Rob English took these photos north of the city in mid-August 2012. Black-crowned Night-Herons have arrived back in the Calgary area. Frank Lake is a good location to find them.
Posted by Bob Lefebvre
I thought I’d do a series of posts on some of the smaller ponds and birding locations in Calgary that many birders may not have visited. I’ll start with a fairly new pond that was constructed just south of the new Alberta Children’s Hospital.
This location, which is not far from the Bow River, lies just west of the University Heights neighbourhood in NW Calgary, and alongside West Campus Blvd. There are several paved paths into the area. To access the area by car, park on Utah Drive and take the short path to the pond.
The main feature here is the large body of water which is almost bisected by a long thin peninsula. The pond attracts waterfowl, a few shorebirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, and others. There is also a large open field north of the pond which attracts hawks. A pair of Swainson’s Hawks has nested just SE of the pond for the last few years. I have seen up to six Swainson’s Hawks over the field at once. A Rough-legged Hawk staked out its territory here last winter.
Looking across the pond from the northeast corner.
A closer look from the northeast, with Edworthy Park across the river in the backgound.
Three views from the south side, looking towards the Children’s Hospital:
A few closer looks which feature some of the birds found here:
Mallards and Canada Geese nest here.
Red-winged Blackbirds nest in the cat-tails around the pond.
A Mallard, Northern Shoveler, two American Wigeons, and four Cinnamon Teal on the peninsula.
This location will only get better as the trees and shrubs around the pond mature. So if you live nearby, or are passing through this area, it is worth a visit.
For more information on where to go birding, see the Nature Calgary Birding Locations Page. It has an excellent and comprehensive guide to many locations in the city and the surrounding region.
Ospreys have returned and have started to nest on platforms across the city. When this Osprey arrived at the platform at MacLeod Trail and Highway 22x on April 24, he first had to evict a pair of Canada Geese who had thoughts of nesting there too. Photos by Joe Harley.
Joe also got some great shots of an Osprey with a fish south of Carburn Park. This is one of the pair that is nesting at the Lafarge platform along MacLeod Trail just south of Southland Park.
Paul Turbitt first saw this magnificent ten-point White-tailed Deer buck in Fish Creek Provincial Park last December. He photographed it, and its young companion, in late December and early January.
For more of Paul’s photos, see his blog, Turbo’s Track and Tour.
The Ospreys are back on the nesting platform at the Calgary Zoo. So far there are just a few sticks on the platform, so if you tune in to the live Enmax web cam, over the next few weeks you can watch them build the nest, lay eggs, and raise their young until they fledge.
Below is a link to the web cam. We will also have a link on the right sidebar of our Home Page throughout the nesting season. Check out the U of C Peregrine Falcon nest cam too!
In about two months the Alberta government will be releasing its draft of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. This will have a huge impact on the future of the wildlife, plants, and water resources of the headwaters. Naturalist, writer, and former superintendent of Banff National Park Kevin Van Tighem has started an online petition asking the government to “Treat our Alberta Headwaters like the treasures they are.”
Kevin says, “Those responsible for finalizing the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan are under a lot of pressure to protect the status quo for industrial-scale logging in the headwaters, and are being lobbied very aggressively by off-road vehicle users who want no restrictions on their activities. I believe we have a good Minister; I also believe she’s under a lot of pressure.”
Kevin adds, “Most of us likely remember – I certainly do – when the foothills and Front Ranges were like paradise — before they were brought down to their current state by multiple-abuse. The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan will have quasi-regulatory status and is meant to be a strategic roadmap to our next fifty years. It’s really important that those who believe we can do better for our headwaters – the forests, creeks, meadows, trout, grizzlies and wild places that yield all the water that comes down the rivers to where we all live – make themselves heard.”
Here is the text of the petition:
A century of clear cut logging, oil and gas development and out-of-control off-road vehicle abuse has left the headwaters of the South Saskatchewan River fragmented and scarred. Natural river flows are 12% lower than in the mid twentieth century. Climate change will only make things worse.
Alberta is about to release a South Saskatchewan regional land use plan that was prepared with wide citizen consultation. But special interest groups with a stake in business-as-usual want to ensure it contains no limits on off-road abuse, increases clear cut logging, and promotes more development.
Those who care about healthy landscapes, clean rivers and future water security need a chance to inform the government that they support a plan that keeps the mountains and foothills green and healthy by establishing new parks, restricting off-road vehicles to official trails, replacing clear cutting with restoration logging, and repairing landscapes damaged by past industrial and motorized abuse.
Healthy intact headwaters don’t just produce more and better water – they yield better fishing and hunting, more secure and productive habitat for elk, grizzlies and native trout, and the aesthetic and ecological qualities that yield the finest of recreational environments.
If you would like to support this cause and sign this petition, go to the petition website, and share this with friends and family.