I knew there was something wrong when during the Ladner Christmas Bird Count my left foot starting acting up. At the end of the day I could hardly stand, to add insult to injury my car broke down and had to be towed back to Langley. I first thought the pain was from an older lingering injury. That night I searched the internet for a diagnosis and soon discovered I had contracted Planta Faciitis. In the scheme of things it's a temporary inconvenience. The bottom line is that I have had to curtail my daily walks and my birding. Keeping off my feet for a few days quickly turned into two weeks and two weeks is now approaching almost two months and I'm still not fully mobile.
To continue birding and listing I had to come up with a cunning plan. The solution was simple. I would bird from my car or at a push not more than few hundred metres away.
First up was a Virginia Rail and then this Sora at Terra Nova, it was close enough to the parking lot for me to handle the walk.
|This Sora was a short distance from the Terra Nova car park.|
My limited mobility's meant planning places with easy access. White Rock Promenade is a good example. It's only a few steps from the car park to where I had no problems scoping for Long-tailed Ducks and White-winged Scoters and half a dozen other species.
At Blackie Spit a Kildeer was close enough to be scoped from the car window. I even found a Willet on the foreshore at 104 St, again only a few steps from the car to the dyke overlooking Boundary Bay
My longest trek so far was for the American Bittern at Terra Nova, a short jaunt of a few hundred metres but that was enough steps to send me back home with an aching foot. I even scored a few year birds including a Bonaparte's Gull at Ambleside, again only a few steps from the car park
(Below) Wilson's Snipe taken within 100 metres from the car.
The American Bittern is a difficult bird to find at anytime of the year. This was only the third I had come across in a decade. There was snow on the ground and it was an unseasonably cold the day I went to Terra Nova in Richmond. I had the notion of settling down and watching the bird forage along the dyke. I sat on my haunches and kept a low profile. I figured that because of the direction the bird was heading it would eventually have to negotiate a small snow bank, it was just a question of hunkering down and being patient. Eventually when the foot traffic on the dyke had petered out the bird crossed the snow bank, all I needed was overexpose (because of the snow) one stop to get plenty of detail in the plumage.
My next car birding outing was for a flock White-fronted Geese that had been seen flying over the Serpentine Fen. Previous attempts to locate he flock had been unsuccessful. A text from birding buddy Mike Klotz led to the exact spot on 40th Ave in Surrey. I photographed the geese from the car with my favourite Nikon D500 and 200mm-500mm F5.6 Zoom. I beginning to like car birding.
A Few More Images to put February to Bed
|Peregrine Falcon flyover.|
|Northern Hawk Owl hunting for voles.|
(A Rare Bird)
A few weeks into my Planta Faciitis I felt that my foot was getting better. Against my better judgementI decided to go on walkabout with fellow birder Carlo Giovanella in search of a Northern Hawk Owl. The walk would entail a kilometre or two of walking on level ground, a cakewalk I thought.
|I decided to keep the whole branch in the picture rather than crop tightly.|
Thanks for looking.
Some interesting links
"It's never to late to start birding"