Sunday, January 14, 2018

Foggy Sunday Birding

Finally! A dry day was in the forecast. However, as I was leaving North Delta it became apparent that the entire metro area was enshrouded in fog. My only hope was to head for a high point above the fog.

Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area

I felt this was my best bet for a fog free environment. But would there be any birds there? The fog lifted as I climbed up the mountain, here was the view from the parking lot.

My first stop was to check for Pine Grosbeaks by the parking area, but there were none. I walked the Trans-Canada trail up a few hundred meters, but there was no bird activity at all. After returning to the parking lot, I head a familiar croaking call. It was a Common Raven further down below me.

I walked down and located the Raven perched atop a tall evergreen tree.

Common Raven - Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, Burnaby BC
2017 Bird #37

Because it was so high, it wa difficult to get a sharp shot. Here's the best I could manage.

Common Raven - Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, Burnaby BC

Burnaby Lake Regional Park

I drove back into the fog and decided to stop at Burnaby Lake Regional Park. There were certain to be a number of duck species I hadn't seen yet in 2018. Although it was foggy, I was able to take a number of decent shots and tweak them in post-production.

The part of Burnaby lake I visit is Piper Spit. There's a boardwalk that juts out into the Lake, and there are copious amounts of waterfall there, partially because they are well fed by the visitors to the park.

However, the first bird I saw at the foot of the boardwalk was a Rock Pigeon high up on a snag. 

Rock Pigeon - Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Burnaby BC - 2018 Bird # 38

The first Duck species I observed was the Lesser Scaup. I'd seen one the previous day, this one was a male in normal breeding plumage.

Lesser Scaup - Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Burnaby BC

One of the ducks I expected to see was green-winged Teal. The male of this species has a distinctive colour pattern. What you really notice is how tiny they are compared to the larger ducks like Scaup and Mallards.

Green-winged Teal - Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Burnaby BC - 2018 Bird #39

I still had not recorded a sighting of the common Canada Goose for 2018. They were present at Piper Spit, along with many of the duck species.

Canada Goose - Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Burnaby BC - 2018 Bird #40

Only slightly larger than the Green-winged Teal are the Wood Ducks. Here's a male (left) and female (center) next to a male Teal.

Wood Duck - Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Burnaby BC - 2018 Bird #41

Even the most common duck, the Mallard, had eluded me so far this year.

Mallard - Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Burnaby BC - 2018 Bird #42

Backyard Birds

I left Burnaby Lake and returned home. While looking at our seed feeder I noticed an unusual visitor, a Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

Although we see them occasionally, they are more common at a feeder down below us at the entrance of Burns Bog. I noticed the feeders were empty down there recently, perhaps the owners were on a winter vacation somewhere.

I opened up a living room window so that I had a clear view of the feeder and took some shots with the Nikon. The first one was our visitor. This is the only shot I got, it did not reappear.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee - Backyard, North Delta BC
2018 Bird #43

I decided to keep the window open and see what else would appear. First up was our Downy Woodpecker, a year round resident in our backyard. It's strange to think of them eating sunflower hearts (shelled), but it's not unusual to see it at the seed feeder, as well as the suet feeder. It was my first sighting for 2018.

Downy Woodpecker - Backyard, North Delta BC
2018 Bird #44

Here's another shot of it.

I was on a roll, the next bird to show up was a male House Finch. It's a little awkward at the feeder compared to some of the other birds.

House Finch - Backyard, North Delta BC

And finally, a Pine Siskin put in an appearance. These are a member of the finch family that always seem to appear in numbers. They tend to hog the feeders when they are around, but don't seem to stay in the yard for too long.

Pine Siskin - Backyard, North Delta BC

This ended birding for this weekend, I would be back at it on the following one, weather permitting.

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