Saturday, January 23, 2010

For the Birds...

Robbie and I started our day, on Westham Island, the usual way; by hand feeding the Black-capped Chickadees along the outer trail of the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.



Black-capped Chickadees are among the most trusting of all song birds. As we fed them, other birds crept out from the brush or ventured down from the treetops, watching as one Chickadee after another landed in our hand.

Many considered doing the same...




Like this chubby little Golden-crowned Sparrow...



Like this beautiful singer, the Song Sparrow...



Like this handsome Red-winged Blackbird....



Only the Black-capped Chickadees were trusting enough, though.



After a few minutes, I noticed that the Golden-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Red-winged Blackbirds I was admiring had all but disappeared into the brush. Moments later, a large bird buzzed through the trees, past us, and snagged a bird in its talons along the way. After Robbie and I got over the initial shock, we crept down the path until we discovered the offender in a nearby tree -- a Cooper's Hawk...



As we made our way down the path, we started to realize that a number of these Cooper's were working their territory, looking for unsuspecting, well fed songbirds. Songbirds fed by us!

Although we were looking for owls, we did see many other birds like this one, a Northern Flicker, perched high up in the tree..



In the display ponds, we saw many different species of waterfowl, including a pair of these gorgeous Mergansers [with a Gull to keep them company]...



This beauty was drifting silently along the surface with only her reflection to keep her company...



This handsome Northern Pintail was sunning himself on the waters edge...



While the ponds were filled with Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Greater and Lesser Scaups, American Wigeons, and the occasional wondering American Coot...













As we were leaving, Robbie and I scoped out the distand brush along the waters edge. We often see Black-crowned Night Herons at rest, and today was no exception. We saw one Juvy and one Adult...





It was a great day on Westham Island but...we decided not to end the day there. We drove across the Westham Island swing bridge out to Brunswick Point. After a short walk along the trail, we saw them - Double-crested Cormorants and lots of 'em, resting on the pilings along the waters edge.





These birds are fun to watch, as they dry their wings in the cool Winter air...



As Robbie and I made our way back to the car, we reflected on our day. The birds of Westham Island and Brunswick point were doing what they do every day, rain or shine, whether we are here to observe them or not. What will you find in your nearby trees, ponds, or rivers...along your shorelines?

4 comments:

  1. Nice set of pics LadyWoodpecker
    Congrats!
    Mike

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  2. Wonderful photos! What a great way to spend the day.

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  3. I really enjoyed your photos and your post! You are a fantastic photographer! I think it's so cool that the Chickadees eat out of your hand!

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  4. Great photos!

    I was in Stanley Park the other day and noticed a distinct lack of Mallards. Instead there were plenty of American widgeons and hundreds of (what I believe were) Barrow's goldeneyes! Around Second Beach were sanderlings and oyster catchers. I don't recall ever seening those around Stanley Park. I took some photos but haven't posted them all yet. But what a day!

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