Friday 5 February 2016

Between Rain Showers

Jan 28-Feb 4 2016 Boundary Bay. Clouds and occasional sunny breaks 8c

Getting out of my car, bundling up against of the wind and rain I made my way up to the dyke. I had only walked few feet when a small flock of Western Meadowlarks flew overhead,
Western Meadowlark
Mud Bay.

I had been away in the UK when Northern Pygmy Owl was reported on vanbcbirds. I was hoping it would hang around until I got home. I was curious having never visited the site before, besides it would be another year bird to add to the list. 
Northern Pygmy Owl.

There were many birders and photographers waiting for the owl to fly down and hunt. I was there thirty minutes, during that time I was lucky enough to get this shot before darkness fell.

Ring-necked Duck
Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Why this bird isn't called a Ringed-billed Duck I'll never know. This shot does however show the ring on the neck, hence the name.

Iona Jetty Feb 1 2015
If anyone ever needed a walk it was me. I had spent the weekend watching footy I had recorded on the PVR. The only exercise I had over the weekend was dunking digestive biscuits into my tea as I binged on one game after another. It was heaven but as the season progresses so my waistline expands. It was time to walk Iona Jetty all 4km (2.5miles ) of it.

 I had heard there were a flock of Snow Buntings at the very tip of the jetty. On the way out I saw plenty of sea ducks foraging for shellfish, even a River Otter swimming along with a dead gull in its mouth. Does anyone know if otters catch birds live or just scavenge?
Barrow's Goldeneye.
One small raft of Black Scoter contained about thirty birds, further out a much larger number of Surf Scoters dove for shellfish. Buffleheads, Red-necked Grebes and Double-Crested Cormorants made up the rest of the flotilla.

Black Scoter
(left to right) Female, male,and a juvenile in the background.

Finally at the end of the jetty I found a flock of eighteen Snow Buntings, they never stayed put very long so I went a few hundred feet ahead of them and waited until they reached me. They were feeding on algae covered rocks.
Snow Buntings feeding on algae.
The Nikon 200mm-500mm lens allowed me to frame these birds handheld. I was able to clamber over the slippery rocks without damaging an expensive tripod.

The final shot before leaving the birds to feed. 

 Surf Scoters.
As I walked back to the car a raft Surf Scoters came within about a hundred metres. Normally it is best to shoot at a lower level but this angle does show the formation showing male, female and juvenile birds 

Thursday Feb 4/16
 Blackie Spit weekly bird count with Gareth Pugh 41 species noted

With the light being so dull I decided not to take a DSLR instead I packed the Nikon P900 point and shoot.
The P900 is perfect for bird identification and sometimes even when zoomed out 2000 mm and handheld it can produce interesting results. While our group watched four Northern Flickers courting I fired off this image. The second bird the left had yellow/orange tail feathers, an intergrade.
Northern Flickers
Note second bird from left has orange tail feathers.

Distance ID shot of the same bird.
More Info

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

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