Saturday, 14 May 2011

Return to Inglewood

A breezy but sunny morning greeted me as I headed out on Saturday morning for a second trip to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in as many days.  After the success of Thursday's trip I wanted to see what I could find early in the morning and also join the BirdsCalgary group for the first part of their Big Sit.  The first sighting of note was a Swainson's Hawk flying low across the open field and then landing in the line of spruce trees that separates the field from the lagoon.  I took a guess at where it was likely to be found in the tree line and stuck my head out between the trees.  At first it seemed like the hawk was gone, until I looked right up beside me and had a big surprise.  You might think the hawk would be surprised too but there was no alarm call, no fluffed up feathers and no gaping - just "beautiful buteo" about 5 yards away from me.
Swainson's Hawk, Buteo swainsoni

In the woods on the far side of the lagoon I found "first of year" Tree Swallows which were very vocal and chasing each other on and off perches in the tallest snags.
Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
Directly below all of this dogfighting I heard a rustling in the leaf litter.  Initially discounting it as another one of the many American Robins that kept hopping across the trail it seemed a little too quiet and a little too close.  With a little persistence I made out the following spectacularly helpful view.

Given recent reports of White-crowned Sparrows, I played that call note on my iPhone to no response.  The call of a White-throated Sparrow elicited a very different reaction - the sparrow shot up onto a branch over the trail.  As if to say, "I hear your call and raise you" he performed several refrains of "Oh-sweet-Canada-Canada-Canada" and then returned to foraging in the undergrowth.  You can hear the call at Xeno-Canto
White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis

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