Translate

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Skagit Valley Bird Blitz/NikonD500/Nikon 200-500

May 12-14 Skagit Valley Bird Blitz.

Skagit Valley Provincial Park.

The birds and birding has been non-stop since the weather brought in waves of migrating birds last week. There is no better place to experience the phenomenon than the Skagit Valley. Only 150kms east of Vancouver, the Skagit Valley it located south of Hope in the North Cascade Mountain Range.
An official bird checklist is available from park wardens and there are excellent campsites along the road to Ross Lake that lies on the Canada/USA border.
Here are some images from the weekend which was attended by about 30 birders and run by the Hope Mountain Centre. To see more of their excellent offerings including the upcoming Manning Park Bird Blitz event click below.


Here is another upcoming event with Al and Jude Grass


and
here are my pictures taken with the Nikon D500 and 200mm-500mm5.6 zoom.
The images are in no particular order. I missed the Lewis Woodpecker and the Western Bluebird but one can't be everywhere. Most of these birds were taken close to the campsite at Ross Lake while others were taken during the numerous walks where we did point counts. I can't quite remember but I think we saw close to ninety species over the weekend.

American Goldfinch at the picnic area at International Point day use area.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

I wan't expecting American Pipits but I found two where the Skagit River enters Ross Lake.

I just liked the backlight on this foliage as we searched the forest for warblers.
(Silvertip campground)

Black-throated Gray Warblers were way, way  up in the canopy, even so the 200mm-500mm did a great job.
(Silvertip campground)

Group leader Denis Knopp found this Calliope Hummingbird at Whitworth Meadow on Saturday
I went the next day and found the same bird along with a few rufous hummingbirds and a Townsend's Solitaire.
Rufous Hummingbird.
(Whitworth Meadow)
Townsend's Solitaire
 (Whitworth Meadow)

Yellow-pine or Townsend's Chipmunk at Silvertip Campground. I think the stronger contrast of the striping on the face makes it the former. Any thoughts?

(Silvertip campground)

Columbia Ground Squirrel.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Douglas Squirrel.
(Silvertip campground)

Fungi, where's Al Grass when you need him?
(Skagit Valley Trail)

Gray Jay collecting food for nearby nestlings.
(Skagit Valley Trail)

Hammond's Flycatcher.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Calypso Orchid..I think?
(Skagit Valley trail)

Purple Finch.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Female Red Crossbill.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Red-breasted Sapsucker.
(Ross Lake picnic area)


Turkey Vulture.
The early morning sun creates a nice contrast in the wings of the bird.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Female Varied Thrush or juvenile but isn't it way too early?
(Skagit Valley Trail)

Western Meadowlark (Ross Lake picnic area)



Western Tanager.(Ross Lake picnic area)

I hope you have enjoyed these images. Thanks for looking.

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon
Langley/Cloverdale
BC Canada

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pelagic Birding


May 5-9 2017 Tofino and Ucluelet, 


The chance to visit the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was eagerly anticipated. The weather is always a concern at Long Beach but we lucked out and had three days of sun. We camped out in our VW Westfalia at the Ucluelet Campground. The site has excellent harbour views, immaculate facilities and decent birds including Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Hermit Thrush. 

I just love this Parks Canada graphic ©Park Canada

Prior to the WildResearch's pelagic we visited Tofino where the beaches held small flocks of Whimbrel and Western Sandpipers. It was the weekend of the Shorebird Festival so there were plenty of birders around. Unfortunately we missed the workshops which was a shame but there is always next year. Here are some pix with the Nikon P900 bridge camera which I use to bring in distant subjects, shoot scenics on the run and shoot 1080p video.


P900 at 24mm
Can you see the Whimbrel?


P900 at 2000mm
The 24mm-2000mm did a fine job of picking out the Whimbrel at 200 metres.
I shoot the P900 hand held except for the when I shoot video.

The P900 does not replace a DSLR but I was the only one on the beach who got these decent ID shots. I think the camera is the perfect companion for the birder who wants to make record shots and who doesn't want to be burdened down with lots of heavy gear.

Another P900 from 200 metres.
Just another fun shot when I didn't want to haul out my DSLR.

The image isn't that sharp but a tourist thought it was a killdeer, I was happy to provide photographic evidence to the contrary. 


 The Pelagic


We left Ucluelet 7.a.m

The dead calm conditions would probably mean less birds but we had no control over the weather.

A list of the birds we saw are described in the WildResearch newsletter is pasted from their newsletter at the end of this blog.
 I used the Nikon D500 and the excellent 200mm-500mm F5.6 zoom which I have no hesitation in saying is one of their very best Nikon camera/lenses combos.


Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar (Pacific light morph)

 I really like this shot of the Pink-footed Shearwater as it skims close to the waves. Sometimes the bird would disappear behind a wave and then suddenly re-appear. My favourite shot from the trip.
Pink-footed Shearwater.

     We had a brief look at three Humpback Whales but being a bird tour we were on another mission.
Humpback Whale

(Below) I just managed to catch this Pomarine Jaeger as it flew over my shoulder. The light/sky background is a huge distraction but it's included nevertheless.

Pomarine Jaeger (light-morph breeding adult)
California Sea Lions.
Note how high some have climbed up on the buoy to sun themselves or perhaps evade Killer Whales!

The Nikon 200mm-500mm combined with the Nikon D500 is the perfect wildlife camera/set-up especially on a boat where the use of tripod is not possible.
(Below) we also saw numerous Pacific Loons migrating up the coast and not just from the pelagic tour boat. In Ucluelet we saw many pass the area known as the Amphitheatre. The rocky area and lighthouse provided us good views of Black Turnstones and Black Oystercatchers.
Pacific Loon photographed from the boat.

Another bird that I overlooked by me was the Sooty Shearwater, it just doesn't have the appeal of say an albatross and regrettably I only have a few shots to choose from but maybe if there is another trip in September I can concentrate more on the photography and a little less daydreaming.

Sooty Shearwater.



 WildResearch's 2017 Pelagic Seabird Birding Fundraiser - Update
by
Dan Froehlich

Last week WildResearch’s Pelagic Fundraiser once again took to the margins of the continent to explore offshore birdlife.  Sixty-four birders convened at 7am at the Ucluelet’s tiny harbour to board the M.V. Frances Barkley, our excursion boat for the day.  Already in the harbour, clearing skies, mild temperatures, and slack winds made our spirits soar in anticipation of a good day on the water.

Before we even boarded, a group of young birders from BCFO quickly zeroed in on a weird gull off to the side—as did their sharp eyes on all the birds we encountered for the duration of the trip.  It was such a pleasure having them aboard!  The gull defied easy identification: the bicolored bill and pale features suggested some Glaucous Gull heritage, but the petite head features and smallish size suggested Herring or Thayer’s parentage—a gull potpourri!

We soon got going, quickly passing out of the harbor with a few ducks and cormorants and across the inshore bar with its yaw and pitch—turns out these were the biggest waves we encountered all day!  We picked up the first seabirds, Murres and Loons (Pic. 1) and a passel of Brandt’s cormorants—likely locally breeders.  Before long everyone started noticing small groups of tiny pale birds, bobbing on the water, flitting by the bow, the stern, and off in the distance.  We found ourselves amid a migration of Phalaropes, those red-neck Poseidon sprites that breed in the high Arctic only to forsake land for the rest of the year and scud across the oceans of the world in patterns that still elude science.  By the end of the day we tallied over 550 passing the boat.  After hours examining these groups for red-bellied birds, eventually some sharp eyes spotted a pair of spectacular Red Phalaropes zipping by the boat as well, showing off their distinctive all-red body plumage, visible even in flight.

Other seabirds showed up soon as well, the first Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters that attended us all day long, each of them showing a gap of missing feathers as they started in on their annual flight feather molt.  Farther out, we encountered a handful of Pink-footed Shearwaters (Pic. 2).  Regular chumming of baitfish leftovers from a fish-processing plant garnered us a regular entourage of our genetic slop of Glaucous-winged, Western & mixed gulls, as well as a surprising number of Herring Gulls, joined far offshore by California Gull and briefly by a classy breeding-plumage Bonaparte’s Gull that gave up after being displaced repeatedly by the larger gulls.  Several groups of Sabine’s Gulls passed the boat but, as is typical, wouldn’t be distracted by the offal off the ship. 

Marine highlights were the two Pomarine Jaegers that paused briefly by the boat, displaying their curiously curved tail feathers to advantage (Pic. 3).  Finally, toward the end of the boat trip, already close to the near-shore swells, Liam Singh, one of the BCFO youth birders, got on a fast-moving shearwater near the boat as it passed off the stern and zoomed on out of sight.  He managed to snap some stunning photos of a Manx Shearwater, an abundant species of the North Atlantic but a mysterious species in the North Pacific with only about 50 records off Vancouver Island (Pic 4).  Increasing records in coastal Washington waters suggest that the species has started breeding on offshore islands—with May records so close to shore off Vancouver Island, who knows, perhaps they’re taking up breeding in BC as well!

By the time of our return, the waters were truly placid, the skies bright—I don’t think anyone “lost their lunch!”  The still winds, though, may have nixed our chances for albatross—their sternum with only a modest keel limits effective flapping to create lift, meaning they require a stiff breeze to get aloft!  In any case, visibility was excellent for the birds we did see, making for a memorable excursion.  Thanks to all who participated and to all the sharp eyes that spiced up the trip with excellent finds (Pic 5)
Many people are to thank for making the Pelagic Trip a success. Big thanks to Renae Mackas and Myles Lamont for organizing the trip logistics, and to previous trip organizers Paul Levesque and Christine Rock for passing on all their helpful tips and advice for planning. More big thanks Dan Froehlich and Ilya Povalyaev for spotting and calling out birds, Azim Shariff for chumming in the birds, Angela Bond and Anna Szeitz for helping keep everyone happy on board, and the Captain and Crew of the MV Francis Barkley, for keeping us safe and going the extra mile to help us spot great seabirds. Thanks also to everyone that participated in WildResearch’s Spring 2017 Pelagic Trip fundraiser. We look forward to seeing you all on our next pelagic trip!

"It's never to late to go Pelagic birding"
John Gordon
Langley/Cloverdale
BC Canada



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hermit Warbler Hybrid Twitch


May 16 2017 Mount Douglas Park Victoria BC Canada

Note: Since the original posting the bird is now considered to be a hybrid.
Pleases the bottom of the page for a detailed discussion from
bcbirdalert


I hadn't planned on birding except that is except for an hour or two at Brydon Lagoon in Langley City. However events didn't quite work out as planned. One moment I was in Starbucks sipping coffee and the next I was driving to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Travelling companions Mel, Carlo and myself boarded the ferry in the knowledge that we were to be picked up by a fellow birder on the other side and would be driven to Mount Douglas Park in Victoria where we hoped to see a Hermit Warbler. The warbler had overshot its normal range, that being California, Oregon and Washington. I think I am right in saying this is the first BC record of a Hermit Warbler for twenty years.

Mount Douglas Park summit.
Nikon  P7100.
Mount Douglas Park with downtown Victoria in the distance.

The Hermit Warbler was found in the Garry Oaks and close to the evergreens lower down the slope.

This a snippet from the popular RBA Blog

"At 10:15 am on May 15-2017, Daniel Donnecke found and photographed an adult male Hermit Warbler at Mount Douglas Park. The bird was singing and was seen on Glendenning Trail. This is a steep trail that heads straight down into the oaks from the parking lot at the summit, which is located at the end of Churchill Dr.

Daniele saw the bird in the area of the trail where the oaks first hit the conifers. The bird was in an oak tree near the first large douglas fir tree, which is located halfway down the trail. It was in a mixed warbler flock consisting of Orange-crowned, Wilson's, Townsend's and Yellow-rumped Warblers"



Twitchers Twitching!
Taken with iPhone 5s

Hermit Warbler 

As you can see from the photos above, the visit was a total success, we only had to wait a mere two hours for the bird to make a sixty-second appearance before it disappeared into the acres of woodland. 
Finally the pressure of success or failure was off, there were beaming smiles all around, a few high fives and the dreaded return walk back to the summit suddenly seemed effortless. Ann Nightingale drove us back to the ferry. Thanks Ann. Tired but happy all the talk back home was about the hermit warbler, birds and birders. 
Yet another awesome days birding in Beautiful British Columbia!


UPON REVIEW

**Upon review of new photos (see HERE), the amount of green on the back of the bird concerned me, along with the dark streaks on the bib corner (the area on the side of the chest where the wing tucks in, which is often hidden by the wing) and lower flanks. I have sent all available photos of this bird along with my concerns to a few experts. They were made aware that the photos that concerned me initially were taken in evening light. All information will be sent to the Victoria and BC Bird Records Committee. I will also update the blog with any major developments.

I believe that it is important to be completely transparent and wanted the public to be aware that Silu Wang gave her opinion. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the D.Irwin Lab at UBC and studies Hermit Warblers in the hybrid zone, in the Cascades Region of Washington State. She explained that the bird has a predominantly Hermit Warbler plumage background, but with Townsend's Warbler plumage introgression.  She used the hybrid index based on the eight plumage landmarks as specified by Rohwer and Wood (1998). She was presented with all available photos of this bird and viewed them carefully. She estimated the hybrid index (ranging from 0 to 1, with 0 being pure Hermit Warbler and 1 being pure Townsend's Warbler) and for this bird she felt he should have a hybrid index of 0.12, which is smaller than 0.25 (the cutoff value for Rohwer & Wood 1998 classification). Therefore, based on Rohwer and Wood 1998 classification, it should be a Hermit Warbler.

However, the fact that it has a hybrid index of 0.12 instead of 0 means that it does not have a pure Hermit Warbler plumage, and that there are some traces of Townsend's Warbler introgression.

She noted that on another photo by Liam Singh, showed a greenish wash close to the tail covert see HERE She said that some hybrids only show a greenish upper back, and the fact that the green goes quite far down for this bird, further supported TOWA introgression.

She also looked at the video I linked to above by Geoffrey Newell. In that video she noted that when the bird was preening his crown was light grey, but the grey went quite forward, see screenshot HERE.

She explains that she views this bird as a Hybrid, despite Rohwer and Wood (1998), as stated below:

Rohwer and Wood 1998:  Hermit Warbler (because Hybrid index =0.12 <0.25).

Wang et al in prep:            hybrid (because Hybrid index =0.12, not 0).




"It's never too late to start Twitching"
John Gordon
Langley/Cloverdale 
BC Canada


Friday, May 12, 2017

Black-chinned/Anna's Hybrid update

Re-post from vanbcbirds

I'm posting an email chain between Melissa Hafting and Sheri Williamson regarding the identity of the purported Black-chinned Hummingbird at Richmond Nature Park. Please see below.

Good Birding,
Ilya Povalyaev
South Surrey, BC

Hi All,

I got a response from Sheri Williamson. She is an expert on Hummingbirds and the author of "A Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America." She has confirmed this bird is a male Anna's Hummingbird crossed with a Black-chinned Hummingbird. Kudos to Don Cecile for picking this up. I have cc'd Wayne Weber so he is aware for eBird.

See her response below. Feel free to post to vanbcbirds

Hi, Melissa,

Don Cecile also sent me some photos of this bird, which is definitely not a pure Black-chinned. The big-headed shape, dull, narrow chinstrap, and too-extensive violet are all indicative of hybrid origin.

Despite the violet gorget color and apparent lack of crown iridescence, two features particularly evident in Peter Candido's back view (which I hadn't seen previously) point strongly toward Anna's as the other parent: the long, deeply notched tail, inconsistent with Rufous, Calliope, Broad-tailed, or Costa's parentage; and shortish secondary coverts, an Anna's trait expressed intermediately in its hybrids. If perched side views can be obtained, I would expect them to show slight graduation of primary widths and faint notches on the inner vanes of P1-5, suggestive of Black-chinned, combined with a slight asymmetry to the outermost secondary coverts, an intermediate expression of another Anna's trait.

Hope this helps.

Good birding,

Sheri L. Williamson
Bisbee, Arizona


AND MORE 


David Sibley author of the Sibley Guides has weighed in and also confirmed the RNP bird as a BCHU X ANHU. He explains the significance of this record below.


On Friday, May 12, 2017, David Sibley wrote:

Hi Melissa,

I agree there is too much purple on the throat for a Black-chinned Hummingbird, and also the gorget feathers are a little more elongated than normal at the bottom, and the tail shape is wrong. All of that makes me think hybrid, and I'm comfortable saying one of the parents is Black-chinned Hummingbird - the long curved bill, purple throat, and black chin (even though it is reduced) point to Black-chinned Hummingbird. The best fit parent for the other features is Anna's Hummingbird - tail shape, elongated gorget, extensive dusky green color overall with no rufous color.

There is a detailed description of this hybrid and diagrams of tail and wing shapes in this paper:

Banks and Johnson 1961 - Richard C. Banks, Ned K. Johnson,. 1961. A review of North American hybrid hummingbirds. Condor 63: 3-28. pdf
Along with the old California specimen, there are at least two more recent records from Arizona, and probably more that I'm not aware of. This BC bird would be the farthest north and one of only a few records, but with the recent expansion of Anna's Hummingbird more hybridization would be expected.

Best,
David

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Birding Twice in One Day

May 11 2017 Glen Valley/Blackie Spit BC Canada.

The rain began soon after I arrived in Glen Valley. Even the Savannah Sparrows had headed for cover. The telephone wires held Barn, Tree,Violet-Green and Cliff Swallows. Further along the line the silhouette of one bird was different, a shorter tail and rounder body. I coasted the car along and took one shot from the window. The Lazuli Bunting proved to be another year bird.

Lazuli Bunting.

The rain came down so hard I decided to make my way home to watch the Arsenal v Southampton game. I had just sat down with a piping hot cup of tea when a bird text alert came in for nearby Blackie Spit. Six American White Pelicans were resting in the estuary, possibly brought down by the inclement weather. A quick call to neighbour and chauffeur Carlo and we were on the road. I had a hunch the birds would stick around and sure enough there they were, on the other side of the estuary, a long way off but well worth an ID shot.

American White Pelican.
This is the first time I have seen American White Pelicans in the Lower Mainland and well worth the ride down to Crescent Beach.

Just as we were about to leave four Purple Martins appeared overhead feasting off a hatch of insects. I rattled off thirty or so shots. I had to shoot at 1600 ISO just to get 1/500 at F5.6, barely enough to capture the fast moving birds. I managed to stop the motion in a few shots by shooting handheld and panning with the birds in flight.

Purple Martin (male)

Purl Martin (female)

I really hadn't planned doing more than an hours birding today but I ending up finding three new year birds and staying dry in the process. 

"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon
Langley/Cloverdale
BC Canada






Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pelagic Trip Tix still Available


2. WildResearch's 2017 Pelagic Seabird Birding Fundraiser is THIS WEEKEND - Sunday, May 7


WildResearch's Spring 2017 Pelagic Trip Fundraiser will run on Sunday May 7, coinciding with the Tofino Shorebird Festival! Spots are filling up, so be sure to book your spot soon! For details about the trip and for information on how our current annual members can book for the trip, please see the information below.



Itinerary:
WildResearch's upcoming pelagic trip will follow the same itinerary as our previous pelagic trips; the ship we charter (M.V. Frances Barkley) will leave from the dock in Ucluelet BC at 7 am on Sunday May 7, 2017, travel to La Perouse Bank, and return to Ucluelet at 2:30pm (on the same day). WildResearch's pelagic trips are a fantastic opportunity to view pelagic seabird species rarely seen from shore. Click
 here for previous trip details and photos. In addition to our trip, there will also be a lot of exciting events happening in the area that weekend as part of the 20th annual Tofino Shorebird Festival, which will take place May 5th to 7th.

Cost:

The early bird ticket rates are no longer available, but tickets can still be purchased at full price ($275). In addition to purchasing a ticket, all trip participants will be required to hold a current WildResearch membership at the time of the pelagic trip. For more details, see membership information. Proceeds generated from the pelagic trip fundraiser will go toward running WildResearch’s conservation research programs.

How to book:
Space on the boat is limited! Please follow these instructions:

If your membership is active until May 7, 2017:
  1. Purchase your ticket using the "Current Members"  PayPal link available here
If your membership expires before May 7, 2017:
  1. Purchase your ticket and pay for your membership renewal ($25 students,$30 general) in one payment using the "non-members/membership renewal"  PayPal link available here.
  2. Log in to your WildResearch Better Impact account to update your annual membership renewal details **Note: all WildResearch members have an existing username and password. Please make sure you sign in on the right side of the page under the text "I already have a username". If you do not remember your login information, use the reset password page link at the bottom of the page to retrieve it**
Rather pay by cheque? Please mail your completed annual membership renewal details, enclosed with a cheque made payable to WildResearch (#11-220 Tenth Street, New Westminster BC, V3M 3X9). All members must complete these membership details annually.

Not sure when your membership expires? Check your membership expiry date in your 
Better Impact profile under “About You” or email pelagics@wildresearch.ca.

Booking requests shall be considered in their order of receipt. Once your payment has been received, you will be sent a receipt confirming payment and confirmation of your place(s) on the trip. If you are paying for more than one person, be sure to include a signed membership form and liability waiver form for each person (if completing these online, this means you will need to have two separate Better Impact profiles, one for each person).

We are very excited about the spring pelagic trip! Looking forward to the great birding and an opportunity to meet with old friends, and make new ones. If you have any questions about the pelagic trip email us at: 
pelagics@wildresearch.ca.

Sincerely,

Monday, May 1, 2017

Locations #1-Serpentine Fen

Ap 30/2017 Serpentine Wildlife Management Area. Surrey BC


This is the first of an ongoing series of Lower Mainland birding hotspots. Locations where the birding novice or the more advanced birder can visit with a fair chance of easily seeing twenty or more species of birds in just a few hours.

When I began birding with a purpose I had no idea where to go so I hope this series will help those who are just beginning to bird navigate the many great birding spots available to us here in the Lower Mainland.


Serpentine River and surrounding ares from the lookout tower.


All these images were taken Ap 30/17 at Serpentine Fen between 7.30-10.30 am


Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Audubon)
After one of my presentations a member of the audience asked me what was the catalyst that sent me on the life changing pursuit of birds? Looking back it was a conversation I had with renowned naturalist Al Grass. In 2011 Al gifted me a book on Birds of Western Canada. I went home flipped through the pages and became completely hooked on the hobby which at last count is the fastest growing pastime in North America. 

NAB (Not a Bird)
***

The Serpentine Fen is a ten minute drive from home, it's one of those places I visit often. I have been there all times of the day and probably most months of the year. You never know what to expect. This visit I had no preconceptions but found two year birds (#139 and #140) in the first ten minutes.







At this time of year migrating warblers are passing through, ducks are nesting and many species are returning to make the wetlands their home for the summer. Many species spend the whole year at the Serpentine. Marsh Wrens, Belted Kingfishers, Bald Eagles and Double-crested Cormorants to name a few.

Marsh Wren.
One of the over wintering species at the Serpentine Fen.

The over-wintering birds have to deal with extreme temperatures as the area is open to the inclement weather sweeping over Boundary Bay. The ponds are often frozen solid and dry as a bone in the sumer. Purple Finches eke out a living from the fruit of Pacific Crab Apple trees while in the undergrowth White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos feed on yarrow and blackberry seeds that have fallen to the ground.

When the weather warms in April and May migrants such as the Common Yellowthroat (below) flood into the area. On the day I visited I counted fifty of more Yellow-rumped Warblers feeding in the wild cherry blossom, Common Yellowthroats were everywhere and over fifty pairs of Northern Shovelers had outnumbered all the other duck species on the pond. One nice find was a pair of Cinnamon Teal.


Common Yellowthroat.
Before I began to bird I had no idea there were so many beautiful birds in the British Columbia. I lived on Long Beach and spent ten years in Campbell River, I even had a feeder where the usual suspects would come to feed. One day a Yellow-headed Blackbird added some extra colour. Another day I captured a few photographs of a Red-Breasted Sapsucker drilling holes in an apple tree. Another time I spent a week on Mitlenatch Island where the birds and the scenery became indelibly  imprinted in my memory.
One of the bird I photographed on Mitlenatch was a mystery sandpiper. The slide sat in my collection for over twenty-five years until eventually I had enough skills to identify it myself. The bird was a Wandering Tatler.



Orange-crowned Warbler.

 Just as I was leaving the wetland area to look for warblers I caught sight of an orange shape in the reeds. I stopped in my tracks and sure enough it was a Virginia Rail out in the open. Usually they are skulking around the reed beds. This one was headed my way so I dropped my knees in the wet grass and waited and waited....and waited. Eventually it cut across the pathway headed for a water filled ditch.


Virginia Rail.
I waited and waited and waited but finally my patience paid off.


Parting Shot


Male Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Audubon)


If you have got this far I thank you for your time and patience.  I hope you enjoy this personal journey. I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing with my time!

"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon
Langley/Cloverdale
BC Canada