Sunday 25 January 2015

Birding Boundary Bay

Jan 21-25 2015 72nd Ave Boundary Bay, Delta BC.  Sunny/Variable cloudst 7c

Who would have thought that one of the most majestic of all birds would take up winter residence in the Lower Mainland's Boundary Bay. Birders normally get just a fleeting glance. This bird is different, it has stayed around for weeks and is easily observed from a number of accessible vantage points.

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

With a wingspan of 80-90 inches or over two metres, the Golden Eagle will hunt over a vast area. The 72nd Ave bird has been seen to fly away until it disappears far into the distance, only to re-appear a few minutes later. It has been seen heading toward Blackie Spit, Point Roberts and River Road. Some birds have been documented to fly as much as twenty five miles to hunt. The Delta bird tends to stay close to a plentiful supply of ducks on 72nd Ave. Watching it boss around the Bald Eagles is quite interesting.

Unlike the beleaguered Long-eared Owl which seeks a quiet place to roost during the day, the Golden Eagle hunts and roosts well away from people. 
This is my third attempt to photograph it and I am beginning to get a better angle each time and perhaps with a little more perseverance and luck I might get a sharper image without having to crop so much. This is one time when a D800 with its 36.3 million pixel count would have allowed me a finer shot. However, I won't be loosing any sleep over it. Anyway, time to leave the eagle and look for some sparrows.


A little way along the dyke a small flock of American Tree Sparrows were feeding in the bushes and shrubs. There were some stunted alders and Paper Birch as well Himalayan Blackberries for the birds to feed and find shelter from marauding Northern Harriers. 

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)

The tree sparrows were feeding on the seeds, the long catkin is from a Paper Birch. I may be wrong with my plants, so if anyone can correct me please feel free to shame online or have me sent to a Russian Gulag.

The American Tree Sparrows were soon joined by four Lincoln Sparrows, two Yellow-rumped Warblers, numerous Black-capped Chickadees and a curious Marsh Wren.
By the end of the afternoon and with the sun sliding below Point Roberts it was time to head home.

The day added three new species to my 2015 Canadian list which now stand at 83 species. It's my very first list, one photographer I know quite well rolled his eyes when he heard I was listing. I had a good chuckle with him, something about being addicted to birding! Ask me my total species and I couldn't tell you. I'l let you know at the end of the year when I have finished my cross Canada trek.
Boundary Bay in winter is home to 50,000 Dunlin, numerous species of sandpipers and thousands of waterfowl. Northern Pintail, Mallard, American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal being present in large numbers.

Same shot cropped to give a closer view of Dunlin and black-belied Plovers.

"It's never to late to start birding"

John Gordon

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful John especially the tree sparrows that love to evade me hahha