Sunday, 4 December 2011

Let it Snow!

As one of those irritating people who cheers the year's first big dump of snow, I've enjoyed the last 24 hours in Calgary.  The seven inch blanket of the white stuff that arrived last night added an appropriately wintery touch to picking up our Christmas tree and stringing up new lights in the big spruce in our front yard.  The snow also provided the opportunity for my first winter birding of the year.  All of the usual suspects were to be found at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary including some very friendly Black-capped Chickadees and the usual massive rafts of Canada Geese on the river.  I also found a small flock of White-winged Crossbills, a Calgary first for me.
White-winged Crossbill, Loxia leucoptera, pondering which cone to tackle next
Oh yeah!  That's the spot!
Even with that beak, cones can be cracked only with copious contortions!
After this stop I headed to LaFarge Meadows in Fish Creek Park - having read an article about Gyrfalcon's in the current issue of BirdWatching magazine I was possessed by the wildly optimistic notion that I might find this raptor hunting among the ducks.  Unsurprisingly there were no Gyrfalcons or Goshawks but I did find a lone Bald Eagle surveying the hundreds of Common Goldeneye's and Mallards.  More unusually I also came across a late (and very chilly looking) Killdeer to round out a pleasant winter's day of birding.
One very cold looking, albeit well camouflaged, Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus 

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