Saturday 8 February 2014

I went Birding Thursday

       Feb 6 2014 New Brighton Park Vancouver B.C -5 Sunny and very, very cold for B.C.

Vancouver is experiencing some wonderful sunny weather albeit unusually cold. As long as one wears plenty of clothing (I can hear those in the rest of Canada laughing) it is a pleasure to be outdoors.
The assignment for Thursday was to photograph a Gyrfalcon that has returned to New Brighton Park  in Vancouver. The speedy falcon has been feasting on pigeons which are attracted to a nearby granary crammed full of delicious Canadian wheat. Yummy for the pigeons and doubly yummy for the gyrfalcon which is dining on tasty grain fed pigeon several times a day.

A Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) heads toward a unsuspecting flock of pigeons.

Unfortunately the best place to stand with a clear view of the Viterra Granary is in the shade which meant a very cold wait. I spent two hours waiting patiently for the Gyrfalcon to launch itself off the conveyer belt which itself is about two hundred feet off the ground. 

A Gyrfalcon scatters a flock of pigeons. Several attacks were made without success. On one occasion a pigeon was snagged but got away. I missed the shot.
After dropping the prey the Gyrfalcon looks below but it had plunged into the water.

What can I say, the wait was well worth it despite the cold. I not only secured my first ever photographs of a gyrfalcon I was blessed to witnesses one of Nature's most powerful and beautiful performers go about its daily ritual.

The Gyrfalcon heads back to its perch ready for another foray.

Good Birding
John Gordon


  1. Amazing shots. I have been to see him many times but I do not have a great camera like you. These are the best shots I have seen anyone take of him yet. I don't know about you but I have to admit I am glad when the pigeons do get away.

  2. ps I cannot imagine standing there for 2 hours in the cold. I went to terra nova today for 1 hour to watch some harriers and over to iona to see the peregrine and froze and was outside for a total of 1 hour!