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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snow Buntings and Other Birds

Nov 19 2013 Boundary Bay, Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and 64th Ave, Delta B.C.
After a miserable weekend of rain and poor light it was with great excitement I found myself with what I  hoped would be a whole day of freedom from appointments, phone calls and other 'worldly distractions'
First stop was the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal where I was in search of a small flock of Snow Bunting. They had been reported a few days earlier.  They weren't hard to find, they were feeding on the gravel road that parallels the main road leading to the ferry. A slight movement gave away their presence. I actually had to back my car up in fear that I might flush them.
It was bitter cold but sunny, my hand warmer wouldn't work but otherwise I was prepared to stay until I managed some images with different angles and light.
The small flock of four were feeding on wild flower seeds. They were to a point quite tame, unlike the flock I have photographed in Churchill in Manitoba where the approach distance was three times a far. I fact, these birds were so close at times that I wish I could have taken off my 1x4 converter but I didn't want to risk spooking them. This picture was from about twenty feet away. The third shot farther way.
Snow Bunting (Plectrohenax nivalis)
I spent well over an hour taking far too many images, most of which, although perfectly good were culled in Lightroom and trashed. I have ten like the one above. I kept three slightly different poses then backed them and about thirty others up to two external hard drives. I saved them as DNG and from there made 300 DPI jpegs of the blog shots which were then made into web sizes 6x4 at 120 DPI. The original Raw files are then trashed. Why keep everything, the kids won't want them !
I just managed to fit this bird into the shot. I did lose another shot of this bird sitting on the top of a pebble because I was too close, something that has happened a few times to me on. Originally I was going to go with my handheld 300 F4 but decided to take the 500 with a 1x4. However I feel it was a successful assignment having visualized my ideas and then leaving the birds undisturbed to continue feeding.

Two of the four snow bunting feeding on seeds. There were four birds but I thought I saw another single bird which may mean there are five.

On the way home I decided to stop off at 64th Ave to look at the results of the log removal. The upper shoreline abutting the dyke is now mostly devoid of logs. Some of the remaining logs have been driven into the ground vertically, creating perches which I yet to see any bird use. The same at 72nd Ave, only time will tell whether there will be any disruption to the numerous creatures who used to make their homes in the tangle of logs and other organic materials.

(Below) A few images from 64th Ave. What it shows is a sunny day but not the biting wind from the North-west. 

On 72nd there were and are about five thousand snow geese right beside the road as of Tuesday.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) feeding on Hawthorn berries.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapilla) feeding on Pacific Crab Apple.
Good Birding
John Gordon


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