Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 10/11/2015

Photo taken on October 10, 2015

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Anne Elliott
E of Calgary
Ralph Klein Park
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10 October 2015

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Ralph Klein Park

Ralph Klein Park
All three photos posted this morning were taken yesterday, 10 October 2015, during a day birding trip east of Calgary. A usually happens when we search sloughs/ponds, the birds were all too far away to take photos of them. Instead of a list of the bird species seen, I will add our leader, Terry Korolyk's, detailed account of where we saw what. Thanks so much for this, Terry, and for taking us on another great day of birding!

"Ralph Klein Park is a 30 hectares wetland park in the City of Calgary, Alberta. It is named after former premier of Alberta and mayor of Calgary Ralph Klein. Construction started in 2009, and the dedication ceremony was on July 19, 2010." From Wikipedia.

"A small, but, very experienced troop of 5 birders turned up for today's Field Trip going east of Calgary. The only bird of note at Glenmore Reservoir when we met was a Common Loon. From there, we left eastward stopping firstly by the City of Calgary Landfill. Good numbers of Gulls, but, amongst all the Ring-billed Gulls were only a few California Gulls. There may have been 1 juvenile Herring Gull. From there, we headed eastward ending up at the Walmart Parking Lot at 17 Avenue and Stoney Trail, where there was a flock of possibly a couple of thousand Gulls. We checked them out. All were Ring-billed Gulls except for 2 FRANKLIN'S GULLS. At October 10, it's getting a bit late for this species. It looks like the good weather has had most of them leave already.

From there, we moved on to Chestermere Lake. A regular staging area for Common Mergansers in the Fall, probably 350 were in the north end of the Lake. Also of note were about 50 Bonaparte's Gulls There was nothing much off Sunset Park on the east side of the Lake. From the Dam, we found 2 Common Loons on the far west side; these were probably the same birds that were there a week or so ago. Also, there were 2 adult HERRING GULLS. We also heard here one of our only 2 Red-tailed Hawks of the day.

Between the north end of Chestermere and Sunset Park, we went over to McElroy Slough on the other side of Highway One. Upon arrival, we were rewarded with a superb view of an adult NORTHERN SHRIKE. Piles of waterfowl on the slough, but the only birds really of note were 5 BARROW'S GOLDENEYE which included 3 adult males. Other than those, there were extremely large numbers of American Wigeons there today. This seems to be a favorite Fall staging area for this species. Ring-necked Ducks also were still in good numbers there; this species has been hanging on there this Fall. A WESTERN MEADOWLARK was also heard there.

From the Dam at Chestermere, we headed over to Highway One and 791. Gadwall dominated here with 450 birds. We continued north on Highway 791 turning east on Inverlake Road. Along here, we had the best bird of the day, a PRAIRIE FALCON moving westward--we had great looks at it flying.The slough south of the road at Range Road 275 was so congested with American Coots, we couldn't estimate the numbers.

We didn't see much else of note until we were approaching Langdon on Highway 560, when we watched an adult light-phase Eastern Red-tailed Hawk soar over the intersection. Weed Lake had our only shorebirds of the day with 6 tossed about as a number for Greater Yellowlegs; probably 500-600 Dowitchers, and 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS; October 10 around these parts is getting on for this species.

From Weed Lake, we returned to Langdon, driving south, then west on Twp. Rd. 232. A male Ring-necked Pheasant was a surprise find along the road going westward.

The large slough east of Shepard didn't hold much, except for possibly 3 BLACKBIRDS, so we moved on to Ralph Klein Park. Large numbers of waterfowl again, almost all resting, particularly Northern Pintail (mind-boggling numbers), and Canada Geese. There were 6 SWANS there today, but because of the distance and wind, we could only identify one of them -- an adult TRUMPETER. At the south end of the Park, a Merlin added to our day's total."