Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wings on Wednesday









Monday, August 23, 2010

A Cackling Goose...or Not?

During my latest trip to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island, British Columbia, I spotted what I believed to be a pair of Cackling Geese. Unfortunately, when I arrived home and attempted to upload my observations to Ebird, my "Cackling Goose" sighting was questioned. To follow are a few images of the goose, along with a few of the Canada, for comparison. It should be noted that I heard the "voice" of what I believed was the Cackling and it was remarkably different than that of the Canada...






Above three images are of the goose in question ~ a Cackling Goose?






The above three images are of the much larger [and more aggressive] Canada Goose.

According to articles I have read on the Cackling Goose, their range is only as far north as Oregon. While looking for more material on the goose, I found this excellent article on
"Distinguishing Cackling and Canada Goose" from "Sibley Guides".

What do you think? Are the geese in question really Cackling?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Welcoming Fall Migrants to B.C...

Once again, my best friend, Robbie and I, visited the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island. Although the forecast called for morning showers, the sky was blue, with only a few scattered clouds here and there to keep things interesting. The temperature was more reasonable, at a lovely 21c; a far cry from the 28-35c temperatures of only a week ago. We were hoping to see a few Fall migrants and Westham Island did not disappoint. To follow is my photo record of the day...


First up, a regular resident ~ a beautiful Mallard peaking out from behind the daisies...


...while this one takes a load off to enjoy the last little bits of summertime sun...


Life bird number one, for the day, was this rare find ~ a Cackling Goose...


...much cuter and less annoying than their larger cousins, the Canada Goose...


A migrant that I always enjoy observing every year, this time, is the beautiful Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs...




..and several small flocks of Long-billed Dowitchers. We will see greater numbers of these shorebirds as the summer winds down in British Columbia.


...another migrant is the American Coot. Greater numbers will begin to turn up here, along with Scaups, Northern Shovellers, Buffleheads, and American Wigeons.

Another rare find is the Pectoral Sandpiper. These beautiful Sandpipers prefer colder climates, spending most of the summer in the Northwest Territories and Alaska. We should see more of these over the coming weeks.


We saw many song birds too, including this juvenile Spotted Towhee...


..and this rather exhausted looking Rufous Hummingbird. Soon the hummingbirds will move south for the winter...


Another Fall visitor, is this White-crowned Sparrow


The birds weren't the only critters in the air....this lovely moth was enjoying some nectar from a daisy, as well.

This is a very exciting time of year for birds in British Columbia. Migrants will pass through the Pacific Flyway and, hopefully, plan to make coastal British Columbia their home, if only for a short while. With any luck at all, we will be there to greet them when they arrive. Until next time, my friends...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wings on Wednesday

The Canada Goose is here today...



Feeding and resting up...

To prepare for the long flight south....

Until we meet again, have a safe trip, my fine feathered friends...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Early Morning Birding...

This morning, I arrived at Elgin Heritage Park just as the sun was rising. The tide was in but heading out so I knew I had to cross the park, to the shoreline, as quickly as possible. Typically, when the tide is in, shorebirds forage closer to land and, naturally, this would offer better photo and observation opportunities. As the tide moves out, they forage further and further out.

First up...a row of Gulls....




I was halfway across the wooden bridge when I heard the "tututu'ing" of a Greater Yellowlegs. I picked up the pace. Behold...



The Greater Yellowlegs...



...caught in a stretch...



In all, there were 14 Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. They were flanked by 4 noisey Killdeer that I'm sure they were trying to ditch....



There were Canada Geese...



...and Yellow Warblers [...a life bird for the day!]



...not an easy bird to catch, IMO...



Another bird difficult to catch is the Common Yellowthroat Warbler ~ this one, a juvenile.



The trees were filled with the sound of high-pitched hissy whistles...flocks of Cedar Waxwings passing through, no doubt, for the feast of ripening blackberries...



Where tall grass once grew, alone, now Cattails keep them company...a sign that Fall is near...



Some of the Bull Thistles were seeding...




...while others were still shining brightly, in shades of purple.



Apples....




A splash of colourful berries....



..and beautiful summertime flowers make Elgin Heritage Park a great place to visit. The birds make it even better!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wings on Wednesday




Saturday, August 7, 2010

A trip to Elgin Park, South Surrey...

Recently, I visited one of my favorite local birding hotspots, Elgin Heritage Park in South Surrey, British Columbia. I arrived shortly after 7:00 AM, and quickly discovered that this, in fact, is the best time to visit. To follow are just a few of the photos I managed to take....






A Garter Snake...in the grass....


A Yellowlegs, reflecting...


A curious 1st year Common Yellow-throat...


A Black-headed Grosbeak [...and a life bird too]...


The elusive Willow Flycatcher...


A fleeting moment with a Bushtit...


...and those that know me, know that I love to stop and smell the flowers...along with this fuzzy Bumblebee...

There were so many other sights and sounds I picked up on this day. Sadly, I was unable to catch all of them with my camera. Also seen were oodles of bunnies, a Rufous Hummingbird, several adult Common Yellowthroat Warblers, a Yellow-rumped Warbler [Audubon's], and many Tree and Barn Swallows. Next time, I'll get 'em.

Until next time, my friends...