Friday, February 9, 2018

Extra long weekend Day 1 - Delta Birding

It was the BC Family day long weekend and I took the Friday off to make it a four day respite from work.

My plan on day 1 was to stay in Delta and see if I could add some of the owls I'd seen in December to my 2018 list.

My first stop was on 112 St at Boundary Bay, where there were Swans feeding in the fields. I'm fairly sure these are Trumpeters although the beak is quite short for them. The gray around the eyes doesn't help. The gray swan is an immature bird.

Trumpeter Swan - 112 St. Delta BC

I left 112 St and proceeded to the foot of 96 St right on the bay. Last year, I saw a Harris Sparrow at this location, but I'd have to settle for my first White-crowned Sparrows of 2018. This one is in winter plumage.

White-crowned Sparrow - Boundary Bay, Delta BC - 2018 Bird #58

Here's one in the more familiar and descriptive breeding plumage.

White-crowned Sparrow - Boundary Bay, Delta BC

Further along the dike road from 96th, I stopped by "the Mansion" to see what birds were visible. This area has a sewage outfall from the farmlands and you can see a good variety of ducks and shorebirds fairly close to shore.

It was quiet except for some Northern Pintail ducks.

Northern Pintail - 96 St. Boundary Bay, Delta BC
2018 Bird #59

I headed west and set out for some Owl and Raptor watching. I'd seen Barn Owl here on Boxing Day and hoped for a repeat. 

The first bird I saw was the resident Rough-legged Hawk that was also mentioned in my Boxing day post. This bird had been tagged at the Airport and was subject to release inland if captured there again. The tag is not visible in this photo.

Rough-legged Hawk - Boundary Bay, Delta BC
2018 Bird # 60

Easily, the most common raptor at Boundary Bay is the Northern Harrier. Most of the ones seen are the larger females which feature a brownish look with the white rump. However, the first one I spotted was the smaller silver-gray male.

Northern Harrier - Boundary Bay, Delta BC

Northern Harrier - Boundary Bay, Delta BC

There were Short-eared Owls flying around but they were staying high, so this was the best shot for today. I'd see them close up later in the weekend (see subsequent posts). You can see the rounded head below the wings here.

Short-eared Owl - Boundary Bay, Delta BC - 2018 Bird #61

Quite early in the afternoon the resident Barn Owl put in another appearance. I saw it back on Boxing Day as detailed in my 2017 Blog .

I was somewhat more prepared today and had my camera set up for high speed action. This female Owl likes to perch on a fencepost just off the road, protected by a barbed wire fence and heavy underbrush.

Barn Owl (F) - Delta BC - 2018 Bird #62

At one point she dove into the brush attempting to capture a mouse or a vole. I was very lucky to get this magical shot.

Barn Owl (F) - Delta BC

Finally, here she is in action:

This wrapped my first day of the extra long weekend, the following ones would be full of highlights as well.

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