Friends of Fish Creek Winter Birding 2013, Week 3 – Griffith Woods

Posted by Dan Arndt

There’s nothing quite like a quiet Sunday morning bird walk, and the gorgeous scenery of Griffith Woods was no exception. The unfortunate part is that it seemed like the birds decided that it was time for them to take a walk too, making it a little too quiet in the park!

The light wasn’t the greatest, but the company was excellent, and while the birds were scarce, it was otherwise a great morning.

Elbow River through Griffith Woods

Elbow River through Griffith Woods

Starting at the parking lot on the east end of the park, we worked clockwise around the park. While we heard a Common Raven or two on the early part of our walk, we didn’t get looks at any birds whatsoever aside from a Black-capped Chickadee or three for at least half an hour after our start.

Griffith Woods

Griffith Woods

Our first good looks were of a group of Boreal Chickadees, along with a number of Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches, who came down to investigate what all the commotion was. After a few minutes of posing and checking us out, they moved on, but not before allowing us some very close looks and a few photos.

Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee

A few flyovers of some Common Redpolls and White-winged Crossbills were the only birds seen for nearly another half hour. Travelling from the east end to almost the very westernmost edge of the park, we were once again granted good looks at a few more species. A pair of Blue Jays began calling to the south of where we were standing, and as we scanned the horizon to the west, this gorgeous Rough-legged Hawk popped into view.

Blue Jay

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

It seemed that our day was finally making a turn for the better, with the sun making an appearance, the birds seemed to become much more active. The ice on the river though, was just stunning.

Ice Crystals

Ice Crystals

It was, unfortunately, a short-lived reprieve. Heading back along the pathway was even quieter still. You know it’s a slow winter’s day in Calgary when a small flock of Mallards is the most interesting thing you’ve seen in a while.

Mallards

Mallards

It wasn’t completely uneventful on the walk back, but we did get a few nice looks at some more Black-capped Chickadees having a snack on one of the interpretive maps, along with a few Common Redpolls.

Black-capped Chickadee

Common Redpoll

Our last bird of the day was our first actual looks at a bird we’d been hearing all day, this Common Raven.

Common Raven

Common Raven

A few of us decided to explore the park a little more, as the sun came out once again, and we did manage to find a Downy Woodpecker and a few very cooperative Boreal Chickadees in near perfect light.

Downy

Downy Woodpecker

Boreal Chickadee

Curious Boreal Chickadee

Perched Boreal Chickadee

What’s up there?

You can’t see me!

Next week, Carburn Park! I hope there’s a bit more variety there, and there certainly should be greater numbers on the Bow River.

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