Walking the Weaselhead

As a Calgary native, I consider it a particularly unfortunate state of affairs that it’s only in the last two years that I began exploring the Weaselhead. Accessed from either North or South Glenmore Park, it is quite likely one of Calgary’s most unique micro-environments, in which three species of hummingbird can be found in the summer, and the Boreal Chickadee can be found in winter. Hearing that it would be the location for our final birding walk of the autumn birding course, I was excited at the opportunity to see some new and exciting species.

It began by walking down the winding trail from the 37th Street parking lot at the western entrance to North Glenmore Park. After stocking one of the feeding stations, we briefly left, but rushed straight back when we noticed a robin-sized bird fly in and land on the ground at the feeder. It was another photo first for me to be able to snap some very close-up shots of a Pine Grosbeak. One of the distinctly beautiful birds both for its song and plumage, with a brutally sharp bite.

Heading down to the bottom feeder stations, we were delighted by the number of Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Common Redpolls taking advantage of the free food available at the feeders.
This Downy Woodpecker also was taking an interest in the feeders, and seemed entirely unfazed at how close we were able to get.
Across the bridge we were treated to the sight of a few more Common Redpolls, followed by Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches feeding at the fence-posts along the pathway.
I think our best bird of the day though was this Pileated Woodpecker who made an appearance and actually sat still long enough for us to get some shots of it.
The feeding station where the Boreal Chickadee pair had been seen all week was productive, but unfortunately the Boreal Chickadees didn’t show up. We did get some nice close views of the Red-breasted Nuthatches again, and the more common Black-capped Chickadees and a single Northern Flicker.
Finally we headed back, only seeing the same species at those feeders on the way back, and nothing in particular that really stole the show from the beautiful Pileated Woodpecker.
And that wrapped up the Autumn Birding course for us. In the new year, Bob Lefebvre will be leading a Sunday walk with the same group until mid to late April, and between now and then are a few important outings on my list, the biggest of which being the Christmas Bird Count, which I’ll post my photos and stories from next week.
Posted by Daniel Arndt.

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