Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Highlights from Westham Island...

Since my friend and birding partner, Robbie, had moved to Alberta, my desire to get outside and look for birds all but dried up. It wasn't until I received a direct message [on Twitter] from a friend in Victoria, British Columbia, did I start to consider going out again. Long story short, I'm glad I did.

After a brief and fruitful stop along Boundary Bay, to see the Snowy Owls [we saw 12 in all], we continued on to Westham Island and the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Not only did I want to see my favorite winter migrants, like the Lesser Scaup, The American Wigeon and the American Coot, but I also wanted to look in on the Sandhill Crane Colt, which was hatched earlier in the year. As fate would have it, the little family of 3 were there, along with a few migrant Sandhill Cranes. When we arrived, the cranes were surrounded by photographers with extraordinarily long lenses. Funny thing was, my son [who's 10] reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of seed. Unfortunately, the bag was empty but that didn't stop the 3 resident Sandhill Cranes from coming over and investigating the bag. My son was terrified, at first, but I assured him that even if they pecked him, it wouldn't hurt. They pecked him...twice. Let's just say...I was wrong. :) Anyway, I managed to get a few good shots in...at my son's expense.

Here's the colt...


..and a preening mamma!

The Northern Pintails had arrived, in all their glory...

...along with the American Wigeons

We watched as a Great Blue Heron hunted for fry near the water's edge, a first for both my son and I...

The Snow Geese had also arrived, from Russia. They were kept on their toes by the many raptors thirsting after them - Northern Harriers, Red Tailed Hawks, among others...

There were handsome Fox Sparrows...Spotted Towees, Northern Flickers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Downy Woodpeckers too.

...and, in keeping with a Dengler/Wakelin tradition, we hand fed my spark bird...the Black-capped Chickadee.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end [for the day, anyway]. For now, I leave you with a sexy pair of American Coot feet. Until next time, my friends...


  1. You better not give up on getting out there with the birds!!!!
    Fantastic post Kim with super photos as always!!!
    Miss ya bunches!!!

  2. I wondered what happened to you! Great pics and a humorous story. :)

  3. Kimberly, I agree with Robbie! I've missed you too! I was out at Reifel last week! I think from your shots that you must have been walking right behind me! Or ahead of me!
    If you ever need a partner to go birding with, give me a shout! I'd be happy to go with you, or meet you there!
    I would be very interested in where you saw the Snowies! I would love to see them!

  4. Hi Robin, Were you there on Sunday? We were there around 9AM thru 11AM.

    I just emailed you details on where to find the Snowy Owls. If the weather is good, this coming weekend, I may head there again. Perhaps we'll run into each other.

    Thank you Robbie and "Judy and Emma" for the very kind comments. I really appreciate them.

  5. Glad you went too, fantastic photos as always Kim


  6. I too have missed your wonderful bird posts! This one is terrific! Love the Sandhill Crane close-ups and those Northern Pintails are a sight for sore eyes. Gorgeous! Seeing 12 Snowy Owls would surely brighten my day, month and year!

  7. Beautiful Kim.. Had wondered where your posts had gone!

  8. I am pretty darn sure Robbie wished she was out there with you!..great bird shots as always, Kim!!

  9. Glad you got out..I am sure Robbie misses you too. I hope you are able to bird with each other again.

    I love the preening Sandhill shot!