Posted by Dan Arndt
The Friends of Fish Creek Spring Birding Course spent the last two weeks visiting Bowmont Park, and then revisiting the Weaselhead the following week. Bowmont Park was rather quiet, and seemed to be a little less productive than most of our other locations, or so it seemed to me after the weeks prior to that adding so many new birds to my year list. The Weaselhead, which I’ll highlight later this week, seemed rather unproductive as well, but both of these locations provided some really great views of birds that tend to be rather discreet. Enjoy the photos and stories this week.
As a cyclist in Calgary, I’ve been through Bowmont Park a number of times, up on the hillside, down by the river, and all through many of the winding back trails in between. It’s almost definitive of the sort of environment that Calgary resides in. From the sheer cliff faces cut into the glacial till housing Bank Swallow nests on the north face, to the various small ponds home to Spotted Sandpipers, Blue-winged Teal, Mallards, and various other waterfowl, to the open prairie grasses on the hilltops home to White-crowned, Savannah, and Clay-colored Sparrows, it features everything from the foothills to west, to the plains to the east, and the range of birds that one would and could expect throughout.
It seemed a quiet day overall though, but we did get some good looks at a House Wren early on.
Northern Rough-winged Swallows, though not incredibly numerous, were just hanging around on some wires…
and in the air above the ponds.
This Osprey was busy flying back and forth from the river, providing for its mate sitting on the nest, and while there weren’t any chicks visible, chances are pretty good that she was at least incubating some eggs.
One spring bird that was in huge numbers were the Cedar Waxwings, many of which were posing nicely in the sunlight for us, while exhibiting their usual behaviour of resting on the edge of a branch before flying out briefly to snatch a fly, moth, or other flying insect right from the air before returning to the branch and swallowing it down.
On top of the cliffs were a pair of Gray Catbirds which we could hear from half a kilometer away, calling back and forth among the caragana bushes continuously as we passed by.
As we returned along the main pathway by the Bow River, we noticed a number of knotholes in the poplar trees lining the river valley, many of which housed Tree Swallows protecting their eggs from predators.
Also in protective mode were the American Crows, which were spotted harassing three separate Red-tailed Hawks in the distance as we reached the end of the pathway, and the end of our walk.