Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Bird Count

I joined 5 other birders for the 60th Annual Calgary Area Christmas Bird Count today.  We had a terrific day out exploring South Glenmore Park and the Weaselhead in lovely warm winter weather.  This year continues to be a great one for finches with dozens and dozens of Pine Grosbeaks.  We also found a few pleasant surprises such as Northern Goshawk, Hoary Redpoll, Ruffed Grouse, and Boreal Chickadee.  Here are a few photos with comments as necessary - I'll post some more later in the week.  I have also uploaded some to my Flickr account and Dan Arndt said he would be doing likewise in the next day or two.
If the day had a "theme" bird, I think this was it.  I forget the final tally but we certainly saw a lot more than the 6 Pine Grosbeaks of last year's count!
A single Boreal Chickadee tagging along with half a dozen Black-capped gave me best ever views of this species.
A pair of Ruffed Grouse flushed up into the trees as we walked along a trail beside the reservoir.  The intricate pattern of this bird's feathers is remarkable.
We engaged in what John Acorn refers to as "the Great Redpoll Debate" but remain confident that this is a Hoary Redpoll (in front of a Common) based on the white tail coverts, broad white band on the wing, and overall "frostier" appearance.

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