Sunday 25 October 2015

Saturday Birding

Oct 24 2015 White Rock Pier 13c

I can't remember the last time I birded at White Rock pier but it was time to check out some of the wintering birds. There were several birders and photographer already there, some looking for the Clarks's Grebe, others like myself happy enough to photograph some of the Western and Horned Grebes feeding in and around the pier. I wasn't expecting to get close to a Red-necked Grebe. I had seen one in Saskatchewan's Grassland National Park in June but it was very wary so this was a good chance albeit out of breeding plumage to watch another fishing at close range. Technically the picture could be way better but for me the action makes up for those failings. 
Red-necked Grebe with what looks like a sandeel.

Who's looking at who? A Harbour Seal checks out the action on White Rock Pier.

Blackie Spit

After a few hours at the pier I made my way down to Blackie Spit where small shoal of bait fish were being chased by a Horned Grebe. There were also numerous Common Loon which seemed more interested in larger bottom fish and crabs.
Horned Grebe
There is a tremendous amount of luck when it comes finding the Blackie Spit Long-billed Curlew. Some days it can be found close-in, other times a scope is needed. This particular day it was feeding close to the dog beach. 
Despite there being two designated off-lease areas a number of dog guardians, some who live in Crescent Beach have been running their dogs on the spit despite a sign saying dogs prohibited. One even threatened me when I pointed out her blatant disregard for the bylaw. I digress. 
Anyway, I was birding with Raymond Ng so we both knew the bird would flush if we approached too quickly. We spent ten minutes approaching in small increments and having secured a few nice images were surprised when another photographer ran down the beach without any thought of stealth or field craft. The picture below is the bird being flushed as she charged down the beach. 
Long-billed Curlew.

Next up was a pair of Marbled Godwit which arrived just as birding buddy Raymond and I were about to go off to Boundary Bay. They fed in the exact same spot as the curlew.
Marbled Godwit

I never get very close to Black-bellied Plovers so it was nice to spend a few minutes with this bird.
Black-bellied Plover.

After the Blackie Spit outing it was off to Boundary Bay and 104 where were with the help of birder's scope I was able to watch a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Red Knot and perhaps ten thousand Black-bellied Plover, hundreds of Sanderling and Western Sandpiper. Alas the Golden Plover were nowhere to be found. Did I mention the thousands of Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Mallard and American Wigeon and a lone Merlin.

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

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