Wednesday 22 October 2014

Ignoring the Weather Forecast Pays Off!

Oct 20 2014 Boundary Bay/Blackie Spit. Overcast with sunny breaks
It was supposed to be pouring rain all day!
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
I arrived at the base of Delta's 112 St flood tide. Out in the bay thousands of Northern Pintail, Mallard and American Wigeon were feeding. Keeping them company were hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers, a single American Golden Plover, numerous Western Sandpipers, Sanderlings and perhaps two thousand Dunlin.
As the tide rushed in something spooked the flock, most of the sandpipers and plovers flew off. I knew it was time to leave when a beachcomber and dog arrived on the scene. I decided to visit nearby Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit which is a only a ten minute drive away. I had heard there was a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper among the peeps.

A flock of Dunlin and a few Black-bellied Plover are spooked by a Bald Eagle but soon come back to rest.

As the tide rose a dozen Greater Yellowlegs and about 30 Least Sandpipers began to feed quite close to the pathway that leads out to the end of the spit. American and Eurasian Wigeon (possibly hybrids) joined the sandpipers to feed on the submerged grasses.

Dunlin and Least Sandpipers flock together.
Note some of the birds have yellow legs, they are the Least Sandpiper our smallest sandpiper. There is one at the top of the frame as well as a few others.

Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)
From a distance I thought I had found the Sharp-tailed but as it immersed into the open the speckled breast gave it away as being a pec. Better luck next time.

Marbled Godwit in flight. I'm not too sure what the other bird is, perhaps a Dunlin?

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
All in all it was a great day outdoors and had I listened to the weatherman I would have stayed home and missed out on a glorious afternoon. It was just one of those quiet days out in nature, hardly a thought to bother me, oblivious of everything except the birds. Life can be sweet at times!

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon


  1. Great shots! The bird behind the Marbled Godwit is a Least Sandpiper, you can see the yellow legs and short decurved bill (Dunlin's legs would be black and bill longer).

  2. Hi Liron,
    Thanks for the ID on the Least. On another matter concerning those action shots of the harrier and the snipe. I have been a judge in a number of photography competitions over the years and I think one of those shots is an award winning image. I expect you have probably already been told that. Anyway, competitions are a lottery and it all depends on where the judges expertise lies. However I must congratulate you on those images for a number of reasons.
    1. They have strong storytelling. The hunter and hunted or eat or be eaten.
    2. They are with the right cropping full of impact. i.e eye-catching.
    3. The are technically very good with perfect exposure and focus and as you know that isn't always easy.
    Anyway I suggest you send them in but make sure you retain copyright.
    Great to hear from you.