Sunday, May 27, 2018

Last Outing in May

This Saturday was a mixed bag with a few birds from three different locations.

Point Roberts

This visit was primarily for gas, but I took some time to visit Lighthouse Marine Park. Late spring and Summer are the least active periods for this location.

I checked out the grassy area around the auxiliary campground and took a couple of good shots of this bird.

White-crowned Sparrow - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts WA

Offshore I spotted a Pacific Loon that was in photographic range. I just love the look of this bird.

Pacific Loon - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts WA

Vancouver rarity in Kitsilano

Since early May there has been a rare bird alert for a female Great-tailed Grackle in Vancouver near West 4th and Alma. This is a bird normally seen in the southwestern US and as far north as Oregon. It has been on the alert since early May and is seen regularly.

I made one trip out there on a day off, but did not see the bird. Now, the bird alert had been updated with a specific location. It was frequently seen in a fenced-off vacant lot at 4th and Highbury. I fought my way through traffic and found a parking spot. It was a brief walk to the location and then: no bird!

Of course this is my usual luck. I walked a few blocks up Highbury and looked into the Jericho army lands, then returned to the empty lot. Still no bird. 

I noticed there was a BC Liquor store in the mall next to the location and went in to purchase wine for Sunday dinner. About 15 minutes later, I returned and there was the bird!

It was only 4 meters away, but there was a mesh fence in between. I was able to use the Nikon to zoom in through the mesh and take a few good shots.

Great-tailed Grackle (F) - Vancouver BC - 2018 Bird #151

This was not a lifer for me, I had seen them in Arizona in 2008 and Texas in 2010. Still a great sighting for Vancouver.

Iona Sewage Ponds in Richmond

I decided to make one more stop on the way home and Iona was about the most convenient place to visit. It was very busy and there were no birds to be seen on the foreshore. I decided the Inner Sewage ponds were my best bet.

Even here it was quiet, two of the four ponds had been drained for maintenance. There were some blackbirds hanging around.

Red-winged Blackbird - Iona Regional Park, Richmond BC - May 2018

I heard and then saw a Killdeer along the path, I soon realized there were three of them. To protect their nests they will feign a wing injury and attempt to lead you away. They will usually stay 8 - 10 feet in front. 

This one blends in well with the path.

Killdeer - Iona Regional Park, Richmond BC

When I had entered the area I had heard a high-pitched call of a sandpiper, but had been unable to spot the bird. Upon my return I did see and identify it. Th first facing away shows a little bit of the spots on the underbelly.

Spotted Sandpiper - Iona Regional Park, Richmond BC - 2018 Bird #152

The next show is much better. It's great to see them in their breeding plumage as it shows how they got their name. In Fall, when they are returning from the North, they have no spots at all.

Spotted Sandpiper - Iona Regional Park, Richmond BC

It took a lot of driving, but the day had been worth it for the Loon, the Grackle and the Sandpiper.

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