Friday, 7 June 2013

Birding in Bowmont Park

Last weekend I joined a small group of intrepid birders in braving the rain and heading out to explore Bowmont Natural Environment Park.  This park is on the north bank of the Bow River, below the community of Varsity in northwest Calgary (click on the location above for a map).  There is some great birding habitat in this area: riparian habitat, small ponds, deciduous woodland, and shrubby ravines.  The area is actually scheduled for redevelopment to reduce the impact of dogs on the river and to reintegrate the old gravel pit into the natural park, among other goals.  You can check out the redevelopment plan and, for the next couple of weeks, provide feedback on the City of Calgary website.

As was to be expected with the intermittent, at times heavy rain, the light was not very good for photography but I did get a few decent shots, as captioned below.  There's also a species list at the bottom of this post which is probably fairly typical for this area at this time of year, although Violet-Green Swallow and Common Yellowthroat were nice treats and we were surprised not to hear any Warbling Vireo.

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, bringing nesting material back to a platform beside the riverbank 
Lincoln's Sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii, is differentiated from other Melospiza sparrows by gray "eyebrow" and slightly buffy sides, finer streaking on the breast, and of course voice. 
Downy Woodpeckers, Picoides pubescens, don't always come to the hand even in the winter, so it was a nice surprise to have a visit from this male.
This White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotricha leucophrys, was clearly a male - indistinguishable by appearance but singing boldly while his mate was keeping a low profile further down in the bush.
There were lots of Grey Catbirds, Dumetella carolinensis, mewing from inside the silverberry bushes.  They don't just do cat impressions either - also Robin, Flycatcher, Kinglet, and on and on.  Check this out...
Species List for this outing...
  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Blue-winged Teal
  4. Common Goldeneye
  5. Common Merganser
  6. Ring-necked Pheasant
  7. Osprey
  8. Spotted Sandpiper
  9. Rock Pigeon
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Western Wood-Pewee
  12. Alder Flycatcher
  13. Least Flycatcher
  14. Eastern Kingbird
  15. Black-billed Magpie
  16. American Crow
  17. Common Raven
  18. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  19. Tree Swallow
  20. Violet-green Swallow
  21. Bank Swallow
  22. Black-capped Chickadee
  23. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  24. White-breasted Nuthatch
  25. House Wren
  26. American Robin
  27. Gray Catbird
  28. European Starling
  29. Cedar Waxwing
  30. Orange-crowned Warbler
  31. Common Yellowthroat
  32. Yellow Warbler
  33. Chipping Sparrow
  34. Clay-colored Sparrow
  35. Savannah Sparrow
  36. Song Sparrow
  37. Lincoln's Sparrow
  38. White-crowned Sparrow
  39. Red-winged Blackbird
  40. Brown-headed Cowbird
  41. House Finch
  42. American Goldfinch
  43. House Sparrow 


  1. Nice photos and good information on the park redevelopment. Glad you could join us.
    I could listen to Gray Catbirds all Day!

    1. Thanks for having me along! It was a fun morning and, as is often the case, rain can make for good birding.