May 6, 2004

Hi Everybody,
The past week has been excellent for Island bird watchers (everything from Great Egrets to Whimbrels), but not for this amateur photographer. I finally caught up with the Bullock's Oriole at Buttertubs Marsh and maybe the Vesper Sparrow at the Nanaimo Airport, but I missed the Great Egret by 5 minutes just 10 Km up the road at the Englishman River Estuary. They say, "You can't win them all," but I say "Why not?"


On Apr. 30th I made a quick visit to Admiral's Lagoon hoping to get a close-up of a Least Sandpiper. I spotted a small group of peeps right away and chose a strategic spot to sit on the gravel.Within 5 minutes there was a Least Sandpiper too close to focus on. Eventually it moved away and "click", I had the shot. It's a wonderful feeling to be close to a bird without frightening it.

Savannah Sparrows are not as trusting as the peeps. They always seem to stay about 30' away from me which is about 20' too far. This one taunted me from about 25' before it flew towards French Creek.

Just after I said I could never get close to a Savannah, I managed to get within 15' of one at the San Malo Mud Flats (Englishman River). Maybe it was a bit sleepy as it was still fairly early in the morning.


Left - House Sparrow. Right - Mystery sparrow? (I was hoping for a Vesper at the Nanaimo airport.)
(Addendum: Derrick and Guy have both confirmed the Vesper Sparrow.)


Wild irises and blooming hawthorns dominate the beautiful scene at Buttertubs Marsh. If you haven't been there for awhile, you should in the next week or 2.

3rd Time Lucky - It took me 3 trips to Buttertubs to get a useable photo of the Bullock's. It usually stays high up in the big maple and alder trees.

When I finally got fairly close, there was just a tiny window throught the branches for a manually-focussed photo.

A beautiful new song led me to my first sighting of a Yellow Warbler.

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