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As winter takes hold, we’re seeing the last of our fall migrants. It reminded me to look back on wonderful summer of birding. Here’s what showed up in the binoculars, and what I managed to capture on the trusty Panasonic point and shoot:

Common Loons at Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is our most reliable local spot for nesting loons, and this summer’s pair raised a single chick. The youngster was a real crowd-pleaser, especially in the first few weeks it took to the water in its fluffy down coat.

Greater Yellowlegs at Lake O’Hara

Some people can’t believe how short summer is around here. (Trust me, it’s short – a couple of days ago I skated on Moraine Lake… on October 11!). Sometimes the proof is in the birding. You can mark the beginning of autumn when you see the first shorebirds migrating south. This Greater Yellowlegs was already on his way to the southern US or Central America… on July 20!

Hawk Owls on the Hawk Creek trail

Seeing a Hawk Owl makes for an exciting occasion. Seeing a whole family is a once in a lifetime moment!. At the end of a long day on the trail, we heard the gang before we saw them. Hawk owls make an amazing sound. I can’t describe it, just listen to this. The light wasn’t great for photography, but still, nothing compares to the intense gaze of an owl. The shot above is one of the adults, and the one below is one of the youngsters.


Harelquin Duck at Lake O’Hara

Harlequin Ducks are famous for living in whitewater, both in the fast streams of the Rockies, and in the surf zone along the rocky west coast. True to her whitewater roots, this gal was motoring right up through the current of Opabin Creek.

Spruce Grouse near Temple Lake

Feathers like this are nature’s high art. And sometimes these grouse are as bold as brass. Remember, I’ve got a point and shoot camera: I’ve gotta get close to fill the frame with feathers. This one didn’t budge as we crept by on the trail. We could have touched it…

Common Raven at Sentinel Pass

There’s nothing common about the Common Raven. Bold, cheeky, playful, tough, and just downright interesting. Plus, they carry hints of green, purple and navy blue in their iridescent feathers. Stick around for winter, and you might see a rare pair of Ice Ravens!