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Canmore Spring Bird Walks – May 27th Trip Report

The third edition of Canmore Spring Bird Walks began quietly, oddly lacking the usual morning chorus. This would be the theme of the first half of the walk, in which we saw and heard little apart from American Robins, Lincoln’s Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds. Once we got to the backside of the creek, however, that changed.

A slow paced musical trill reverberated across the marsh, as participants got serenaded by a relative rarity, the charismatic Swamp Sparrow. The Harlequin Ducks have departed for faster mountain streams in which to breed, but a female Northern Pintail made a fly-by appearance.


The Harlequins had stayed over a week, but vanished just when we needed them!

Strolling back via the boardwalk, we were treated to excellent views of Yellow Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrows and this male Common Yellowthroat.


Common Yellowthroat

Towards the conclusion of the walk, we relocated the Swamp Sparrow, along with Song Sparrow and juvenile Mallards. The really special birds didn’t come until the final fleeting moments of the walk, though. As the group began to dissipate, a Calliope Hummingbird hovered mere feet from the Big Head statue, and a female Yellow-headed Blackbird perched on the Main Street bridge.


Female Yellow-headed Blackbird

This is the first time a Yellow-headed Blackbird has been reported to eBird here, but I know that I saw one many years back, on Policeman’s Creek. If anyone wants to see the full list for the day, click here for my checklist. I hope to see everybody out next time, on June 10th. By then, most of our birds should have arrived, and we’ll be looking for birds like last year’s vagrant Bullock’s Oriole. On Policeman’s Creek, there’s always a good chance for unusual individuals!

Recent Arrivals – Warblers!

One of the most popular spring migrants families is the Warblers, with their bright plumage and stunning songs capturing the attention of even non-birders. In the last week, many species of Warbler have returned to Alberta, including even a few Black-throated Green Warblers spread across the province.

One of my personal favourite warblers is the Cape May. Bright yellow, with black streaking and an orange face patch, this small bird tends to stay high up in spruce or deciduous trees. Yesterday, however, we got lucky with one and it came down low for some photographs.


Male Cape May Warbler

Another warbler which just came in is one which breeds in Banff, but has not been seen in Canmore until I found this individual on Policeman’s Creek: Blackpoll Warbler!


Male Blackpoll Warbler

Finally, the American Redstart. Three this morning in Flowing Waters was a good count for this time, but these charismatic little fellows will be commonplace in Canmore before long.


I have yet to photograph a Redstart with my new camera, so here’s a photo from spring last year.

Here’s to the Tennessee, MacGillivary’s and more still to come!

Feathers on Friday

The snow has finally fallen here in Canmore, after two weeks of positive temperatures and sun. In honour of that, here is a Snow Goose (get it?) from Policeman’s Creek.
OK, now for the real photo: a Trumpeter Swan on the Bow River. 

Other Feathers on Fridays:

Wolf Song Blog                                         Birds In Your Back Yard

Back Yard Bird Blog

Feathers on Friday – Feeder Birds

This week, I’ve been spoiled for choice for a FoF photo, due to the extravagance of the birds at my feeders. How to remedy  this? Simply post three. The first is an inquisitive Clark’s Nutcracker, the second a Black-capped Chickadee and the third is a Black-billed Magpie trying to get a grip on a suet cage. Hope you enjoy them!

Other Feathers on Fridays:

Wolf Song Blog                                         Birds In Your Back Yard

Back Yard Bird Blog

An Exploration of my blog

Over the 30 months or so I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve covered a lot of ground – quite literally – and it’s getting trickier to know how to find older entries.  This is the first step to improving that.

I’d like to highlight some posts and categories you might like to read.  Let me start with my book review of “North AIMG_6126merican Owls“.

I have regular series on “What Bird Wednesday” and “Feathers on Friday” – check them out.

Also look at the Categories section on the right hand side – you may need to scroll down to see it.


You won’t be surprised that a bird blogger likes to get out and see birds, so let me show you some of my favourite trip reports.  Maybe you’ve seen the movie “The Big Year”? Well this year I did a “Big Day“.

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

We’re fortunate enough to live close to the southern end of the Snowy Owl’s winter range; find out what happened on our Snowy Owl Hunt!  And whenever – and wherever – we travel, I enjoy nature.  One of my Birding Trips is reported on here.

I’m grateful for all the people who have helped me as a birder, and wrote about some other things why in my series “The Twelve Days of Christmas“. Other posts in the series can be found using the ‘Search’ box at the top right of this page.

One way we can give back to birds and the wider environment is through the(formorly Baillie) Great Canadian Birdathon.  Read about how I raised just over $1,000 doing what I love to do!

I also like to consider and examine the birds, in such posts as “Perplexing Plumage” and “The Birds are Back!“.


I’d love to know what you think of my blog.  Find out more about me and leave your thoughts there or on any post.  Thanks for visiting!