Sunday 10 December 2017

Summer in Winter

It was a lazy Sunday morning and I was pouring over a newspaper review about storyteller Stuart McLean's posthumous book Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe when an e-mail popped up on my desktop.
It was from my neighbour and birding buddy Carlo G or CAGO. The e-mail contained a link to one of McLean's most beloved stories The Bird. The significance of the link is that the story is about a Summer Tanager that came to a winter feeder and attracted many, many birders, so many in fact that it gave McLean leave to create a riotously brilliant, funny and most compelling piece of Canadiana. A link to The Bird is at the bottom of the page. It's well with a listen.


What you may ask what has all this have do with birding in Vancouver, well guess what, for the past few days a Summer Tanager which should be in sunny California has been visiting a bird feeder in chilly Metro Vancouver.
Yesterday I went to investigate and as with most twitches I met up with a good number of birders I hadn't seen for a while. This particular Summer Tanager is only the sixth on record for BC which in birding vernacular is a "good bird"
Between swapping stories I experimented using my camera on Auto ISO and using the back button to focus rather than the shutter button. The big advantage is that once focus is achieved touching the shutter button doesn't alter the focus. It takes a little while to get used to and the court is out but with the picture below I was able to shoot as the bird was perched and eating, once focused on all I needed was to shoot and worry about exposure. 

Summer Tanager.

Anyway it wasn't too hard to find and photograph the bird, the trick wait was for it to land out in the open without too many distractions so as to provide a pleasant composition. 

The young male will eventually become completely red.

                  Anyway, it was a nice sunny day, the traffic was light and the bird was a lifer, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  

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

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post but that summer Tanager shouldn't be in California he should be in Mexico or Central or South America much much further south in winter. In the summer they tend to be in more southern states like AZ and Texas they aren't that common in California although you do see them in extreme Southern California in Summer and a few do overwinter in the San Diego area usually.

    Great shots funny this little guy is attracting so much media attention we have had far rarer birds and far more dazzling ones at that but it's nice that not the most beautiful bird is getting noticed for once. He is the first record for Vancouver and I suspect that is what has to do with it. Fantastic shots by the way.

    Yes I posted that clip from Stuart McLean on my blog after I did a twitch to see the Northern Cardinal in Cranbrook. It sure is funny and so true to life!