Monday 1 September 2014

August: Out with a Roar

Aug 29 2014 Reifel Migtatory Bird Sanctuary Delta B.C
If early August birding was somewhat slow the last few days of the month certainly made up for it. At Boundary Bay I was able to find small flock of Semipalted Sandpipers, a species I hadn't seen very often. As is often the case I spent an hour winning the trust of the birds only to have them spooked by an unleashed dog.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)
I found a small flock of Semipalmated Sandpiper mixed in with a few Western Sandpiper.
Note the shorter bill.

I only averaged of one outing a week but as August came to a close I did manage to include the Stilt Sandpipers and the Ruff or Reeve at Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The Ruff was a 'Lifer' and only the second time I had seen Stilts in the Lower Mainland. I had previously seen them in Churchill, Manitoba where they were in full breeding plumage. For more on that trip see June 2013 blog.
There were also a number adult and juvenile Sora and Virginia Rail at Reifel which delighted many who had not seen the birds before. A small flock of transient Sandhill Cranes proved very popular with visitors, especially the photographers and out of town visitors.

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) at Reifiel

Sora (Porzana carolina)

There were four rails in the West Field, two Virginia and two Sora. Adults and juveniles of both species were evident. It was a quite a treat as the shy and secretive birds showed well as they fed along the pond edges.

Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
The female Ruff (above) is referred to as a Reeve.

Stilt Sandpiper (calidris himantopus)

On the breeding ground the adult birds use Leks in a similar fashion the grouse family.
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)

The ponds at Reifel held both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs giving the opportunity to differentiate the two species.

Although my birding was somewhat curtailed I am lucky to have seen some excellent birds as well as meeting up with some fellow birders who I haven't seen for a while. Meanwhile I hope to keep up with the blog on a more regular basis once school is back, whenever that is!

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon 


  1. lovely series however the second bird you have posted as a ruff is actually a stilt sandpiper cheers!

  2. Thanks Mellie for pointing out my error with the sandpipers. Now I look at the beak it is obvious it wasn't a Ruff but as you correctly pointed out a Stilt Sandpiper. I'm glad someone is on the ball!