Wednesday 30 September 2015

Nature Vancouver Talk

Sorry about the short notice. Thanks also to everyone who came out Wednesday night for the Kenya talk in Fort Langley. Much appreciated.
2015/10/01 7:30 pm 
 2490 West 37th Avenue (at Larch Street), Vancouver 
 John Gordon 
Join award winning photographer John Gordon as he shares highlights from his recent trip across Canada.  His coast-to-coast journey included visits to Saskatchewan’s Chaplin Salt Lake, Manitoba’s southern grasslands, Ontario’s Agawa Rock Pictographs, New Brunswick’s Grant Manan Island, and Newfoundland’s Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve.

Link here:

Thursday 24 September 2015

Great Egret: Finally!

Sept 22 2015 Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary Sunny 14c

Finally, after five attempts I now have some decent shots the Great Egret. The elusive wader had been hanging around the Lower Mainland for the last month or so. The bird had lots of us birders running around and there are still many hoping for a first sighting. Egrets are not often seen here, I believe the last sighting in the Lower Mainland was 2013 at Grant Narrows.
Great Egret

Apart from one distant view through a scope I had been chasing the egret for two weeks without much luck. Finally I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I had just photographed the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Sora in the outer ponds at Reifel. The sharpie was a 2015 year bird for me and so after a long day I had decided to go home. On my way out to the car a cluster of photographers were all pointing their lenses in the same direction which usually means only one thing, the egret was back in Fuller's Slough. It was at first a distant speck some 400 metres away. I decided to stay to see if the bird would move. There were a few birders who I knew so the time passed quickly. We whittled away the time comparing lenses, a peculiarly male trait when after about an hour of waiting the egret suddenly flew closer, it was still a speck but a much larger speck. None of us had a Hubble telescope so we waited and waited until for whatever reason the egret decided to fly directly at us. I'm glad I stayed.
Great Egret Nikon D300s Nikon 500 F4 1/2000 F8
I shot this with a tripod mounted Nikon 500mm F4 on a D300s. I had just packed away the new Nikon 200mm-500mm F5.6 which I had been test driving earlier in the day. I would have loved to have had the zoom close at hand as the bird came closer and I couldn't get  all of the bird in as it flew over and around us. The lady next to me with a 80mm-200mm zoom probably has even better shots, hell, even someone with a point and shoot would have worked. Don't get me wrong I am not disappointed with these results after all the effort and time I had put in the bird.
When I got home and checked the files in Lightroom I am glad I had underexposed the shot by a stop and half as it reveals good detail in the feathers. The F8 F stop gave me good depth of field and 1/2000 sec shutter speed froze the action.

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

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Coast to Coast Presentation

If you have the time come along an enjoy this free presentation. The library is in the Langley Township Hall behind the London Drugs/Walmart Complex. 

Friday 11 September 2015

Some More Shorebirds

Sept 10 2015 Boundary Bay, Delta BC. Sunny

Sanderlings and Western Sandpipers roost on the rising tide.



Western Sandpiper
Before I made my way out to photograph the flood tide I made sure my camera and lens was calibrated. I used the Nikon D300s and the 500mm F4 with a 1x4 converter. As you can see these shots are sharper than the previous blog with just a moderate amount of sharpening.
I found out later that I had missed the Hudsonian Godwit and the White-fronted Geese which tells me I should have waited for the ebb tide when the Black-bellied Plovers returned.

Beside the birds, it was good to meet up with a number of birders I hadn't seen for months so that was good and as is the case with birding there is always another day.

"It's never late to start birding"
John Gordon
Langley /Cloverdale
BC Canada

Thursday 10 September 2015

Sandpipers and Godwits

Sept 9 2015 Boundary Bay Delta BC Sunny 23c

Baird's Sandpiper and Semi-palmated Sandpiper.
Hudsonian Godwit (L) and Bar-tailed Godwit (R) shelter with a flock of Black-bellied Plovers.

Hudsonian Godwit and Black-bellied Plovers.

Both Godwits in flight.
The Hudsonian ( bottom L) can be identified by the black under the wings and smaller size. The Bar-tailed has a more rufous colour.A low flying plane spooked the flock and the photo session was over.

Bar-tailed Godwit in flight.

The apparent lack sharpness in the was due to the calibration or fine tuning that had been altered after I had the D7100 in for repairs. I had to use more sharpening than I would have liked to save these images. Anyway it was great to see both godwits together which make for easier identification. Thanks to Mike Tabak who birding experience helped me find these birds. 

"It's never to late to start birding"
John Gordon
Langley Cloverdale
BC Canada

Some Nikon P900 Grab shots

After the trip across Canada it was time for some quality family time. I had been away two months and the green green garden I had left now looked like a war zone, burnt to a crisp by the lack of rain and watering restrictions.
The hot weather also meant that any birding activity would have to be undertaken early in the morning or not at all, mostly it was not at all! Anyway July is usually devoted to my other half unless of course there is a rarity in town and then she comes along and goes biking while I concentrate on the birding. Last time I found the bird in ten minutes and she was gone for three hours!
It was also time to go BC camping and so I took the Nikon P900 in case I saw anything interesting. Here are some results.
Boundary Bay
Nikon P900

California Bighorn Sheep. Lillooet
Nikon P900

California Bighorn Sheep Lytton Hwy 12.

Juvenile Hairy Woodpecker. Lillooet
Nikon P900

Finally I had some time to go birding after the Labour Day weekend. I chose the ferry terminal thinking I might find the Great Egret, this Whimbrel was a nice surprise. The Egret was a no show.
Whimbrel Tsawassen Ferry Terminal Sept 9 2015
Nikon P900 at 2000mm handheld. Shutter priority 

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