September 12, 2007 - We are in the midst of the finest weather we've had all summer. It would be perfect for birding, but, alas, it is also perfect for putting a new roof on my house. If I'm lucky, I'll be finished in a week. Oh, it is tantalizing to read about the wonderful postings of the Wandering Tattlers, Red Knots, Ancient Murrelets, Brown Pelicans, Barn Owl, White-tailed Ptarmigan, and other interesting birds on my photo wish list. I'd probably be better off not reading the reports. Maybe there'll still be some birds and fine weather next week. (I'm still kicking myself for passing up Gord Johnson's White-tailed Ptarmigan invitation up Mt. Arrowsmith last weekend. Thanks anyways, Gord. The only peak I climbed was on my roof.) However, you all know me by now. I try to keep my camera handy and will make a quick birding stop if the opportunity presents itself like it did today for a brief 1 hour bird stop at Holden Creek.
Housekeeping Item - I do appreciate hearing from people who view my website, but please make sure that you mention "birds" or some related topic, or I will just assume it is spam. It is very common for spammers to use "none" for the topic line. In most cases I simply click "junk" or "spam" without reading it. My sincerest apologies if that happened to you. I respond to most emails that I read.
Aug. 29 - Sunflower Days - We don't plant sunflowers in our garden, but that's all you can see when you look outside - a sea of bright, beautiful sunflowers. They're all volunteers that neither my wife nor I have the will to remove even though they significantly reduce our vegie crops by taking up sun and space. The birds don't seem to mind, and I must admit to thoroughly enjoying them myself.
I was doing my 15 minute morning birding in my yard when a pair of warblers darted through the arbutus trees and shrubs. One landed in the spirea bush just outside the garden. It seemed to take forever to work its way from the back of the bush to the front, but finally it popped out just long enough for a couple of clicks. I hadn't seen my resident Black-throated Warblers for several weeks. I wondered if these were migrants or my regulars.
Aug. 27, French Creek - The Gray Gull (Juvie Glaucous-winged)
The Gray Gull looks distinguished and bold,
But it's not very old.
When it feels emptiness in its tummy,
It goes flying after Mommy.
'Tis the season for juvenile shorebirds. They are a joy to see with their trim and tidy plumage.
Juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher at Holden Creek
Juvenile Greater Yellowlegs at French Creek.
Juvenile Western Sandpiper at Admiral's Lagoon.
Sept. 4 - Meet Mrs. Mallard
Now, before you burst your gut laughing at my obviously mistaken identification of a female Northern Pintail, remember not everything is what it seems. If you check the marriage certificate, you'll see that she is, indeed, Mrs. Mallard - at least that was my assumption as she was sleeping with Mr. Mallard at French Creek.
Sept. 4 - An Admiral's Moment - One of my favorite settings is high tide at Admiral's Lagoon. As long as it isn't a really high tide, the gravel bar on the west side of the lagoon becomes a little island crowded with shorebirds and gulls. I took advantage of the situation for one last photo session with the Bonaparte Gulls and whatever else was available.
I had to do a double-take when I spotted the juvenile Bonie in flight. It reminded me of a Black-legged Kittiwake.
The juvenile Bonies are unmistakeable with their pink legs.
The adults have orange legs. (I know, we've had this lesson before.)
There's always a lot of Black-bellied Plovers at Admiral's.
Yes, I'm still trying for the perfect flight shot.
It's interesting how the birds seem more approachable at the high tide. I think it's their sleepy, rest time.
The Black Turnstones were coming and going as they couldn't decide whether they wanted to feed or roost.
Usually the Black Turnstones are a peaceful bunch, but there was one bully in the crowd.
Who needs jaegers around when there's other gulls? Everyone was picking on the juvenile California Gull.
The Common Terns were quite scarce, but I was lucky to find one on the gravel bar among the Bonies.
Nearby a Great Blue Heron was being very protective with its catch. It wouldn't let me get closer than about 20 meters.
There were 3 Horned Grebes cruising just offshore.
Fishing was pretty good.
As usual the Red-necked Grebes were further out.
Twice the Parasitic Jaeger blitzed me from behind. It was close, but all I could get was the rear end as it whizzed by.
On it's way back it was half way across the channel.
Finally, a cooperative bird - Before I left Deep Bay, I decided to check the end of the spit. I was happy to see a juvenile Pigeon Guillemot diving close to shore.
It seemed unafraid of me, or was it more interested in feeding?
One last Black Turnstone photo.
Sept. 10 - A quick stop at Madrona Point yielded a distant shot of a Rhinoceros Auklet.
Sept. 12 - Since I had to go to Nanaimo for some building supplies, I was already half way to Holden Creek. I'm glad I checked it out as I was greeted by a pair of American Golden-Plovers. They were too shy for close-up photos, but I hadn't seen one for 2 years, and I did enjoy observing them for about half an hour. I did take some shots for the record - as you can see from the grain, they needed a lot of cropping. Despite the poor quality, I hope they have some educational value for identification purposes. For some close-up shots, check out Ted Ardley's photos on the BCVIBIRDS website or FLICKR photos on the "birdingbc" website.
There were also 3 Pectorals and 1 Baird's (next photo) and 5 Least Sandpipers with the Golden-Plovers.
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