Feast and Famine

In stark contrast to last year, this fall in the Bow Valley has been a slow affair only with one or two high points. Where last autumn there with birds in every tree, this one has been very dead. There have, however been a few high points, including a bird which I hadn’t seen for quite a while – my second Alberta report of a Black-throated Blue Warbler!

It was 2016 when I last found one, a male in my own backyard.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler, 2016

On the same day as the female BTBW, we found first-of-season Surf Scoters, a Palm Warbler, and a county-high number of 150 Snow Geese. These exciting birds were all results of an early snow storm, which brought down migrants and contained them in the Bow Valley for a short while. The following day, I birded Policeman’s Creek in search of more birds impeded by the same weather system. Amazingly, I found the second ever Lapland Longspur for the hotspot, on the exact same date as I located the first last year!

A species which habituates the flat prairies east of Calgary, we only get a very few passing through each migration season, and it’s very rare to find them in such a forested area as this.

Lapland Longspur

American Kestrel, another good bird for the Valley

Apart from that weekend, there’s been very little around. One solitary Greater White-fronted Goose turned up on a school ground near my house, and proved to be my 250th species for the county!

First-year Greater White-fronted Goose

First-year Greater White-fronted Goose

All in all, a slow season with just enough to be memorable. Hopefully there’s more to come as waterfowl migration really gets underway!

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