Ducks on the Move!

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Canmore residents are gradually trickling back from Mexico, Hawaii and Idaho (yes, Idaho – apparently the biking there is great), and so are our favourite birds. First to arrive are the waterfowl – Wigeon, Pintail, Scaup and everything else commonly found on Alberta’s countless prairie potholes throughout the short months of summer.

Lesser Scaup, Spring Creek, Spring 2018

Last year was a bumper year for ducks on Policeman’s Creek, and hopefully this year will be equally good. Here are a couple photos to encourage everyone to get out there and find the first real wave of migration as it hits the valley.

American Wigeon on Policeman’s Creek, Spring 2018

One of ten Northern Shovelers on Policeman’s Creek in April 2018

NSHO

Northern Shoveler, close-up

And it’s not just ducks, either. Mergansers, Geese, Loons and others slip through in these first weeks of the rush, and they aren’t to be overlooked.

Home male

A pair of Hooded Mergansers turned up – Policeman’s Creek, Spring 2018

Home female

Female Hooded Merganser

Canada Goose

Canada Geese overwinter in Calgary, but the Canmore ones head south for the winter.

Before long, the Mallards begin their mating rituals. A riveting contest ensues, as males battles to win mating privileges with the best females.

MALL

The sparring Mallards are a great spring sight – Policeman’s Creek, Spring 2018

Last to arrive are the Harlequin Ducks, their plumage brilliant in the strong May sun as the journey upstream to find a suitable nesting place.

HADU

Harlequin Ducks resplendent on Policeman’s Creek, Spring 2018

Harlequin Ducks

Harlequins, Spring 2017, Lake Minnewanka

I hope you enjoyed the photos, and I encourage anyone with the time to spend a few hours in the field, as the weather warms up and the waterfowl pour in. If you are interested in sharing or seeing sightings from the Bow Valley, the Bow Valley Birding Facebook group is the place to go, and Alberta Birds is a wonderful sight for the rest of the province.

3 thoughts on “Ducks on the Move!

  1. Lorrie Anderson

    Enjoyed your blog and photos Ethan!
    Policeman’s Creek is a gem for Canmore birders! We hope to drive out from Calgary and check it out soon.

    Reply
    1. Neil

      I may be stealing Ethan’s thunder, but the Canmore Bird Walks start on the last Sunday morning in April, biweekly until June. It would be good to see you out here.

      Reply

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