Whitehorse is blessed with some great bird-watching areas. With spring bird migration at its peak, why not take a few hours to explore the ones in your neighbourhood. Here’s a sampling.
One of the Yukon’s oldest subdivisions is the home of one of the premier bird habitats in the city: McIntyre Creek wetlands.
The Fish Lake Road will take you to a number of popular birding sites in these wetlands, as well as the other habitats including alpine areas at the top of the road.
Former Senator and Commissioner Ione Christensen leads a trip there on May 18. (Meet at the SS Klondike at 6 p.m. or Porter Creek Super A at 6:20 p.m.)
If you are an early bird, you don’t want to miss a trip to McIntrye Creek with Environment Canada biologist Pam to hear the “dawn chorus” (May 23, meet at Super A at 7:30 a.m.).
You are also welcome to drop in to see bird-banding in action with biodiversity award-winner Ben Schonewille at the McIntyre Marsh Bird Banding Demonstration Project, located at about Kilometre 4 on the Fish Lake Road (weekends and holidays from 7 a.m. until noon, until May 20.)
You don’t need to be a student to learn about birds at Yukon College in Takhini.
The ponds nearby attract lots of ducks and shorebirds, as well as migrating song-birds and other species. Ornithologist and college instructor teacher Katie Aitken can take you to some of the local wetlands and ponds on Friday, June 11 (meet at Yukon Arts Centre parking lot).
The Quartz Road wetland downtown, across from Wal-Mart, offers a great glimpse of shorebirds, song-birds, gulls and terns and eagles for those with time to enjoy a break from shopping.
There is interpretation signage along sections of the trail that connects to the Waterfront Trolley. (Cameron Eckert leads a trip there in early May.)
Veteran trip leader and Hillcrest resident Mary Whitley takes visitors and residents to her beloved Paddy’s Pond each spring where you might see grebes.
This year, join her on June 1 (meet at the Skky Hotel opposite the airport at 6 p.m.)
Birds and insects have a special relationship and you can find them enjoying a wetland “fen” in Granger area each summer.
It’s a bit of a hike to get there and you will need high rubber boots, but it’s a trip to remember.
Syd Cannings will guide you there on July 3. Meet at the Canada Games Centre at noon.
The Millennium Trail (formerly the Yukon River Trail) that skirts the river, walks you through diverse habitat.
You’ll see everything from the chatty belted kingfisher, to bald eagles, nesting gulls, mergansers, and lots of warblers, woodpeckers and colourful visitors like the harlequin duck.
Join Bird Year star Malkolm Boothroyd for a tour here on Thursday, May 20 (meet at the Fish Ladder at 6: 30 p.m.)
The subdivision’s pothole lakes are great places to see things like the masked Bonaparte gulls, loons and a variety of ducks and shorebirds. Interpretive signage at Hidden Lake, located off the Chadburn Lake Road, can tell you more.
Ione Christensen will lead a trip here on May 27 (meet at the Fish ladder at 6:30 p.m.)
For more info, see the Yukon Bird Club’s website and publications including Ten Great Places to go Birding in Whitehorse at www.yukonweb.com/community/ybc/birdingwhitehorse.pdf
Want an excuse to explore these areas and others? Sign up for the Annual Birdathon on Friday, May 28. More on that in the next issue.
Write to me about your special birding areas!