Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Birding at the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Although the threat of rain loomed, I didn't care. I was itching to get outside, and more specifically, outside to see birds and lots of them. The best place to see birds is the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island, B.C. I've been out there many times, during the summer months, so I was expecting to see a few migrants moving through at this location.

Upon arrival, I stopped at my favorite spot to watch my favorite songbird, the Black-capped Chickadee.

Down the path, a little further, I took notice of a few chirping birds angrily calling out from a nearby tree trunk - Gold-Crowned Sparrows and Black-Capped Chickadees....

They were waiting for this squirrel to finish up. I stood for quite a while and, it would seem, this squirrel was quite comfortable munching away...

I prefer to see squirrels the tree tops, munching on berries...

I placed seed on the fence posts along the trail for the Chickadees.

There were many Gold-Crowned Sparrows foraging on the ground..along with American Robins, Spotted Towhees, and Dark-Eyed Juncos.

Suddenly, I reached a quiet spot on the trail where no birds were singing. That's when I noticed this beauty, perched in a tree - A Red-Tailed Hawk.

Eventually, the lunch bell rang and the hawk flew off...

One thing you will always see at the Sanctuary are ducks, and plenty of 'em. I observed thousands of Mallards, Wood Ducks, Northern Pintails, Lesser Scaups, American Widgeons and American Coots...swimming happily in the many display ponds throughout the sanctuary.

Here's a gorgeous Northern Pintail...

A Lesser Scaup....

An American Widgeon came out of the water for some seed, trailed by several dozen Mallards....

A lovely Great Blue Heron posed for me, for just a few moments, before flying off...

A rare sight is this American Coot, out of the water. Those are some sexy legs, aren't they?

As my friend Robbie says, the American Coot call sounds like a kids bicycle horn. A very accurate description, IMO.

I finished up at the Sanctuary just as the clouds opened up with rain. I'm so happy I took advantage of this small window of opportunity, between rain showers. A great day spent with great birds.


  1. Kim - I thoroughly enjoyed reading this because I would like nothing better than to have done what you did on a Saturday - go birding! Great photos and great write-up!!

  2. I'll bet Joshua was excited to see the hawk. Beautiful photos as always!!!! What a great day!!!

  3. Kim, this is great..from squirrels to ducks. Stunning duck photos. Thanks for sharing

  4. I love your photos!

    Great capture of the American coots by the way. (I've always been a fan of their blue feet)!

    BTW - I've always nicknamed them "squeeky toy birds". Their calls always remind me of dog chewy toys or, well, you know. :)

  5. What a brilliant Saturday you have shared with us through your wonderful pictures and accompanying write-up. From Chickadees to ducks, from a Hawk to a Heron, and lets not forget the Squirrel. (Oops better mention the Coot too).