Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Score on the Shore

Robbie and I, once again, decided to spend the day birding. Since Robbie lives out in the Valley (a good 45 minutes away from my house in Cloverdale) and doesn't have access to shoreline where she lives, I thought it would be nice to include one or two of them today.

We started with Surrey Lake. The last time I was here, I saw a Belted Kingfisher hovering over the center of the lake. Sadly, I grabbed my binoculars instead of my camera and missed a great opportunity to photograph that unique behavior. We were hoping to see the Belted Kingfisher today.

When we arrived, at shortly after 8AM, there was a wispy fog hanging over the lake. It was beautiful and calm; the grassy marshes, trees, and skies were alive with bird songs and calls.

The Canada Geese were just arriving and the Great Blue Herons were lobbying for spots along the waters edge.

We saw many songbirds in the grassy marsh, including the Song Sparrow. In the trees, were American Robins, Northern Flickers, and Spotted Towhees.

Once we were satisfied that we had exhausted all the birding opportunities at this location, we moved on to Blackie Spit, in South Surrey. Back on September 5th, I was visiting one of my favorite birding sites, Birding in British Columbia. It was there, in the 'Bird Forum', where I had read about the Marbled Godwit and Long-Billed Curlew sighting. I visited Blackie Spit on September 6 and again on the 26th and both times, I never saw the pair.

Today, however, that all changed! 2 new Lifers! Behold the Marbled Godwit and the Long-Billed Curlew 'couple':

We also saw many young Great Blue Herons fishing near the shore.

The tide was way out, turning Mud Bay into one giant spit. Here is Robbie, scanning the landscape for sandpipers. Notice how she's staying away from the mud this time?

Since our appetites were growing, we decided to head into Ladner for some lunch. We stopped at ABC Country Restaurant for a tastey Thai Chicken Salad and then continued on to Westham Island, to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

At this location, we saw many Mallards (in various stages of molt), a family of 5 Sandhill Cranes, flocks of Dowitchers and Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, several more male and female Wood Ducks, American Coots, Great Blue Herons, and my first American Wigeon.

The Sandhill Cranes, taking flight.

Often, I wondered why the feeders at the Sanctuary were almost always empty. This is likely why...

We observed many Black-Capped Chickadees, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and, of course, Canada Geese.

All in all, it was an awesome day, with three new lifers to celebrate.

As always, we would like to extend a warm thank you to all of the birds of Surrey Lake, Blackie Spit, and Westham Island...for allowing us to observe them on this day.


  1. oh Baby..some real nice shots! You two sure had a super birding day!

  2. YOu have a whole bunch of great shots, congrats on the lifers

  3. Awesome stuff....we sure did have a great day!!

  4. Super fantastic post with wonderful pictures!! Looks like you had a terrific day!!

  5. Thanks for sharing. Love your birding stories. Great shots you got to, love the closeups, the fog was real nice and the blue herons. All were great though.

  6. Unbelievability exciting birding day for you and Robbie! Awesome photos too. I love the American Wigeon and congrats on the lifers too. Wow, what a day!

  7. What a day. Especially like crane, godwit, and curlew images!

  8. What a variety of great shots. I love the fog as it really sets the scene. Thanks for sharing

  9. wow - great pictures. I love the ones with the fog!