Saturday, February 10, 2018

Extra long weekend Day 2 - Finches, Ducks, Hawks and Owl

Vancouver Waterfront near Crab Park

One of my goals for this extended weekend was to catch up with the Gray-crowned Rosy Finches that had been staying along the Vancouver waterfront since early December. They are normally seen at higher altitudes, but will come down lower in winter. They also tend to travel in flocks, which makes them easier to spot.

They had been seen near the Vancouver helijet terminal and on weekends its possible to park nearby. There were a pair of birders on site and they had seen a flock about half an hour earlier.

After waiting a short while they reappeared in a nearby tree,  but were constantly moving from branch to branch. I had difficulty getting focus as they hopped around, but finally got a decent shot.

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch - Vancouver BC - 2018 Bird #63

They moved down onto some rocks along a small inlet and I was still having problems with focus. This was the best shot down there. You can see how they get their name.

I waited for another half hour, but they did not return. My next stop was Maplewood Conservation area in North Vancouver. There has been a Northern Goshawk there since November, a rarity for the Metro Vancouver area.

Maplewood Conservation Area

There is a large creek/inlet separatomg the eastern and western sides. Near the south end there is a bridge that often allows close ups of ducks and other critters such as beavers. Today there was a young Common Goldeneye diving for fish right underneath.

Common Goldeneye (Imm) - Maplewood Conservation Area, North Vancouver

Here it is under water.

Also on the inlet were a pair of Hooded Mergansers.

Hooded Merganser - Maplewood Conservation Area, North Vancouver

It looks like the male caught a fish.

I headed west and observed more Goldeneyes out on the shoreline on Burrard Inlet. However these were the Barrow's Goldeneye. The male can be identified by the angular cheek patch and the white scalloping on the sides.

Barrow's Goldeneye - Maplewood Conservation Area, North Vancouver - 2018 Bird #64

There was no sign of the Goshawk on the west side, I'd missed it by about a half hour. There was much excitement about a Bobcat being spotted in the morning, so everyone was searching for it.

I briefly checked out the East side and heard and saw my first Belted Kingfisher of the year. I was not fast enough to take a photo, so here's one from the same area in March 2017.

Belted Kingfisher - Maplewood Conservation Area, North Vancouver, March 2017
2018 Bird #65

South Delta

I left Maplewood and travelled south to Delta. I wanted to get a better photo of the Short-eared Owls that I'd seen the previous day. On my way, I stopped along 96 St in South Delta to check for a Merlin that had been reported. It was not there, but there was a Red-tailed Hawk, my first official sighting for the year.

Red-tailed Hawk - 96 St, Delta BC - 2018 Bird #66

There location of the owls in Delta is pretty well known as the following photos will attest. I won't mention the exact location by name in keeping with the code of not publishing owl locations.

One hint is that Mount Baker is visible on a clear day.

The Short-eared Owls were active today, I caught this sequence of one running what looks like an obstacle course.

Short-eared Owl - Delta BC

After that exertion, it needed a rest.

And then it was off again...

Wherever there's Owls hunting there are Northern Harriers waiting to steal their catch. This is a male with it's silvery-gray appearance. My camera was acting up again, resulting in an interesting, but over-exposed shot.

Northern Harrier - Delta BC

I returned to 96 Street for another attempt at the Merlin, but only saw another Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk - 96 St, Delta BC

Day 2 of the extended weekend was over, we'd see what Sunday would bring.

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