Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter on Westham Island

After a two week battle with a nasty winter cold, I was eager to get out into the brisk sunshine to birdwatch. Sadly, we picked today [Sunday] to head out to Westham Island - the busiest day at the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. I usually like to bird at this location during the week, when only the professional photographers are out. I had a temporarily lapse in judgement [I will blame it on cabin fever!]

Upon arrival, we stopped at the usual display pond, near the entrance. There were few ducks present as most were out on the trails, panhandling for seed -- oodles and oodles of Mallards, American Coots, and American Wigeons...

We continued down the East trail when we noticed a photographer pointing his extremely long lens up a large Pine tree. A small group had gathered near the base, all pointing their lenses of various lengths up the same tree. I casually asked the photographer, with the longest lens, what he had found. He kindly pointed to a 'Y' in the tree. It took me a few seconds to see it ... a gorgeous [and HUGE] Barred Owl...

A Life Bird...

From that moment on, we were scanning the treetops, and it's a good thing we were because we saw this...

...and this....a Juvenile Bald Eagle

The treetops were full of American Bald Eagles, both Juvenile and Adult.

There were a few smaller birds too, like Golden-crowned, White-crowned, and Song Sparrows, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, and hundreds of the American Robins, like this one...

Red-Winged Blackbirds and these beautiful Cedar Waxwings...

Hundreds of Black-capped Chickadees, like these...

Back in the water, a gorgeous lone Bufflehead was swimming.

Oddly, the Wood Ducks were not in the water. They were on the seed table...

The Snow Geese were present out on the North Marsh, once again. There were several large raptors keeping them on the move...

Finally, one cannot visit the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary without seeing a squirrel or two. I liked the way this squirrel was using his own tail to keep his neck warm...

Although it was an extremely busy [and cold] day on Westham Island, the birds we did see made the trip worthwhile.


  1. Wow..great shots! How very exciting to see that gorgeous owl and all the other wonderful birds of the day...fab!

  2. What an amazing shot of the pair of Wood ducks!

  3. Oh my, you had a great day! I love that owl! I can't wait to get one myself.


  4. What a great way to end the holiday week! Your pics are fab, as usual :)

  5. Awesome photos... and congrats on the Barred Owl!

  6. Wonderful photos! I especially liked the one of the Wood Ducks!

  7. What an absolutely stunning sequence of pictures and narrative. That must have been an awesome day and certainly one to remember.

  8. First time visited-very impressed My garden birds never stay still enough to be photographed