Saturday, 17 October 2020

October 17 - Blackie Spit Park

I hadn't visited this location since March partially due to COVID 19 restrictions. I decided it was time to get back there, hoping to see some new 2020 birds. The trip was rewarding as I got some good shots and picked up some common species for the year list.

The first bird seen was an American Crow, formerly known here as the Northwestern Crow. That species have been lumped in with American this year.

American Crow - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC

The day continued with another common bird. However, this was my first recorded sighting of this bird in 2020

Rock Pigeon - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC - 2020 Bird #115

Another common species appeared as a pair of Double-crested Cormorants flew by.

Double-crested Cormorant - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC

The next bird was one of the better sightings for the day, a Red-necked Grebe not too far from shore.

Red-necked Grebe - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC - 2020 Bird #116

There were some shorebirds present as well.

Greater Yellowlegs - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC

A flock of Dunlin sped by.

Dunlin - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC

There was a flock of Wigeon in a tidal pool, I scoured the photo looking for a Eurasian, but they appeared to be all American.

American Wigeon - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC

Here's a couple flying over:

American Wigeon - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC

The next bird was a surprise, but only in the fact that it was my first sighting for this species in 2020. I can blame COVID for this.

Ring-billed Gull - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC - 2020 Bird #117

I'm fairly confident of my ID for the next bird. It's definitely a Tern, and the size and colour of the bill make it a Caspian. This is the only shot I got of the bird as it flew over out to sea.

Caspian Tern - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC - 2020 Bird #118

It was a treat to see a Common Loon next. I usually see them on my frequent trips to Point Roberts, but I have not been there since early in the year because of the Covid border closure.

Common Loon - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC

The last bird is a bit iffy for me. It's overall size and bill size make me think it's a Cackling Goose, but I could be wrong. I'll count if for the year until someone corrects me. This website would seem to confirm my ID as the Bill size, head shape and primary projection seem to match.

Cackling vs Canada Goose

Cackling Goose - Blackie Spit Park, Surrey BC - 2020 Bird #119

This ended my visit, it felt like my first real outing in quite a while. 

Sunday, 20 September 2020

September 20 - Iona and Delta Birding

 There had been some rare bird sightings at these locations and this Saturday was not a golf day. I had a little bit of luck, but didn't get any good photos to record the results.

There was an Eared Grebe reported at Iona, but I misread the alert and thought it was in the inner Sewage ponds. However these ponds were closed and this may be permanent as they may not be using the settling ponds any longer. When I re-checked the alert, I saw it was in the outer pond. Too late. So my only photos were these two.

Red-winged Blackbird - Iona Regional Park, Richmond BC

I also saw some Scaup off the base of the Jetty.

My next location was in Ladner along 72 St where four Buff-breasted Sandpipers had been on the alert for a while. There were a couple of other birders pulled over at the location and I was able to join them. 

The sandpipers were there, but quite distant and constantly on the move. I did get a few poor shots at long distance. The sandpiper is in the background in this shot.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper - 72 St Delta BC - 2020 Bird #110

This shot is not any better.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper - 72 St Delta BC 

There were a number of other birds in the field that looked like sparrows at first, but they were too large and had an upright posture. I concluded they were American Pipits.

American Pipit- 72 St Delta BC - 2020 Bird #111

One more shot:

American Pipit- 72 St Delta BC

That was it for September 2020.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

September 18 and 19 - Backyard Birds and Spider

Here's a few shots from the backyard taken from our sunroom and the back deck.

The first is a shot of two common backyard birds taken on the 18th. It's uncommon to get both in one shot. I worked fairly hard to get this shot with the Nikon P900.

House Finch (r) and Pine Siskin - Backyard, Delta BC 

I worked really hard to get this next one with the same camera on September 19th. I could hear the wren calling from the apple tree in our back yard. I was finally able to locate it and zoom in for a few shots, this one was the best.

Bewicks's Wren - Backyard, Delta BC

This shot was easy, it was taken from the kitchen looking through the glass door out onto the porch.

Spider - Back Porch, Delta BC

Sunday, 6 September 2020

September 6, 2020 - Chilliwack Birding Part 1

 It It was the Labour day long weekend so I figured that Sunday would be the best day to travel to Chilliwack for some birding with my friend Mary-Jean. I was right about the traffic, it was moderate in the morning and the return trip in the afternoon was not too bad.

Our first stop was here:


From the parking lot we saw our first birds of the day, there was quite a size discrepancy between them.

Wood Duck and Great Blue Heron - Cheam Lake Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

A trio of birds flew from behind the lake and I snapped a couple of quick photos for later (mis)identification. Upon seeing the shots at home, I was quite sure they were Roseate Spoonbills based on the shape of the bill and a bit of pink colouring on the underside. When I got home, I sent them to our local E-Bird administrator and she corrected the ID for me, they were Northern Shovelers, a common local species. I'd never seen the underside of the bill on these ducks before.

Northern Shovelers - Cheam Lake Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

This was a cropped close-up of the bottom two ducks. You can see the bill shape with this shot.

We took the longer loop trail which took us close to the lake. Herons and Wood Ducks were the common birds of the day.

Mary-Jean spotted a small bird in a tree along this path and I got a pretty good shot of it. I believe it was a Willow Flycatcher.

Willow Flycatcher - Cheam Lake Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

As well as birds, there are amphibians to be seen, including this frog. Unfortunately, I don't know the species. 

Frog - Cheam Lake Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

I was able to identify the next species, a Belted Kingfisher. I'm pretty sure it's a male (which are the drabber of the two sexes with this species).

Belted Kingfisher - Cheam Lake Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

Continued in Part 2

September 6 - Part 2 - Last of Cheam, Sardis Park and Browne Creek Woodlands

I had to split this post in two due to some really weird behavior by the "new and improved" Blogger. After the Kingfisher, another bird flew over. I thought it was a Crow at first, but I've concluded it was a Common Raven, mostly based on the size and the shape of the tail.

Common Raven - Cheam Lake Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

Here's the last two shots from Cheam, a Great Blue Heron and a Water Lilly.

Sardis -  Leucistic Crow and other oddities

From Wikipedia - Leucism is a term used to describe a wide variety of conditions which result in the partial loss of pigmentation in an animal—which causes white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticles, but not the eyes. It is not the same as albinism, which is a complete loss of pigmentation.

Mary-Jean knew of this crow which was residing in Sardis Park. Upon arrival, we spotted the bird immediately, close to where we'd parked.

American Crow (Leucistic) - Sardis Park, Chilliwack BC

There's a nice pond at Sardis Park, and it was full of ducks and geese and possibly a beaver or two.

This duck was quite interesting, it looks like a female Mallard/hybrid.

Mallard (F) - Sardis Park, Chilliwack BC

This Canada Goose is partially leucistic.

Canada Goose  (Leucistic) - Sardis Park, Chilliwack BC

After leaving the park we had to make a detour into Sardis so I could buy some fresh blueberries to take home. In behind the location we saw some animatronic dinosaurs. They may have been testing them for a parade or similar event.

Browne Creek Wetlands

I followed Mary-Jean to this location, just past the turnoff to Cultus Lake, heading towards Yarrow. I'd never visited here before. It wasn't the most successful site of the day, but we did see a few species, starting with this merganser just across a creek from us. It is in non-breeding plumage.

Common Merganser - Browne Creek Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

Nearby was the Turtle putting on a display:

Western Painted Turtle - Browne Creek Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

The last clear shot was the chin of this woodpecker.

Downy Woodpecker - Browne Creek Wetlands, Chilliwack BC

We heard and saw a flock of birds high up in the trees overhead. It was hard to get a clear shot. My best guess is that they were Common Redpolls, a lifer for Mary-Jean, assuming I was correct. The second shot is what convinced me.

Common Redpoll -  - Browne Creek Wetlands, Chilliwack BC - 2020 Bird #109

There is a hint of red on the forehead in this shot.

This is the same shot, brightened up.

And finally, the last thing we saw was this former Wasp nest.

It was an interesting day with good sightings at three different locations.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

September 2, 2020 - Return to Reifel

Reifel Bird Sanctuary

 The Reifel Bird Sanctuary closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They finally reopened in late August with a new reservation system to control the number of people allowed in the sanctuary. I was able to reserve an afternoon slot on this day and invited my friend Mary-Jean to join me. She drove in from Chilliwack and we made our way to Reifel, arriving at 1:00 PM.

After checking at the gift shop, we headed for the Display Pond to check out the shorebirds. There were many Dowitchers, probably all Long-billed. They are more common on the West Coast than Short-billed. These were my first for 2020.

Long-billed Dowitcher - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC - 2020 Bird #107

Here's another view. The bird in the back is still in breeding plumage.

Long-billed Dowitcher - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

The next birds seen are easily identified as the common House Sparrow. We don't see them in the Lower Mainland that often, but they were here in numbers.

House Sparrow - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Here's a shot of a male in breeding plumage.

                                        House Sparrow - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Another common bird flew overhead in formation.

    Canada Geese - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Chickadees are quite common at the sanctuary, this was the best shot of one for the day.

Black-capped Chickadee - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

The East Dyke trail is tree-lined on both sides and is the Sanctuary's best place to see songbirds. An example is this Yellow-rumped Warbler, possibly returning from the North and making its way south. The colouring indicates that it is a female.

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

There were a few Robins along the path, most seemed to have juvenile plumage.

American Robin - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Surprisingly, the next bird was a first of year for me. The pandemic really reduced my birding options for a good part of the year.

Eurasian Collared Dove
 - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC - 2020 Bird #108

The next sequence of photos shows our most exciting action of the day. This appears to be a juvenile Brown Creeper that was climbing quickly up a tree. It was difficult to keep focus as the bird ascended.

Brown Creeper - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Brown Creeper - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

This was my clearest shot.

Brown Creeper - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

The last bird in this area was a female Wood Duck. The fact that it was on a tree indicates how they get their name.

Wood Duck (F) - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

We made our way down the center trail and visited the Southwest Marsh. While the display pond had featured Dowitchers, this location had  good number of Yellowlegs. They appeared to be all Greater Yellowlegs as their bills were much longer than the depth of their heads.

Greater Yellowlegs - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Greater Yellowlegs - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Greater Yellowlegs - Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Delta BC

Brunswick Point

We made a quick visit to this location which is quite close to Reifel. I haven't had much luck here in recent years, but Mary-Jean had never been here before. 

We only saw a few birds, mostly swallows. There were a number of them on the wires overhead and they appeared to be immature Barn Swallows. But is seemed to us that the birds feeding them were Tree Swallows. We were probably wrong about that as the young were definitely Barn Swallows.

Barn Swallow - Brunswick Point, Delta BC

   Barn Swallow - Brunswick Point, Delta BC

Here's an adult bringing food, I'm not sure if there was some conflict here.

Barn Swallow - Brunswick Point, Delta BC

And the last bird of the day was an American Goldfinch,  possibly a juvenile.

American Goldfinch - Brunswick Point, Delta BC