Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saw-whet Owl? If not now, then Wren?

Now that the Vancouver 2010 Olympics are behind us, it's time to put away our extended work hours and get back to our regular scheduled programming - life, as usual. To celebrate, this past Monday, Robbie and I decided to head to Westham Island, to the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. We went, primarily, to seek out the Saw-Whet Owl. There were a number of sightings out there, recently. The sightings I refer to can be found HERE

We managed to get out early and immediately started heading west, on Ladner Trunk Rd. Typical in Winter, were the many Bald Eagles perched in high treetops, along the roadside. That's when I asked Robbie if she wanted to REALLY see Eagles! I turned South on 72nd, towards the Boundary Bay Airport...and instantly, we were transported to a place that time forgot. A time when dinosaurs and large flying raptors ruled the earth. The cold blue sky was full of Bald Eagles, circling in the brisk morning breeze.



The treetops were packed with several generations, too. Many of the trees had 5-6 Bald Eagles roosting.



I pulled off the road, adjacent to a large tree, complete with an Eagles nest nestled in the fork. We arrived just on time to watch the female fly in with a large tree branch, adding the finishing touches to an already massive nest.



Had it not been so bloody cold, Robbie and I would have spent more time watching them. Alas, we were chilly, and relucantly climbed back into the car. Westham Island awaits.

We were the first to arrive, a little before 9AM. Once thru the front entrance, we stopped to feed the ducks. This sweet little Northern Pintail was still snoozin'....



This Male Mallard was lookin' spiff....



Robbie noticed a photographer darting down the path behind us. Could he be searching for the Saw-Whet Owl too? He wasn't stopping. He was clearly on a mission. We casually followed him, stopping only to peer up tree trunks, and inside Holly bushes.

Unfortunately, Robbie and I have a weakness: Black-capped Chickadees! We stopped to hand feed them and quickly lost sight of the photographer.



Robbie and I must have looked up every single tree, and scanned every single Holly bush. We backtracked. We took different trails [some of 'em twice]. No luck.

We were walking along the north marsh when I heard the Wren singing. I quickly pulled out my iphone and loaded my Sibley's application. Searched and located the Marsh Wren call, and engaged. Soon, there were several Marsh Wrens singing. We struggled to get a clear shot that wasn't obscured by brush. Did a single one come out to investigate? Nooooo! We tried, in vain. This is the best of 'em...



During our time at Reifel, I did manage a life bird - a Ring-necked Duck. A beautiful female and her mate...








The usual suspects were present. We noticed that the Buffleheads ventured closer to shore than on previous visits.



There were hundreds of these beautiful Red-winged Blackbirds too. This one was doin' the splitz!



Frustrated, disappointed and hungry, we decided to head out. That's when I heard him. The sweet song of a Marsh Wren. With an exaggerated *heavy eye roll*, and a lift of the middle finger towards the tall grasses dotted with cattails, I wondered aloud if, this time, he was finally somewhere we could see him. He was!







"Saw-whet Owl? If not now, then Wren?" Introducing the only Wren that came out of hiding on this day! It was a good day!


7 comments:

  1. Awesome post Kim...love the Red-Winged Blackbird doin' the splitz!!! hehe

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  2. I really like the Bald Eagles. I saw 2 today at Bona Dea Park and posted on my blog. Things are starting to jump around here since spring has sprung. I really enjoy your blog and just love to be outdoors.

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  3. great photos as usual, you got great shots of the ducks, colors really pop

    dan

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  4. Excellent post and I love the photos!

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  5. I would like to second the awesome post! Love the Eagle photos, and all of the ducks and... well, I love them all!

    John
    aka MaineBirder

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  6. Fantastic photos--what a great day of fabulous finds.

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  7. Great post and photos. A great day indeed!

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