In keeping with the duck theme, I made my first scoter visit last week at Qualicum and followed it up with Esquimalt Lagoon and King's Pond yesterday. I just can't wait for the Longtails to return to Deep Bay. I also managed a couple of visits to Holden Creek to catch the last few days of the shorebird migration. Fortunately, weather conditions were ideal and the birds were cooperative for some fun photography.
On the non-birding but related activity front, the presentation season is also here and my first show is with the Comox Valley Natural History Society on Oct. 21. Future bookings include the Harbour City Photo Club and the Cowichan Valley Garden Club. Although I have been procrastinating, I'll also be paying a little attention to book sales. If you have any good marketing ideas, send me an email. If you need a book for a Christmas gift, contact me for the direct purchase discount.
Oct. 1 - Scoter Days - It's always fun to stop by Qualicum's seawall and walkway to observe the usual winter flocks of scoters. High tide is the best with the mid-morning sun. If you're patient and there aren't too many disturbances (pedestrians and dogs), the scoters often come in close to shore where they dive for varnish clams and other snacks pushed in or exposed by the high tide.
The jovial countenance of the clown-like surf scoters never fails to brighten my day.
I'm not sure if that's a varnish clam that the Surf Scoter has dredged up. What's it look like to you?
Follow the Leader - It is now politically correct to have more female leaders in our society. Even the Black Scoters are falling in line.
Who's Comming for Lunch at Deep Bay? Yes, it's the Bald Headed Eagle.
What's for Lunch? - The seal of approval ... (groan - you knew I was going to say that)
It's amazing how proficient the long bills can be. Occasionally, they find a decent-sized worm but mostly it's tiny little hors doeuvres.
Got one! Just imagine how many of these it takes to make a decent meal.
One busy Lesser Yellowlegs wove in and out of the dowis. It also seemed oblivious to my presence, but it was much more difficult to photograph as it kept moving like the Duracell Bunny.
Tweet! I had to whistle to get it to stop and look up which it did for about 5 seconds.
6 Pectoral Sandpipers were sprinkled among the dowis. Of all the shorebirds at Holden this year, the Pectorals were the most frequently seen.
The Pectorals also covered more ground than the dowis, but they weren't as nomadic as the Lesser Yellowlegs.
The one other bird that kept up with the Lesser Yellowlegs was the Western Sandpiper. It was the only little peep in the group.
Our first stop was Esquimalt Lagoon where the ducks and gulls are always plentiful. There were also scores of ducks and grebes on the ocean, but they were too distant to photograph. You can be sure that Northern Pintails will be among the masses of geese, swans, and ducks in the lagoon.
The biggest challenge was to isolate your target from the masses of birds. Most of the time they were wing-to-wing with each other.
I love the pintails because of the rich texturing and variety of the feathers.
The surpise bird of the day was the Cackling Goose. 5 minutes earlier Joe had mentioned that he had never photographed a Cackling Goose. I said I doubt that we'll find one here. I was delighted to prove myself wrong.
It was interesting to see the Cackling Goose next to the ducks. It was barely larger than the Malllards.
Talk about Mallards, as usual they were the dominant species. We didn't have much time to work on flight shots, but there were plenty of opportunities. This was the best out of 10 tries.
After the chili combo at Tim Horton's, we were off to Clover Point. With the holiday and sunshine, the area was inundated with people and dogs. That meant Lapland Longspurs were unlikely, but there maybe there would be shorebirds. There were a few Black Turnstones and Black Oystercatchers, but we were more interested in the Surfbirds.
The Surfbirds were in a good location by the pumping station away from the crowds.
I hadn't taken a decent Surfbird picture all year. This was my first opportunity.
As usual, there were Hooded Hergansers at Oak Bay. There weren't any adult males around, but there were a lot of juveniles.
The main field mark for the juveniles is the bi-coloured bill. Adult females have dark bills.
As expected, Bowker Creek was busy with beach walkers and Cattle Point was hopeless for birds with a couple of old guys throwing balls for their dogs. Too bad the area isn't designated a wildlife area instead of a doggie playground park. We ended up at King's Pond to see what ducks had arrived for the winter. Besides the Mallards there were a few species like Greater Scaup, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, and Green-winged Teal. I took some pictures of a Ring-necked Duck and a juvenile Greater Scaup. The Ring-necked photo was okay, but none of the scaup photos were clear. Yes, another rookie mistake.
There was one lonely Green-winged Teal in the pond. It was a busy-body plucking food non-stop left and right. It was a challenge to get a picture showing the green speculum.
House and Gold-crowned Sparrows were plentiful but there was one other songbird in the willows. It was definitely a flycatcher and probably a Pacific-slope.
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS Comments, questions, or book orders? email email@example.com
SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
CAMPBELL RIVER - SAVE-ON FOODS
DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE
CHEMAINUS - Willow's Wild Bird Store
LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS
NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA
LAKE COWICHAN - GALLOPING MOON GALLERY
TOFINO - BOTANICAL GARDENS
Quadra Island - EXPLORE & BOOK BONANZA
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's
UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS
Comments, questions, or book orders? email firstname.lastname@example.org