Thursday 9 October 2014

Forest and Mountain Birds

Oct 8 2014 Cypress Mountain, Vancouver BC Foggy with occasional clearing.

Bird wise, the climb up to the Bowen Island lookout was uneventful, mostly because of the thick fog that blanketed the mountainside. The hope for blue skies never materialized and the Northern Pygmy Owl was a no show, at least for me. It did turn up just after I left. Murphy's Law, Eh!
However the day wasn't completely futile especially when fellow birder and 'eagle eye' Mike Tabak spotted a Sooty Grouse skulking around in the undergrowth. The bird finally came out in the open and at times was too close for some of us with long lens. A point and shoot would have worked just fine. That was a special bonus for all of us..Thanks Mike.
Blue Grouse (Dendragapus obscures)
Pacific (Sooty) Subspecies )
The grouse was an unexpected surprise and after birding Boundary Bay the rarified air of Cypress Mountain was a welcome change of scenery.
Next up was a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks whose acrobatic displays were magical to watch. Several times they came flying by like two fighter planes commanding the sky, dive bombing each other.
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipter striatus)

These two very long distance shots of the sharp-shinned hawk turned out way better than I had imagined.

On my way back to the car I walked through the forest near Yew Lake when I heard a rustle in the bushes. I 'phissed' a few times and a Swainson's Thrush popped out to give me a great view. Two shots and it was gone, thank goodness for autofocus.
Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)

Before I could go home to catch up on some sleep I attended a book signing at the Walnut Grove Library with three other Langley authors. My second book, The Langleys is almost sold out with just seventy copies of the original three thousand remaining. The event celebrated the library's and the Walnut Grove Recreation Centre's 20th anniversary. It was a long day and now fourteen hours later it's time to go home. Thanks and good birding.

It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon

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