Thursday 11 May 2017

Birding Twice in One Day

May 11 2017 Glen Valley/Blackie Spit BC Canada.

The rain began soon after I arrived in Glen Valley. Even the Savannah Sparrows had headed for cover. The telephone wires held Barn, Tree,Violet-Green and Cliff Swallows. Further along the line the silhouette of one bird was different, a shorter tail and rounder body. I coasted the car along and took one shot from the window. The Lazuli Bunting proved to be another year bird.

Lazuli Bunting.

The rain came down so hard I decided to make my way home to watch the Arsenal v Southampton game. I had just sat down with a piping hot cup of tea when a bird text alert came in for nearby Blackie Spit. Six American White Pelicans were resting in the estuary, possibly brought down by the inclement weather. A quick call to neighbour and chauffeur Carlo and we were on the road. I had a hunch the birds would stick around and sure enough there they were, on the other side of the estuary, a long way off but well worth an ID shot.

American White Pelican.
This is the first time I have seen American White Pelicans in the Lower Mainland and well worth the ride down to Crescent Beach.

Just as we were about to leave four Purple Martins appeared overhead feasting off a hatch of insects. I rattled off thirty or so shots. I had to shoot at 1600 ISO just to get 1/500 at F5.6, barely enough to capture the fast moving birds. I managed to stop the motion in a few shots by shooting handheld and panning with the birds in flight.

Purple Martin (male)

Purl Martin (female)

I really hadn't planned doing more than an hours birding today but I ending up finding three new year birds and staying dry in the process. 

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


  1. Congrats on both the Lazuli Bunting and the White Pelicans I thought I heard one (Lazuli Bunting) in east Abbotsford this morning but I could not find it. I would have been quite excited to go see the Pelicans.

  2. Hi Nick,
    I just came back from Ross Lake in the Skagit Valley. The birding is great now with no bugs. Tanagers, many Townsend's and Black-throated Gray. Western Meadowlark, Evening Grosbeak and Calliope Hummingbird at Whitworth Meadows.

  3. Gorgeous shots of the Purple Martins John! Congrats on seeing those Pelicans and the lazuli.