Friday 20 November 2015

From 72 to 64 and Back

Nov18 2015  72nd Ave to 64th Ave and back. Sunny breaks 9c.
Yesterday I just wanted to bird and not have to bother carting around a whole bunch of heavy camera gear. Instead I took a lightweight DSLR kit with zoom lens and binoculars, that way I could cover more ground. Here are some of the results.
Mixed flock of Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Mallard and other ducks.
During winter, enormous flocks of birds are a common sight on Boundary Bay. Often as many as fifty-thousand or more waterfowl, plovers and sandpipers can be seen at any one time. On the flood tide, the birds, each with their particular niche come very close to shore, which in turn makes for excellent viewing opportunities. It is then that predators like the Peregrine Falcon and Merlin come out to hunt, sending the flocks skyward and into intricate spiralling murmurations. Meanwhile life goes on in the hedges, fields and foreshore where a variety of other species can be seen and heard.

Golden-crowned Kinglet.
Freed from the need to carry a tripod I was able to cover much more of the dyke trail than I would normally have attempted. I've always secretly envied the Canon shooters with their amazing 100mm-400mm lens, so when Nikon finally got their act together with the Nikon 200mm-500mm zoom I was especially happy. These images are with the latter and Nikon D7100. I walked for three hours before realizing it, It was like walking on air, so immersed in the experience I even forgot to eat my packed lunch. Even my thought processes subsided, allowing each moment to present itself fully...I suppose that is why so many are attracted to birding and all that goes with it.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Full frame)
I include this shot because the birds were so far away I couldn't ID them until I got home and cropped the below image. The shape of the flock triggered the idea that they weren't Canada Geese whose distinctive V flock formation is a giveaway or a raggle taggle flock of Snow Geese. As it turned out the White- fronted were a new addition to my 2015 year list, thank goodness for eBird for keeping track!

A crop of the full frame reveals the bird's identity.

Great Blue Heron.
I was attracted to this image of the heron because of what to me looked like a large pincer shape as the Heron is reflected in the water.

The Marsh Wren, noisy but secretive.

Purple Finch picking out the seeds from a Pacific Crabapple.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

A Short-eared Owl spots a vole and dives down for the kill.

After being stuck indoors for a few days, the need to commune with nature was duly satisfied. On the drive home the warmth of the car's heater made it difficult to keep from dozing off, I thought of supper, a steaming hot baked Russett potato, sliced open with a generous portion of fresh butter and grated cheddar cheese. What a way to end the day!

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


  1. Beautiful shots John especially the Kinglets! Hope you have a great weekend at the Bald Eagle festival!

  2. Beautiful photos John! I'm quite delighted to find your blog as I live in your neighbourhood and have been thinking about getting into birding. Perhaps you could give me some tips to head me in the right direction. My longest zoom is the 70-200mm which won't be long enough I suppose. All input gratefully received!

    1. Hi Gina,
      Thanks for reading and the kind comments. If you look at the blogs of Dec through Jan of any year you can see where the best places are to go. Many of them are very close especially Brydon Lagoon in Langley City, Stokes Pit on192/24 St, Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach, the list goes on and on. Contact me in the new year and we can bird and i'll give you some birding tips to get you on your way. Be warned, birding can be addictive!