In the first two weeks of July, I accompanied my wife to a conference in
Calgary after which we had a short holiday in the Banff and Jasper National
Parks in the Canadian Rockies. There are birding guide books to both parks,
but both are out of print. I relied on information from websites and some
postings to Birding Aus.
While my wife was conferencing, I visited Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Fish
Creek Provincial Park, Weaselhead Reserve and Nose Hill Park in Calgary as
well as going further afield to Drumheller and Little Fish Lake which are
about 100 km north-east of the city. Inglewood and Little Fish Lake were
much more productive than the other sites.
In the Canmore/Banff area, I spent time on Sulphur Mountain, Vermillion
Lakes, Minnewanka Lake and Fernland Trail. In Jasper, we visited Maligne
Lake, Whistler's Mountain, Celestine Lake Road and Cottonwood Sloughs and
later had a day in Lake Louise including a ride on the Ski Resort gondola.
In all, I saw almost a 100 species of birds, about 24 of which I had not
seen before. The highlights were Common Loons calling on some of the lakes,
female Harlequin Ducks on the Maligne River and on Moraine Lake, Swainson's
Hawk, Bullock's Oriole and Franklin's Gull at Inglewood, White-tailed
Ptarmigan on Whistler's Mountain, Barred Owl and Calliope Hummingbird at
Fernland Trail in Banff, Western Kingbird at Little Fish Lake, Grey Jay and
Clark's Nutcracker at various stopping places on the Icefields Parkway,
Western Tanager at Muleshoe near Banff and Western Meadowlark near
Drumheller. I had trouble with the ducks which seemed to be all in eclipse,
or else the males were hiding. I saw Bald but not Golden Eagles.
The animals were also impressive - we saw 15 species including Pika, Ground
Squirrels, Hoary Marmots, Porcupine, Beaver, Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Mule
and White-tailed Deer and both bears, although the Grizzly was a long way
off. I was disappointed not to see Mountain Goat.
If you need more information about this beautiful area, please do not
hesitate to E-mail me.