Monday 18 June 2018

Late Arrivals and Misc Rumblings

 2018 Various Locations Lower Mainland BC Canada 

Campbell Valley Park the forest was alive with bird song. I quickly noted half a dozen species by sight but there were many sounds I just couldn't make out. My target bird for the day was the Red-eyed Vireo and not being familiar I played a variety of calls and songs on my iPhone to familiarize myself. Finally after a few hours in the forest I heard the call I was hoping for, then I heard it again but as much as I tried I couldn't get on the bird. Despite that I spent a relaxing morning forest bathing and listening to bird song.

Gray Catbird.

The Gray Catbird is very localized in the Lower Mainland, Catbird Slough and Grant Narrows in Pitt       Meadows is the best place to spot them where in a few hours I saw six. They usually arrive around mid-May.

One of my favourite walks is the Brydon Lagoon forested area. Most days during the winter months an Anna's Hummingbird can often be found on a single bare branch hanging over one of the pathways. During the colder months some thoughtful person takes the trouble to replenish a feeder close to where the bird patrols. I'm pretty sure this is the same bird but this time he's in full display mode, no doubt trying to attract the female of the species.
Anna's Hummingbird.
The Brydon Green Heron was so pre-occupied stalking prey it took little notice of me. It was just by the car park where a small creek flows into the retention pond. I've seen it there a number of times along with small numbers of Common Snipe.

Green Heron.

Every year a pair of Ospreys nest at the Grant Narrows. During the winter storms their regular nesting platform collapsed. The new one was erected by volunteers but has not been utilized. They're now trying to raise a brood next to a very busy boat launch. 
If that wasn't bad enough a number of photographers have been coming every day. Most have been behaving responsibly by standing back a respectable distance, others not. Those who stand back are rewarded with a shots of the male bringing food for the sitting female. Unfortunately quite a number stand way too close, forcing the male away from the nest. It is the male who brings food to the female so she can stay at the nest and incubate the eggs.
Eventually I lost patience and asked two female photographers to back off and sure enough they did and within a few minutes the male had returned with a fish. 

House Wrens have never been common in the Lower Mainland except for a few known regular haunts. This year there have been many more reports including several locations in Langley and White Rock. That's great news for the wrens but not so good for the swallows whose boxes are becoming increasingly populated by the wrens. A single wren will use as many as eight nesting sites to attract a suitor.

House Wren.
Richmond Park East is a seldom visited park. A breeding colony of Orange-crowned Warblers is the main draw. The Richmond Nature Park consists of 200 acres of raised peat bog habitat that once covered large portions of Lulu Island. Thankfully no dogs are allowed so one can walk without being putting your foot in you know what.

Orange-crowned Warbler.

A stop off at Colony Farm turned up a pair of very confiding Eastern Kingbirds. They were first observed bathing in a ditch. If that wasn't close enough they turned up again at the duck pond but this time they flew incredibly close, an awesome experience.

Eastern Kingbird.

A few shots from under the power lines at the base of Mount Seymour. 

MacGillivray's Warbler

I spotted this Townsend's Warbler collecting what looks like dog hairs from the trail near the Mount Seymour parking lot. Birders crave good views of birds doing what birds do and this was a most satisfying look.
Townsend's Warbler
These two images of the Willow Flycatcher are the best I have ever managed of the species. I can now delete all the others so so files and free up some much needed space on my hard drives.  These images have a nice catchlight, the plumage is well defined and the background is far enough away as not to distract.

Willow Flycatcher.

All images handheld Nikon D500 and 200mm-500mm F5.6

*Since I started on this blogs weeks ago the Osprey have at least one offspring perhaps two so if you do go keep a little distance, no photo can be that important.

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


  1. Very cool shots John. yes it is sad about the ospreys at the boat launch and the photographers that aren't behaving well due to logistics i didnt get the new platforms up in time so the ospreys had little choice but lets hope that next year they use the new platforms and aren't susceptible to so much disturbance.

    beautiful shots!

  2. It was good to so many young birders the event. It was my third Manning Park Bird Blitz and to finally find a grouse and Three-toed woodpecker was a real treat and well worth the effort.