Sunday 15 December 2013

Christmas Bird Count Maple Ridge/North-West Langley

Dec 14 2013 Pitt Meadows Area #5&6 Christmas Bird Count, Barnston Island Surrey B.C. Foggy 5-7C

Once again it was time for the Maple Ridge/North Langley Christmas Bird Count. Don't ask me why it includes Surrey but it does.
A dozen members of the Langley Field Naturalists split into three groups with our patch being Surrey's Barnston Island. The others covered Tynehead and Surrey Bend.
The morning began with coffee at Denny's. While I could only bird until noon the others continued until 3 p.m.
We spotted thirty-three species on Barnston Island, with the highlight being a Red-breasted Sapsucker. Below are the totals from our group and the other two groups who birded in the Surrey Bend and Tynehead areas.
Despite the fog, it was a great excuse to get out and see club members, some of who I hadn't seen for a while.
Overall 56 species were encountered and a total of 3031 birds were counted.
Total Number of Sightings


Total Number of Species


Km driven

10km x4

38km x3

Km walked

1km x4
3km x3
9km x3
2km x 3

The best way to visit the island is on bicycle although, you can take a car which you'll have to back off the ferry. You could always leave your car at the ferry parking lot. Once there wooded areas, open fields, hedgerows and beach habitats can be explored.

The following pictures were taken with the Canon SX50 HS point and shoot super zoom. The camera which was recently on sale for $299.99 has an outrageously long 50x zoom. The birds shots were taken from the car except for the Fox Sparrow which was 'phissed' while walking in a wooded area. The Fox Sparrow was 10 metres away, the Woodpecker 30 metres away and the other birds 100-150 metres or more away. It was nice not to be lugging around the tripod and DSLR. As I have mentioned before the SX50 HS is not the perfect solution but sure is fun to use. 

The Barnston Island Ferry has no slots and for the moment is free!

Barnston Island is just downstream of the Golden Ears Bridge. 

A flock of Mallard (right) fly along Barnston Island.

Bald Eagle.
I braced myself against the car and zoomed to1200mm,  took a deep breath and squeezed the shutter, image stabilization did its job. I had to have been at least 300 metres away but the zoom does the trick.

Phisshed again!…This Fox Sparrow came to check us out: Note the muddy feet and beak.

Male Downy Woodpecker shot from the back seat of the car. Too lazy to get out, not really, the bird would have taken off as soon as opened the door. This is where the Canon SX50 HS excels.

"Birds on a Wire)
A flock of Brewer's Blackbirds were found near a barnyard. I set the auto exposure to +1.

Canada  Geese fly toward Maple Ridge.

Glaucous-winged and Mew Gulls (ID Shot)
Note the lack of sharpness but for recording purposes like bird counts the camera works well.

Red-tailed Hawk( ID Shot)
This bird was so far way the red tail marking couldn't be seen unless using binoculars.

I find the Canon SX50 HS perfect for casual bird watching and for recording birds from a great distance so others might
view and confirm identity. As I have mentioned in other blogs, I wouldn't use the camera for stock or enlargements, but for web or blogging and ID the camera is the perfect tool.

Good Birding

John Gordon

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