Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wings on Wednesday

The last time I posted for "Wings on Wednesday" was back on September 14, 2011. Thankfully, I ran into my "frenemy" and backyard predator, the Cooper's Hawk, and just had to share some of the poses with you....







He had a good "look-see" around before picking off one of the many Rock Pigeons :)

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...

Pappa...

..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...