With the weather getting colder, I knew that this would likely be my last chance to do any serious birding, at least for places out of town. So I found myself anxiously watching the weather forecast in the days prior to my trip down to Calgary this past Sunday. Things didn't look promising as it was cool and overcast in Edmonton and the downright wet and dreary by the time I reached Red Deer.
Fortune smiled on me and by the time I reached Calgary around the noon hour, while it was still on the cool side at least it looked like the threat of rain was gone. I checked in to my hotel and found a had a really good view of the Calgary window from my second floor room....
I had a good 3 or 4 hours before I had to be changed and on my way to my concert so I had plenty of time to check out Prince's Island Park. I had really wanted to explore the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary and had plans to do so before the whole evacuation ordeal threw a big wrench in the plan. I have every intention of getting there next spring. In the mean time, Prince's Island Park certainly wasn't a bad option and it's absolutely gorgeous this time of year with the fall colours.
I loved how tranquil the place is even though it's smack dab in the middle of Calgary. There were a couple of wedding parties there as well taking photos. It certainly makes for a romantic place. I spent a good couple of hours here just enjoying the colours and the quiet. Birding-wise, things started out rather slower than I had hoped. The east side of the island which has a couple of small marsh areas and which I had explored back in the spring, was closed off due to work being down to repair some flood damage.
For the first half-hour I saw plenty of magpies and chickadees....and squirrels, but nothing particularly interesting until I spotted my first double-crested cormorant. Another one for the life list! I reached the western tip of the island and found a park bench off to the side where I thought I could give my legs a rest and started thinking how nice it would be if something really cool just suddenly appeared right in front of me.......and then I spotted a groups of three common mergansers...so another one for the life list.
The photos don't really do the place justice and I found myself wishing I had more time but I'm sure I'll be back on a future date.
By the time I was ready to go I had a list of 12 species, which wasn't too considering the time of year and my skill level. Here's what I saw....