…img_1463enh img_1461enh

Although this didn’t seem to faze the Wood Ducks at all:th122572 th122520

th122910crop th122849cropHowever, some late-staying Great Blue Herons didn’t seem quite so enamored: th122597

th122609ext2-flcikrAs I was leaving on this wintry morning, I caught a shape in the treeline out of the corner of my eye…th122688

Which upon closer inspection turned out to be a juvenile Bald Eagle, but it didn’t stick around long…th122694

…although it was obliging enough to do a nice fly-by past me:th122730 th122715 th122708crop-fb

Some other species present included some American Wigeon: th121918

The ubiquitous Mallard: th123136 th123124crop th123120

And a Northern Flicker: th7d3627v2-flickr

Despite some brief snowfall in early October, it has been relatively warm (into the teens in celsius)  and so I took advantage of the good driving conditions and made a trip out to the foothills west of Calgary where I came across a couple dozen southward-bound majestic Trumpeter Swans in some ponds by the highway:th123081

th123084-fbBut alas I didn’t see too many birds in the foothills themselves save for this American Pipit:th123049

I also made the effort to check out several other ponds used by migrating waterfowl and came across some of the ‘usual suspects’ such as Northern Shoveller:th7d4406

th7d4446-fbAnd last, but not least, some water-walking Common Goldeneye that may decide to over-winter:th7d4486v

For more of my wildlife photography, you can follow me here:

https://www.facebook.com/timjhopwood/

 

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One Response to Four Seasons in Four Weeks – Birding Calgary in Fall 2016

  1. Stunning photographs! Really amazing ones of the Wood Ducks. We had a similar experience here in Ottawa – a random snowfall a few weeks ago and then back up to +15 for a week.