Saturday 18 February 2012

Boundary Bay Owls and other birds

Dec 2011: Boundary Bay/72nd Ave, Delta.
What a difference a twelve months makes. Last year when there were no Snowy owls on Boundary Bay Dyke, a few walkers, hunters and the occasional photographer were the only signs of life. The owls appear every four years when a food shortage (lemmings) in the tundra forces them south. Since Christmas, thousands of visitors some from as far way as California, Japan and England have converged on the area to observe the owls. The biggest problem has been finding a parking spot!  News of the owl's arrival has spread, I even met a couple from Southampton in the U.K. who had flown over for two weeks birding. The owls were top of their list. They were thrilled when I pointed out a Meadowlark, a bird they had never seen.
Some days, as many as 200 people can be seen checking out the migration. The mostly juvenile owls spend most of the daylight hours resting and preening and do not seem too bothered by all the attention. To capture them in flight head for the dyke at  dawn or you'll spend hours waiting for them to move. Sometimes a photographer gets too close and one will fly away toward the shore and out of range but occasionally close enough to get a decent flight shot.
Note: The owls can also be seen at Brunswick Point where there is less pressure on them but are farther out in the bay.
See below some of the images I have captured of other birds while waiting for the owls to take flight.

                                                  All images© John Gordon Photography

Snowy Owl hunting/Boundary Bay
Snow Bunting/Boundary Bay

Short-eared owls/Boundary Bay

Northern harrier/Boundary Bay
Other birds seen at Boundary Bay while observing the Snowy owls were Great blue heron, northern harrier, bald eagle, short-eared owl, Snow bunting, American robin, golden-crowned sparrow, song sparrow, Spotted towhee, flocks of red-winged blackbirds and meadowlarks, red-tailed hawk and  green-winged teal. For more images please visit


  1. Nice to meet you at Elgin on the 17th, Your website is great and challenges me to push my self a little harder

    Michael Hoskins

  2. Your flicker page of bird pictures are all just fantastic John! Great shots. AG LFN