The Binocular Site

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park lies within the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and is carefully protected. The rugged and mountainous range is thrilling, with Sunwapta Falls thundering along, and over 1000 kilometers of trails.

This park is a richly fertile home to a multitude of wildlife including deer, elk, caribou, sheep, goats, and bears, as well as wolves, coyotes, and cougars.

Over 277 species of birds are found here, with several birdwatching spots including the Banff Townsite Area, Cave and Basin Marsh, Vermilion Lakes, Johnston’s Canyon, Bow River, and Bow Summit. Pyramid Lake Road is also well-known for birdwatching, and winds through a system of 20 glacial lakes, making it the perfect trail to see barred owls, Barrow’s golden eye, and pied-billed grebes. Look for robins, swallows, sparrows, nutcrackers, finches, chickadees, and occasional sharp-shinned hawks and pygmy owls.

Here the Athabasca Glacier is a unique and epic sight. The glacier is the most visited in North America, and is six kilometers long and up to 300 meters thick. Part of the Columbia Icefield, the glacier accumulates snow on top despite the melting ice below. Still, the Athabasca Glacier has lost half its volume and shrunk over a kilometer and a half, with rocky moraines remaining behind, appearing as if they actually belong on the moon. See the Jasper National Park website for more information.

The provincial bird of Alberta is the Great Horned Owl and you can find a birding checklist for Alberta here.

Photo credit to scazon, used with permission under the creative commons license.

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