Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 2015 Hoary Redpoll, Surfbird, Pine Grosbeak, Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Bewicks and Pacific Wren, Lesser Goldfinch, Trumpeter Swan 20UK

I thought December was going to be a slow month but it started to heat up around the middle of the month when I got a lifer Hoary Redpoll.  
This Long-billed Curlew has been frequenting Blackies Spit for a few months.
It was keeping company with some Marbled Godwits. 

A Black Oystercatcher couldn't decide whether to fly or stay.  It was sort of "on the fence" at Blackies Spit.
A Eurasian Widgeon was also at Blackies Spit.  This one doesn't appear to be a pure strain.
I took a picture of the collar on this Trumpeter Swan and sent it to be recorded.
I received this information in 2 days.  Dian was excited to find it was banded on her birthday.
This line represents the shortest distance the swan could have flown from Galena Ak.  It is 1650 miles. 
Coopers Hawk on Sumas Prairie.
A White-crowned Sparrow was being an agitator.
Here is the White-crowned after his toilette.
A Surfbird on the Victoria waterfront.
Whenever I see a Surfbird it reminds of a hike up Surfbird Mountain on the Yukon's Dempster Highway.  We were accompanied by Sylvia Frisch.  Her father had discovered Surfbird's nests on rocky mountain ridges on this mountain.  He was the first person to record their nesting locations in Canada, in 1978.  Here is Dian and Sylvia at the summit of the mountain in 2011.
A view of the summit of Surfbird Mountain and our hiking group.  While we rested here a Surfbird flushed up a few meters away.
HOARY REDPOLL.  Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver got our lifer for the year.
Here is the Hoary (in centre) with Common Redpolls.
Hoary Redpoll
Common Redpoll.  Shows streaks on vent area.
Tail and unmarked undertail detail of the Hoary.
Common Redpoll had more rosey tones than the Hoary.
Burnaby Mountain had reports of Pine Grosbeaks.
Female Pine Grosbeaks display a variety of colors such as yellow and russet.  However immature males are difficult to distinguish from females.  The red tints on this bird lead me to believe it is an immature male.
The male is quite conspicuous.
  • The tameness and slow-moving behavior of the Pine Grosbeak gave rise to the local name in Newfoundland of "mope."  My mother used to tell me not to mope around.
This Grosbeak almost landed on Mark W's head, reinforcing its trusting disposition. 
A Bewicks Wren popped up on a fence post along the Matsqui Dike.
I joined a few people in Glen Valley to search for a reported Winter Wren.  These birds are difficult to distinguish from our more common Pacific Wren.  The consensus was that there wasn't enough evidence to support a Winter Wren although the song was a little "weird".  There is the possibility that this is not the same bird that was first reported but it was in the exact location. 
Pacific Wren-these pictures haven't been retouched so as to give the most realistic image.
Pacific Wren 
The last day of the year produced a Lesser Goldfinch. 
American Goldfinches are common here but the above Lesser Goldfinch is quite rare.  It is normally found midway through Oregon and south of that.
The Lesser Goldfinch Finch is at 2379 Chardonnay Lane in Abbotsford.  It is on property with a boutique hotel called "Brookside Inn"where the owner welcomes birders.  If you are travelling from afar to see this bird you won't find a better place to stay.  See their website:   The property has many bird feeders and birds are plentiful.  Don't forget to sign the guest book on the bench.
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 2015, Otter, Golden Plover, Ruffed Grouse,Rock Wren, Dunlin, Cascade Falls

When I look back at all the pictures I got this month I have a hard time believing we covered so much territory.  We also saw a Hudsonian Godwit and Tropical Kingbird; 2 rare species but the photographs were not up to par.  I was also surprised to find a suspension bridge at Cascade falls in Mission that was erected this summer.  It is worth a visit.  I have also taken the liberty to add a commercial for our Honda at the end.  We have to sell so someone will get a good deal.  
Oct 31 2015-Furry Creek
A report of a Field Sparrow sent us to Furry Creek, north of Vancouver.  We didn't find the sparrow but this River Otter made an appearance as it briefly left the ocean.
This Pheasant on Sumas Prairie had broken tail feathers, bald head and other signs that it was a released bird from a cage.
A Bushtit outside our window.
An American Pipit was the only bird I photographed on a day trip to Manning Park.
Last month I photographed a Pacific Loon.  This Common Loon was at the same location; Hougen Park.
The blog in September featured this Red-tailed Hawk with Long-billed Syndrome.  I found it again this month with a rodent.  Not sure how much longer it will survive with that compromised bill.
A Horned Grebe in winter plumage at Harrison Hotsprings.
Sasquatch Park, just past Harrison, had this Ruffed Grouse.  It ran into the bush as we approached, so we waited and it eventually reappeared. 
There appears to be a mirror between these two Snowbirds at Harrison.
A Rock Wren is a rare bird on the lower mainland.  This one was beside the Fraser River.
Harrison also had this Pine Siskin.
This American Golden Plover was quite tame at Blackies Spit in South Surrey. 
The reason is, it was wounded.  I once saw a Peregrine Falcon grab a duck and immediately start plucking it.  The duck managed to escape.  I wonder if the same thing happened to this plover.
A woman was fascinated by thousands of Dunlin and Western Sandpipers at Blackies Spit as they rested at high tide.
More shots of the shorebirds.

Notice the little guy on the left.
This is a Western Sandpiper which looks like a mini Dunlin.
A Thayers Gull dips for fish eggs at Eagle Point.
Success.  Gord G. pointed out the fact that this gull had a pale eye, which is unusual for a Thayers.
Cascade Falls in Mission gave me an opportunity to try my new 17-40mm lens.  One needs a wide angle lens to get all the falls in the shot.
We were really impressed with this new suspension bridge at Cascade Falls.  Eat your heart out Capilano.
And now for a commercial break.  Dian and I bought this new 2015 Honda CR-V SE this summer.  Now we have purchased a trailer and this SUV won't pull it, so we have to sell.  If anyone is interested in a great car with about 15,000km, please check craigslist;
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