Sunday 19 April 2015

Early Morning Birding at Iona Jetty

April 20 2015 Iona Regional Park Richmond BC Sunny 17c
The alarm went off at 5 am and again thirty minutes later. The plan was to drive to Iona Regional Park to look for a Lapland Longspur that had been seen the day before. I had only ever photographed them in the Autumn so I was looking forward to seeing one in full breeding plumage.
Because I had slept in the sun was already up when I arrived. A cold wind was blowing for the north-west, I wished I had brought gloves. I made my way out to where the bird had last been seen the evening before at around the 150 marker. Numbered markers run the length of the 4km (2.5mile) jetty. It is very popular with walkers and cyclists, especially on the weekends.
A  male Lapland Longspur seems unperturbed by a passing walker.
There were only two of us on the jetty. Eventually I saw some bird movement but it turned out to be a false alarm, just a pair of Savannah Sparrows. I keep searching and finally I found my quarry, a splendid adult with rufus nape and black face.
Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)

I continued to photograph until a few more people passed and flushed the bird. When I relocated the first bird, a female suddenly flew in and joined the male. They continued to feed on seeds before the foot traffic became distracting,  by mid-morning it was getting warm, the light harsh and time for brunch.

The female longspur holds a seed between its beak.
  1. Female (left) and male


          The Iona Jetty 

  1. On the walk back to the car the cries of Caspian Terns drew my attention. They were quite far out and high above but with the Tamron 150mm-600mm I was able to zoom in a catch a few shots. All images were taken hand held.

    Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)

  2. American Wigeon (Anas americana)

    "It's never too late to start birding"
  3. John Gordon
  4. Langley /Cloverdale


  1. Lovely photos, a treat for all of us in the Lower Mainland to see a Lapland Longspur in breeding plumage.

    1. Sometimes you have to act on a whim. I had been promising myself to go there for weeks and I am glad I did. Glad you finally got to see them.

  2. Gorgeous shots! Congrats on seeing the male in breeding plumage that is a real special treat for Vancouverites!

  3. I am happy you found them. They are amazing little birds dodging humans, dogs and other perils.