Nov 20 2017 Mill Lake Abbotsford BC
I had been looking for Common Redpolls for weeks. Finding a reliable report is fine but flocks tend to move around making them difficult to locate. This time I had a good lead from vanbcbirds that there had been a sighting in Abbotsford. That was on Saturday, Sunday I had other plans but for Monday I had the time to make the thirty minute trip from Cloverdale
When I arrived Mill Lake was wet and cold, even a few flakes of snow. After walking halfway around the lake without much luck I finally spotted a small flock of birds. There were perhaps twenty in total, soon more arrived and then another influx, I counted at least a hundred. They were too far away to photograph and were high in the trees against an ugly grey sky. Apart from a few Pine Siskins, a single Black-capped Chickadee and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet they were all Common Redpolls.
As I mentioned I had heard about the flock on vanbcbirds, a list server that notifies birders about bird sightings. Where ever I have travelled in BC, across Canada or around the world I have found an amazing network of birders willing to take the time to show complete strangers like myself around their patch, it's simply amazing. Most areas have birding sites like vanbcbirds so why not go online next time you are headed out, it's well worth it.
Recently I have been wondering how much ego is wrapped up in the publishing images on social media. Why do we continue to photograph a species especially one at risk when we may already have dozens images already on file? Sometimes we may happen upon a bird and the opportunity presents itself and that can be fine but when twenty or more photographers converge on the same bird day after day and when it's the same photographers morning, day and night there has to be some questions asked about the motive. Maybe they're new to bird photography and will move on to other species once they have their fill. The focus for everyone is different but meanwhile wildlife can't speak for itself. Finally it's up to the individual to become mindful the impact the pressure might have on wildlife.
Another place to find put about BC bird sightings is
"It's never too late to start birding"