Thursday 8 January 2015

Westham Island Birding

Jan 7 2015 Westham Island/Alaksen/Reifel Overcast and Foggy 5c

Finally I had a chance to get out of the house. Monday it rained cats and dogs. Tuesday I had to attend court over a copyright infringement case. The judge threw out our argument which basically means anyone can use anyones pictures or copy without credit or payment and without asking permission. The culprits from Langley know it would cost too much to go to the Supreme Court and plead a case. Make sure you enter your copyright information in your camera and in ©Photoshop or ©Lightroom. For those image thieves out there, shame on you, you are only cheating yourself!

On Wednesday following my dental appointment I made my way to Westham Island in Delta for some soothing birding.
I walked the Alaksen National Wildlife Area where it was quite peaceful in the fog, the only it interruption was a lone jogger. She may have saved the life of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet below when she spooked a Sharp-shinned Hawk that was eyeing the mixed flock of Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets I was photographing at the time.

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) reacts to a Sharp-shinned Hawk. 
The interesting hues in the background of this picture are from the forest foliage. 

It was very dark and gloomy especially under the trees where the kinglets were feeding so I had to use 1600 ISO on my D7100. Guess who left their flash at home! There is a lack of sharpness, muted colours and some noise but I had no other option. I prefer to have a least a record shot rather than nothing. This isn't National Geographic, just a fun project!

The light wasn't getting any better so I searched out a food source for the birds where there was at least a decent amount light. First up was a Hermit Thrush, one of my favourite songsters. The last time I saw them was on a walk in Manning Park where their beautiful song could be heard from the tallest tree tops.
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)

I was happy with the thrush image so I made my way to Reifel to see if I could locate the Harris's Sparrow for my *year list.. no luck!

*57 BC species so far in 2015. I've never kept a list so I may be an interesting project.

Next up was this Golden-crowned Kinglet, it was amongst a flock of Black-capped Chickadees flitting from tree to tree. Because there was no one else around I was able to have the flock surround me with their antics.

Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)

Just before the duck ponds I came across a one of my favourites the Fox Sparrow. This one, the Sooty (Pacific) race, one of four sub species found in North America. Sibley's has a very good explanation and illustrations showing the four races.

Reifel was quite busy despite the gloomy weather. The ponds were full of activity, mainly ducks beginning pair off for the spring. 

Adult Gadwal (Anas strepera)

I don't often see Gadwals so I took tho opportunity to photograph a male for my photo library. I tried to shoot a low an angle as possible to give a more realistic perspective.

Ring-necked Duck ( Aythya collaris)

Why isn't this called a Ring-billed Duck. I am sure there is a logical reason but it is sometimes hard to see the neck pattern except in breeding season.

Tomorrow I plan to go up to Burnaby Mountain to finesse my take on the Pine Grosbeaks. My last stab at it included trying for clean backgrounds in my compositions but in doing so I almost completely ignored the female birds. 

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon


  1. Beautiful just beautiful! Especially that thrush!

  2. Thanks. Super cool seeing the Evening Grosbeaks today.

  3. Thank you for the first paragraph particularly. I do not make my living with my photography but I had a recent problem with my photos being used without my permission and I found it extremely upsetting. I have made the changes to my camera and will explore my options on my post processing software.
    Nick Balachanoff

  4. option g on the Mac creates the copyright symbol, don't know on the PC. There are two thoughts. The more you put out there at low res the more feedback. I give talks and one on one photo coaching so I connect that way. If you hide your work away then that's ok too but that creates vacuum if you are looking for feedback. Nothing can be done about digital thieves unless you go to Supreme Court which is too expensive for the likes of you and me. I have had images stolen and have successfully shamed them into paying. Both times the culprits were municipal councils.

    1. Politicians stealing? How unusual!
      Nick Balachanoff