Sunday 13 April 2014

Here Today/Gone Tomorrow

April 10 2014 Deltaport Way/Tsawwassen. B.C  Overcast and Sunny Breaks Temp 

Here Today/Gone Tomorrow 

The Change of Seasons

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichencis)
The fields and hedges from where these pictures were taken will soon be gone, soon to replaced by an enormous industrial complex. This country of Canada has always exploited resources and I suppose all this is just more"progress" We all live on what was once forest, swamp or grassland.
Less than a kilometre away a second coal port is planned. A kilometre east a shopping mall and a close by a subdivision is already taking shape. The outlook for areas bio-diversity is grim.
In the distance a flock of Eurasian and American Wigeon feed in a field, more than fifty percent is covered in fill. An old farmhouse with mature trees had its electricity supply cut as we photographed, so many dump trucks pass by us we can hardly hear the courtship songs of the Common Yellowthroat,  the House Finch and Savannah Sparrows. I tried to make some recordings but gave up. It was just too noisy.

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
A very distant shot of two House Finch. I watched them looking for a nest site.  The preferred location was a blackberry thicket on a piece of waste ground, a type of habitat often referred to as "unproductive" for agriculture but "ideal" for development. For the birds, a large part of the equation is missing.

Raptors Galore!
 Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
During the day, I saw two Cooper's darting in and out of hedgerows, flying low and fast and then perching on fence posts. The Deltaport area is rich in raptors year round. I just wonder for how long.
Older hedgerows hold more types of prey creating the perfect hunting ground for the Coopers Hawk.

Who's looking at who!

Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)
It has been quite a few years since a Prairie Falcon has been seen in the Lower Mainland. This bird spent most of the winter in Brunswick Point but has recently expanded its territory to the Deltaport area.
A Prairie Falcon prepares to land on a fence post. This shows the extended plumage of this immature raptor from the rear. 
Red-tailed Hawk( Buteo jamaicencis)
At one time this Red-tailed Hawk, a Bald Eagle, a Cooper's Hawk and the Prairie Falcon vied for same territory. As I watched these birds I wonder about the fate of Townsend's the voles now entombed under tonnes of fill. Where there used to be six large fields only two remain. It's hard to watch it happen, the richest agricultural land in Canada being paved over.

Midday: Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty

Brant (Branta bernicla)
There were upwards of two thousand Brant feeding off the ferry terminal most probably on herring spawn. Too far way to photograph but excellent views through a scope. Note the horned Grebe in the distance. 

Distant shot of Brant by the Taxi rest area.

After much stalking I was able to get within fifty metres off this wary Horned Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
There were at least five in the bay and reports of a dozen or so at Point Roberts.

A Male Great blue Heron (Ardea herodias) brings in a branch to add to the nest at the Tsawwassen Heronry.

Birds noted April 10 2014 

Eurasian Wigeon

American Wigeon

Prairie Falcon

Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Bald Eagle 
Northern Harrier
Song and Savannah Sparrow
Common Yellowthroat
European Starling
Brewer's Blackbird
Brant (2000-3000 in one raft)
Common  Goldeneye
Canada Goose
Glaucous Wing Gull

Black Bellied Plover

Downy Woodpecker

American Robin

Great Blue Heron

Black Oystercatcher
Horned Grebe
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Loon
Northern Pintail
White-crowned Sparrow
European House Sparrow
Lesser Scaup
Northern Shoveler
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow

If you have got this far in the blog I thank you for your patience. What started as a passing interest thirty years ago has become my passion. Birds and birding itself took second place to my career in as a community newspaper photographer. During that time I had the opportunity to photography a myriad of events even self assigning myself to photograph the Canucks, B.C. Lions, English Premier League Football, music legends like B.B. King, Leonard Cohen and best of all the Dalai Lama. The "Big Man" as he is affectionately called even came up to me in a press scrum and shook my hand. I have to say it was the highlight of my thirty year careers as a photojournalist. 
These days I find birding and bird photography the most rewarding for so many reasons I would need to write a book about it.
Much of my success I owe to the many birders who I have met since I started photographing birds seriously in April 2011, the fateful month the newspaper I worked for told my services were no longer needed. As it turned out the financial compensation softened the blow and changed my life for ever.
Today I couldn't be more happier walking around Brydon Lagoon with my Canon SX50HD point and shot or lugging around the "Big Gun"
Either way, birding has enriched my understanding of the natural world that surrounds me and us all. I couldn't think of anything I would be prefer to be doing with my life.

Good birding
John Gordon

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