Sunday 9 September 2012

Pectorals, Least and Turnstones

August in British Columbia has been so warm that it was a welcome relief to head out to Boundary Bay where a cool breeze beckoned.
Flocks of Mallard and other assorted ducks use the calm waters of the bay to complete their summer moult. In some places the sand is so covered in white downy feathers that it looks like the sandy beach is covered in snow.
Along the waterline Black-bellied plovers, Sanderlings, Western sandpipers and a few Black turnstones stop over to feed and refuel before continuing their journey along the Pacific flyway to Central and South America. Some birds will cover as much seven thousand kilometres before reaching their destination. Further up the beach in small pools of brackish water trapped by earlier tides a pair of Least sandpipers dart quickly from tussock to shallow pool feeding on sand flies and other insects. The diminutive little birds freeze and crouch as a Northern harrier glides overhead, only to carry on feeding when they feel the danger has past. I spend five minutes or so with the birds, eventually they are only a few feet away.
Least sandpiper

Pectoral sandpiper

Black turnstone