Saturday 7 September 2019

BCFO Conference Golden BC

 Moberly Marsh Survey Route.
Golden BC

After some excellent birding on the first day of the June BCFO Golden Conference those birders that had signed up for the Moberly Marsh Sunday morning walk were well prepared with rain gear and gumboots. 
Despite rain and grey skies the morning immediately kicked off with a great find all thanks to the finely tuned ear of Adrian Leather. We hadn't gone more than a few hundred metres when he was quickly onto a pair of Le Conte’s Sparrows. We eventually heard a total of five and that was just along our pathway. How many others were spread out over the many acres of fields would be interesting. 

Le Conte's sparrow

Not much further along from the Le Conte's our group were lucky enough to observe a small colony of Bobolinks.
 Such a treat for the Lower Mainland birders who would normally have to visit the Okanagan for any type of view. The long uncut meadow grasses harboured numerous species of flowers and an incredible amount of insect life.

A female Bobolink perches on long grasses.

The owner of the field who we eventually met at the end of out walk has the insight not to mow his fields until after the nestlings have fledged. I hope a letter of appreciation from BCFO goes to him.

Male Bobolink

As the group walked on I became distracted by a movement on the bushes, it was soon obvious that a pair of Bobolink were courting. Although I missed the birds passing food to each other it does show an interesting interaction nethertheless. 

The Courtship

Female Bobolink

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

The Nikon D500 and the comparatively lightweight Nikon 200mm-500mm F5.6 is the perfect set-up for a birder on the move. It allows for long distance hikes, composing on the fly and the capture of a wider variety of images than carrying a fixed 500mm or 600mm with gimbal head and tripod. It's also far easier to travel on planes and so far I haven't noticed much if any difference in image quality. Where the more "professional" set-up wins is when the photographer goes after a specific subject matter and there may be much standing around waiting for the quarry.

Already LeConte’s and Bobolinks and we had only been birding thirty minutes. More great sighting were to come including a nest with a Western Wood Pewee and a squabble between a crow and a pair of Bullock’s Orioles which led to some interesting interactions. No one seemed to worse for the fracas.

Nest building

A Western Wood-Pewee weaves a nest.

 Sixty-five species later a soggy but contented group of birders returned to our cars but not before spotting a pair of Sandhill Cranes, a highlight for many in the group.
A big thanks goes out to our guide Verena Shaw for arranging permission to access the private property and the BCFO for making it a memorable convention.

American Redstart

"It's never too late to post a blog"
John Gordon
BC Canada

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