Saturday 10 January 2015

One Hundred Plus

Jan 9 2015 Eagle View Rd, Chiliwack Fraser Valley BC

A flock of approximately one hundred Evening Grosbeaks feeding beside a busy country road. It was a most unexpected and welcome find.

A female Evening Grosbeak feeds on the road. There appeared to be many more males than females.

It was by far the largest congregation of the colourful and North America's largest finch I have ever seen, a real treat to witness. The flock was quite high up and far away but periodically thirty birds or so birds would fly down to the roadside to feed. No sooner had they arrived a passing car would scatter the flock back to the overhanging alders.
Male Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)
I worked hard in composing this shot. The alder catkins on the left of the image fill the frame without touching the edges, the background could be darker but I had no control of that. The bird's head is between two branches, one in the foreground and the other out of focus and behind. I achieved this by simply moving the camera a few inches to the left.
At first we thought they were picking up grit but looking at the files back home some of the birds appear to have been feeding on some type of long-legged beetle/cricket type insect. It was warm enough for a hatch as could be seen by the amount of insects in the air, a by-product perhaps of the recent inversion that had cloaked the Lower Mainland.

Female Evening Grosbeak
The flock continued to feed, only flying off when a passing vehicle came past. How there weren't any avian causalities I will never know.

"It's never to late to start birding"

John Gordon


  1. Just gorgeous John! I love how the fraser valley gets these large flocks every year. They have to be one of the most beautiful birds. Great job and congrats!


  2. I know, how amazing to see such a large flock.