Saturday 8 March 2014

Leucisitic Red-winged Blackbird and Others.

Mar 7 2014 Birding in Delta and Richmond/Overcast

Morning Birding
Hornby and 104th Delta British Columbia. Canada

A Leucistic Red-winged Blackbird (foreground) feeds in a backyard at Hornby and 104th St, Delta. I had just told my birding companion I had never found anything unusual and two minutes later this guy!

The Leucistic Red-wing Blackbird sits in a fruit tree after the flock was spooked. There were about 20 females and a few males in the flock. They were feeding at a well stocked feeder.
Afternoon Birding
Riverport and Steveston in Richmond.
Townsend's Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi)
I was drawn into this composition by the fragility of the buds, the matching colour of the bird and building in the background. Then it began to sing.

I chose this frame from the others in the series because it does show that a little luck is needed sometimes. The fraction of a second it took for this Townsend' Solitaire to pluck and toss this coneaster berry into its mouth would be very difficult to time. I just happened to catch the moment perfectly. 

                                       Richmond Nature Park. Westminster Hwy/No 5 Rd

DownyWoodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Normally Downy woodpeckers are always on the move. They have been  quite a challenge to photograph.
This one however decided to take a nap.  I have several other shots with his eyes rolling then closed.
The notch in the wood held something of interest when occasionally the bird would dip its beak into the hollow. I can't remember who lost interest first, the bird or me.

Then it was on to the hummingbird feeder.

Male Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
A pair of these beautiful bird were feeding and gathering nest material (spiders web) on a very overcast gloomy afternoon. Rather than miss the shots I photographed at 1250 ISO to get a little higher shutter speed. I'll settle for noise in the picture over no picture at all. Technically it is all over the place (depth of field etc) but it is only the third or fourth time I have photographed these amazing creatures. The background is an ugly outbuilding so I chose an angle that would exclude the ugliest parts of the building. The result is an uncluttered backdrop with what I think is complimentary colour scheme. If you disagree let me know, feedback is important for artistic growth.

Male Anna's displaying throat and crown.
Female Anna's Hummingbird

Again I had an absolutely amazing day, completely absorbed with birds, the woods and fields and shoreline.
In between these photographs I drove down to the foreshore and watched thousands of Dunlin swirling along the ebb tide on Boundary Bay. What a sight to behold and the migration hasn't really started yet!

Good Birding
John Gordon


  1. John, wonderful wonderful images! I do so like the hummers. We've had a couple of Anna's with us and our feeder all winter. It has been a treat to see them. I haven't been able to catch a shot with the full red throat. Isn't it spectacular. The gloomy weather can be quite a challenge to get enough shutter speed!

  2. Beautiful shots I love the leucistic bird! I also love the townsend's solitaire I am glad I got to see him he is a very cute bird you got fantastic shots yet again. I went to maplewood flats for the walk you posted we got soaked but it was fun. I also love the shots you took at the nature park.

  3. Thanks for the feedback everyone. The Anna's are at a feeder and are busy nest building before the more aggressive Rufous arrive. I hadn't been to Richmond Park West for twenty years so it was a great way to finish off the day.
    The birds are singing now so I am beginning to think about doing some sound recording to go along with my slide shows. I feel the migration is quite soon so there will hopefully be some surprise arrivals amongst the flocks.