Thursday 29 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dec 21-27 2016 Brunswick Point to Boundary Bay

Thousand of Dunlin and possibly a few western sandpipers flock around the Delta coal terminal where if the bird brains of commerce have their way a second coal port is planned. Also off Brunswick Point were a good trumpeter swans, thousands of dabbling and diving ducks. Just the thought of the disturbing the area more than it already has boggles the mind. 

Sandpipers feed on the nutritious bio-film. Scientists (what do they know) fear any more development off Brunswick Point will effect the flow in the delta, one of the most important stop offs for migrating sandpipers.

Some thoughts about composition
I shot from a high angle to incorporate the black log and burnt background. This composition makes the bird pop out against the background. I shot this on manual setting at 1/320sec at F5.6 ISO 800. Had I used aperture priority or another program mode the dark background would have overexposed the wren. Although I occasionally use aperture priority, manual setting usually provide better results.

 A low angled close-up portrait where I chose a background of a distant marsh. I also incorporated the tried and trusted two-thirds rule of composition. Note how the bird has room to look into the frame. Often we photographers crop too closely and the subject seems to be 'crammed' into the frame with nowhere for the subject or imagination to go.
With this shot I moved few feet and included more of the background allowing the shape of the log to lead the eye from the left upwards toward the bird.
I spent maybe ten minutes watching the bird from a distance, noting it movements before approaching and shooting handheld.

Merlin (Prairie race)
My next stop was to see if I could photograph the golden eagle on 72 but when I arrived I met Ray and Mike they suggested I go for the prairie merlin on 96. As we birders sometime do, I drove like the wind albeit at the speed limit. I arrived just in time to find the bird sitting in a tree.

 My camera was extracted from the car just in time to rattle off a few shots before it took off to hunt. I missed a perfect flight shot by millimetres and had to settle for this shot below.
This merlin is a lighter colour overall than the merlins normally seen on the coast,
while the setting sun also adds a warm tinge.


Dec 27th:
 Finally but not least I wanted to see if I could snatch a few frames of the golden eagle on 72 in Delta.  I had just spent the whole day n the Ladner bird count and had just a few minutes to catch the bird before sunset. I lucked out and within fifteen minutes the eagle had left its favourite perch to go hunting. Moments later it returned before a cloud blocked the 'sweet light' and it was time to head for home and watch the Liverpool game.

Golden eagle.

All shots handheld with the Nikon D500 and Nikon 200mm-500mm.

Finally but not least I would like to thank all those who have visited the blog over the past twelve months, those who have left comments and to those who through the blog I have met in the field. I have really enjoyed our chats. I learnt alot along the way.

Wishing you all healthy, happy and prosperous 2017

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon
BC Canada


  1. Great shot of the Prairie Merlin! Happy New Year John

  2. Likewise, it's been a blast. I hope 2017 has lots of good birding opportunities.

  3. Lovely photos John
    Happy New Year and good birding!