Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Sunny Day Birding

Oct 4/16 Westham Island/Brunswick Point/BC
I spent the morning at Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. As luck would have it I was only a five minute walk from where a sharp-tailed sandpiper had been spotted by Reifel manager Kathleen Fry. The light was good and the bird was not too far way, too bad I didn't have my big lens and teleconverter but the Nikon 200-500 F5.6 worked well enough. 

Juvenile Sharp-tailed sandpiper

The sharp-tailed, a juvenile bird was the second sighting of the year for me and made my morning. I also had to time to chat with Tottenham Hotspurs (Spurs) fan Nigel whose superb photography I have been following on Twitter. It's alway good to chat 'footy' with a fellow Brit. You might ask, what has that got to do with birding..absolutely nothing, except spinning yarns about birding and the beautiful game is an excellent ways to pass the time of day. 

Long-billed dowitcher and short-tailed sandpiper.

On the other hand the northern shrike was a ways off so I have had to enlarge it 300%. Add to that the sun was behind the bird. I had to overexpose to get any detail and then apply the shadow tool in Lightroom to bring out any breast markings. Anyway it was a year bird (#241 for Canada) so I was more than happy. Not so happy were a nearby flock of American pipits it was hunting.
Distant ID shot of northern shrike.


What owls are supposed to do in the daytime....Sleep!

Barred Owl
Most owls, except a few diurnal species like short-eared owls hunt mostly at dusk and night. During the day they have to sleep.
Recently I saw a series of barn owl shots in which every single shot the bird was fully alert and staring right in to the camera lens, it even looked ruffled and agitated.
I can't be certain but it looked like the bird had been disturbed purely to get a photograph. Studies have shown that owls that are disturbed and are deprived of sleep have a far higher mortality rate than normal. 

Owls are one of the most sought after species by photographers so putting their welfare first is paramount. In time you'll eventually find an owl out in the open feeding. Perhaps a long-eared owl preening on a fence post or a barn owl hunting over a field at dusk, that's the time to take all the photographs you want. If perhaps you haven't photographed too many owls and find a sleeping bird take a quick shot (like the barred owl above) and quietly move on. Let sleeping birds sleep. There will always be another opportunity.

"Let sleeping owls sleep"
John Gordon
Bc Canada


  1. Beautiful shot of the Sharpie and Nigel Tate's photography is indeed superb!

  2. Thanks also for posting the owl etiquette reminder as Owl season is approaching on us it is always good to put out there and remember. Cheers.