Monday, 18 June 2018

7b. The City of Calgary

Mallards in Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Calgary.

After our big trek around the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, I needed some lunch. We headed off to the pub in Calgary.

 I drove, JB navigated. We parked, and spotted a hare running along the parking lot, parallel to the sidewalk!

Something happened here! It's good seeing police on bikes. The motorcycle looked a bit iffy!

I don't know! Maybe they were playing Pok√©mon Go? 

The horses in front of city hall are lovely. We were pretty tired after tromping around.

Picture via

I like taking photos of people taking photos! This is a lovely spot, Olympic Plaza.

I don't know if you can read the signage on the bus: "training bus"

There were statues of the Famous Five. I'd seen the one in Ottawa and didn't know they had them here! In brief, these are the five prairie women who managed to convince the all-male government to allow women to be declared 'persons.'

  • Part of the Famous Five monument on Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • They sought to have women legally considered persons so that women could be appointed to the Senate.

Then there was this really neat building being built.

As I was sitting in the pub (which I will show tomorrow), I noticed a yellow jacket building a nest. It was cool. I ignored it, except for taking close-ups, and it just did its work.

 yellow jacket wasp
Yellow jacket from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Our trip west

Thursday, May 31st 1.  Getting There Off to YVR!
Friday, June 1st #2. Vancouver and kidlets!
Saturday, June 2nd #3. YVR's Queen Elizabeth Park
Sunday, June 3rd #4. YVR, splashing,  sushi
Monday , June 4th #5.: YVR=>YYC, lunch in Canmore, drive to Deer Lodge, Lake Louise

Sunday, 17 June 2018

7a. Calgary's Inglewood Park, birding

Wednesday, June 6th

Our final, full day in Alberta (we left Thursday morning). Needing a bit of peace and quiet, we went to the park after brekkie. JB had lived here 12 years, traveled many a mile on his bike, but had never visited this park. It was delightful.

Sadly, it's another tale of White Colonialism, in a region where First Nations used to fish, and hunt the critters that came to the Bow River to drink. Settlers brought guns and disease, as well.

The Bow River was named for the reeds that grew along its banks. Indigenous people made bows from the reeds prior to the settlers. They used the river as transportation for its Buffalo hunt, and trading amongst other tribes, as well.

The Blackfoot language name for the river is Makhabn, meaning "river where bow reeds grow".[1]
The Blackfoot Confederacy lands cover a large territory, as Hunting and Gathering people require. They went from the mountains of Alberta, to Saskatchewan, and south to Montana.

Coincidentally, on CBC's The National, there was a piece about Cluny, Alberta. (Cluny is our 3rd granddaughter's name.) The Bow River flows east, through the Siksika First nation, just south of Cluny. This river, fed by the Bow Glacier.
Blackfoot Crossing was used by the Siksika as a winter campsite and is today a part of their reserve.[3]:37–41  
CBC's The National June 15

Inglewood Park and Bird Sanctuary – Bend in Bow park

  • In 1883, Colonel James Walker, white colonizer, settled the land. 
  • 1910, the current brick house - then named Inglewood - was built.
  • Colonel Walker's son, Selby, applied to the Federal government in 1929 to have 59 acres on the west side of the Bow River be designated as a Federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • When Selby died in 1953, Ed Jefferies acquired the property, leased it to the Alberta Fish & Game Association. 
  • In 1970, The City of Calgary purchased the property and has been managing it as a natural reserve ever since.
  • The Nature Centre was built in 1996 and grassland restoration projects began in that same year.
  • Construction of the TD Outdoor Learning Centre in the sanctuary began in 2017.
  • The Colonel Walker House is currently used by Parks staff and volunteers as a classroom and office.

OK, enough history. (I was curious about the big, old building!)
poster at the Nature Centre
Here are the birds I spotted, some new, some not! I've seen magpies in Alberta before, when we visited Edmonton. (Jesse went to U of A, back in 2004/5.) The centre has a great set of displays in the main building.

Here is the map. The walking trails go in a circle, around and acroos the pond, with a lovely bridge.
In we went through the gate. The birds were singing, the wind gently blowing.
Inside, a sculpture.

Guess what these chicken wire wraps are for?!   (I gave you a hint!) Park staff have wrapped dozens of new trees they have planted.

School field trips! A great spot, wheelchair accessible. Lots of birders, other grandparents, too. There are several benches donated in memory of loved ones. This first gentleman, from Denver, has been here a couple of times. He was visiting friends nearby. He was after a woodpecker, who flitted from bush to bush. We chatted on the bridge later.


Trees: the cotton was all over the walks. So, Red, Cottonwood?



    There were 4 mule deer, and a jack rabbit (or snowshoe hare)! As you recall, I captured a video of them in Lake Louise. We had a discussion with a young man, bearing a large camera, who said they were white-tailed deer, but we know our white-tailed back home, and these are different!

    A hare of some kind! (Trust me!)

    The birds we saw on our walkabout

    • We have a sharp-shinned at home!
      It was a great photo-op on our bird feeder.
    • starlings
    • tree swallows
    • red-winged blackbirds
    • magpies 
    • wood ducks
    • mallards (video, with goslings)
    • terns
    • gulls
    • cormorant
    • flicker (no photo)
    • mystery sparrow
    • sharp-shinned hawk
    • female merganser
    Firstly, the magpies. They were reluctant to be photographed. Or, at least, they didn't sit still for me. I'm too slow.

    Their nests were ubiquitous.


    The, the ducks: mallards (both sexes, plus ducklings), wood ducks, wigeons (male and female).
    A woman we met (above in pink) told us that there were wood ducks around the bend. (I didn't tell her we had two wood ducks on nesting boxes, sitting on 17 eggs around our pond at home!)

    The wigeons are below. The males I didn't capture well, the woman we spoke to ID'd them for me.

    The mallards were a hoot. One female climbed the banks, a male tried to follow, and her mate shooed the interloper out of there! Drama!

    Wood ducks (males)

    Female merganser

     Next, tree swallows. I've never actually seen one in a tree! They were nesting, of course. 

    The river was full of birds. Canada geese, red-wing blackbirds, cormorants, gulls and terns dancing in the wind, catching lunch.

    Then, A sparrow, and sharp-shinned hawks.This sparrow is new for me.  I assume it is a sparrow, but I could be wrong!
    Inglewood Park from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

    [Environment Canada Bird Sanctuaries by province]

    Out trip west

    Thursday, May 31st 1.  Getting There Off to YVR!
    Friday, June 1st #2. Vancouver and kidlets!
    Saturday, June 2nd #3. YVR's Queen Elizabeth Park
    Sunday, June 3rd #4. YVR, splashing,  sushi
    Monday , June 4th #5.: YVR=>YYC, lunch in Canmore, drive to Deer Lodge, Lake Louise