Monday 25 November 2013

Dabbling with Ducks Plus Hawks and Finches

Monday  Nov 25 2013. Blackie Spit, Crescent Beach Surrey, B.C. British Columbia.
I have to admit that I have not had the opportunity to study the difference between American and Eurasian Widgeon until today. I had seen them through bins but now I had a mixed flock in right in front of me and within camera range. The flock not only had the two aforementioned species but also a number of hybrids.
I am posting these pictures to see if anyone is actually reading this blog as there is no better way to monitor blog readership than to misidentify a species. Your feedback is appreciated if I have mislabeled any of these beautiful dabbling ducks.
 Male American Wigeon (Anas americana)

American and Eurasian hybrid.
Note: I have been told this actually an Eurasian not hybrid. I'm learning too, thanks to Mike Tabak for the identification.

Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope)

After photographing the ducks on the spit I took a walk into the wooded area east of the car park. There I saw the silhouette of a bird of prey. It turned out to be a Cooper's hawk.
Cooper's Hawk (Accipter cooperii)

The Cooper's swoops down into the undergrowth but was unsuccessful.
 It suddenly flew down from a tree, crashing into the undergrowth, the bird re-appeared sans prey and continued hunting.
The bird was originally perched in a tree and then went diving and hunting in dense bushes.
I managed to grab a few perched shots and then it flew off, even with a high shutter speed the wings are blurred. The most vital part of flight shots is using at least 1/1000 or faster shutter speed to capture a sharp eye, slower speeds can create a blur which spoils the final image.

The weather was cool but sunny so I decided to take a wander to the other end of the conservation area close to the railway line. There are a number of Pacific crab apple and hawthorn trees which are still laden with berries. There I found Downy Woodpeckers, Golden-crowned Sparrows, Northern Flicker, Raven, North-western Crows, Great blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Double crested Cormorants and Purple Finches.

Purple Finch (Carpo purpureus)

A male Purple Finch gorges on Pacific crab apples at Blackie Spit.

Good birding to you all
John Gordon

1 comment:

  1. John, I've no complaints about ID! All are excellent shots!