Wednesday 21 October 2015

Sparrows, Sandpipers and a Hawk

Oct 20 2015 Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary Sunny T-shirt weather.
The day began at Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Bonaparte, Mew, California and Glaucous-winged Gulls were busily preening on the foreshore. Several hundred Double-crested Cormorants were resting on the spit while around them were an equal number of American Wigeon and Northern Pintail. Sharing the shoreline were small flocks of Greater Yellowlegs and Dunlin.
Further out, more than a hundred Horned Grebe were diving for food, beside them a small flock of White-winged Scoters were chasing each other for no apparent reason. As I walked toward the ferry Song Sparrows jumped out of blackberry thickets to check out the camera wielding intruder.
It was time to move on to Reifel where I asked a couple of birders how there morning had been. They had seen a single Sharp-tailed Sandpiper with the flock of Long-billed Dowitchers. Hopefully it would be closer than the one I had seen earlier in the year.

Fortunately it was, sleeping alongside a pair of Long-billed Dowitchers.
Safety in numbers. A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper with Long-billed Dowitchers.

The sharpie was sleeping. I didn't have to wait long though as a Rough-legged Hawk spooked the flock.

Rough-legged Hawk
They flew around the pond returning back to their original roosting spot. The hawk was more intent on chasing larger prey and made it's way out to where thousands of Snow Geese and ducks were feeding on Spanish Banks. Eventually the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper returned.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. A rare visitor from Asia with perhaps less than half a dozen recorded each year.

On my way out of the sanctuary and across from the warming hut I noticed a sparrow that was a little different than the others, it seemed more skittish. I waited for it to come back out to forage. Anyway it turned out to be a gorgeous White-throated Sparrow which was feeding with a resident flock of European House Sparrows.
White-throated Sparrow on fence with nice clean background. 

A White-throated Sparrow forages amongst with autumn leaves. Way more storytelling than the previous picture. 

On my way home I dropped into 72nd Ave and found this Lincoln's Sparrow, a real nice way to close out another beautiful day in paradise.

Lincoln's Sparrow.
This shot with the Nikon 200mm-500mm and D7100.

 Some images from Oct 13/15 Reifel.
As an afterthought I include the two images from the same flock of Long-billed Dowitchers taken a few days earlier than the sandpiper images above. Pic#1 shows a Dunlin and Long-billed Dowitcher and the other a Pectoral Sandpiper with same flock of LBD.
Pix #1 Long-billed Dowitcher and Dunlin.

Pectoral Sandpiper with Long-billed Sandpiper (rear) and Short-billed Sandpiper.

Pectoral Sandpiper bathing with Long-billed Dowitchers.
Just thought it's interesting how the Long and Short-billed Dowitcher flock plus a few Greater Yellowlegs stay put and other sandpipers seem to come and go on a regular basis. Always worth a good look Eh!

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


  1. Gorgeous shots of the WTSP and STSP! Wow love that the Roughies are back!

    1. Thanks and so warm here. Saw some people in flip flops and T shirt but it's getting cold at night.