I know it’s another month until winter ‘officially’ begins here in Calgary, but the snow and sub-zero temps have already arrived and the winter birding in Calgary has begun in earnest.
I like the coming of winter, not so much for the temperature, but because it means I can chill out a little: I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to see birds as it isn’t even properly light out until 9am, plus we get some birds that only visit in the winter.
But before all that begins, there are still a few last gasps of fall weather. Seeking to take advantage of the last remaining patches of open ponds, I headed down to Carburn Park to see if I could relocate a Western Grebe that had been reported. A quick scan of the main pond revealed I was in luck!:
A week after this visit the temperatures nose-dived and when I returned a fortnight later the ponds had all completely frozen over.
A trip out west a week later to Kananaskis did not yield an awful lot of wildlife, but I did manage to see some characteristic birds of this area including some Spruce Grouse hens on a shady roadside corner:
The following weekend I paid a visit to some local inner city parks to see if I could find some Crossbills, but alas my luck was not in and I had to be content with a constantly-on-the-move Brown Creeper:
My enthusiasm still high, following regular reports of a Northern Pygmy Owl in Fish Creek Park, I decided to pay a visit there and see what I could find.
…before being chased off by chickadees to yet another perch where it stayed for a minute and appeared all set to hunt when a Hairy Woodpecker spied the owl and proceeded to land very close and raise a heck of a racket…that in turn attracted what seemed like half the park’s small bird population – chickadees, nuthatches, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, magpies, Blue Jays…even the kingfisher did a fly-by! Well that was enough for the little owl and I last saw it flying off deep into the forest. A great end to an enjoyable weekend of birding!