Sunday, 27 May 2012

Camping Among the Songbirds

I'm out of the province at the moment but wanted to leave behind something for the week.  This past holiday weekend we returned to Kinbrook Island near Brooks for a family camping trip.  Our two year old daughter had her first tent camping experience and everyone had a relaxing, if slightly sleep deprived, weekend.  As I have written previously, Kinbrook Island Provincial Park is a wonderful birding location combining prairie grassland, prairie wetland, and deciduous woodland habitats to create a real migrant trap.  For the most part, I was not actively birding - well I guess I always am, but you know what I mean - and we still saw nearly 50 species, including 11 "first of year".  Here are a few photos - as always, click any image for a slideshow:
Kinbrook Island has a healthy population of Tree Swallows, nesting in tree cavities all around the campground.  Perhaps the apparent absence of Starlings is helping them to be more successful here than some Calgary city locations.
Baltimore Orioles were present in much larger numbers than I remember from last year.  Sometimes there were four  or five birds chasing and calling to each other immediately above our tent site.
I associate Mourning Doves strongly with growing up in Ontario, where we could have half a dozen picking up seeds from under our feeders.  Their call is a nice soothing sound to wake up to.

There were probably a lot more warblers to be seen, given more time to quietly look for them.  That being said, this is the best look I've ever had at a Tennessee Warbler.

Yellow Warblers were all over the campground, seemingly calling from every other tree.
Warbling Vireos have also returned, searching for insects in the poplars
Our weekend gave me first of year sightings of both common Alberta Kingbirds - Eastern and this Western Kingbird

The Western Kingbirds were putting on a good show - drawing the attention of even the non-birders with their noisy fighting and displaying above our heads.

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