Sunday 5 January 2014

The Birding Year Begins

Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Delta B.C. Sunny Balmy 6 c
Following all the excess and lethargy that the holiday season can bring it was with great relief that I finally managed to get in my first day of birding of 2014.
Walking along the north dyke my first encounter was a Downy Woodpecker. I heard it drumming a tree trunk while I photographed a flock of Purple Finch feeding on Pacific Crabapple. A Brown Creeper was splendid in the morning light. I haven't seen many this year so that was a treat. The dark forest floor created a neutral background and although it looks like flash the image was created with available light.
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)
creeps up and down tree trunks looking for insects.

Moving on the usual suspects were hopping around the forest floor. Song, Fox, Golden and White-crowned Sparrows, Spotted Towhee and Dark-eyed Junco and Red-winged Blackbirds.
Across the fields were thirty-five Trumpeter Swans and hundreds of Mallard and Green-winged Teal. In the ponds were a pair Northern Shoveler, their plumage in pristine condition. Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck and American Coot made up the other species. Did I mention the five-thousand Snow Geese flying overhead!
In a quiet backwater a pair of Hooded Merganser allowed me close enough to grab this shot reflected in the water.
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

Fate had me heading for the car but for whatever reason I decided to take another route and I am happy I did.
The rattling of a Belted Kingfisher caught my attention. A female was fishing from a row of bushes and saplings, picking off what looked like sticklebacks. An all-round naturalist would know which stickleback the bird was feasting on. I'll look into it.
Here are some of the pictures from the hour long session and my favourite series of the Belted Kingfisher to date.
Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)
Diving for sticklebacks at Reifel ponds.

Success ! Most of my shots of the bird hitting the water were blurry even with 1/4000 sec shutter speed. Not knowing exactly where the bird would dive added difficulty to the shot.

Back to the perch with the prize!

The female has the brown markings which are lacking on the male.

Now all the bird has to do is flip around the fish without dropping it. The total catch was 10 fish .
Good Birding to you all in 2014

John Gordon

1 comment:

  1. John, stunning shots! That diving flight shot is breathtaking!