My first stop was French Creek. It was around noon. The usual menagerie of birds were snoozing on the creek bank across from me: gulls, Mallards, American Wigeons, Common Mergansers, Black Turnstones, and Black Oystercatchers. It was an idyllic scene but nothing that motivated me to take any pictures. The 3 Greater Yellowlegs were absent and the KING wasn't around. However, I did take a few pictures of a male Common Merganser just to check all my camera settings in case something interesting happened. I've been caught with the wrong settings on more than one occasion.
I hadn't been to Admiral's Lagoon for a long while so that was my next and last stop. There were several people and dogs to the north, but the coast was clear to the south except for the 3 Amigos! They were as perky as can be gracefully dancing around in the shallow water plucking anything that moved or was edibe.
The Greater Yellowlegs were obliging, but the sky wasn't. A big, black cloud rolled in to obscure the filtered sun. I guess it didn't matter too much as the winter plumage didn't have much colour anyway.
It wasn't surprising to see Greater Yellowlegs here as we are at the northern tip of their winter range.
Here's a surprising note about the GRYE. Michael Shepard has seen recently fledged GRYE with a protective adult at the Nawhitti Bog in 2005. It would be interesting to discover if it were an isolated event or a regular occurence.
In Sibley's the breeding range along the coast extends from Prince Rupert to the Alaskan panhandle.
The usual Black-bellied Plovers were scattered along the shoreline.
Unlike the Yellowlegs, the Plovers prefer to forage right at the water's edge.
They're quite shy compared to the Yellowlegs. I take that back. This one just mooned me!
Jan. 6 - After 3 days of rain, finally, a little sun. I guess we're lucky it wasn't snow as Mt. Washington had 55 cm in the past 48 hours. I had to buy some lumber at Home Depot so I grabbed my camera and checked out French Creek, Qualicum, and Nanaimo Estuary before I got to Home Depot.
French Creek was a disappointment as there was a white lab running around my favorite photo area where many birds roost in the morning. Needless to say, there were no birds there. Admiral's wasn't any better as there were people and dogs all over the place. I took one picture of the Dunlin flock on the bar and left.
Qualicum was pretty with the calm waters and a bits of blue sky. The usual Surf, Black, and White-winged Scoters were diving for varnish clams close in and Common Loons were common. The usual Black Oystercatchers were at the north end along with a small flock of American Wigeons and one male Eurasian Wigeon.
My last stop before Home Depot was Raines Road. By this time the clouds had come and it was cold. There were very few birds around except for gulls, Bald eagles, a few sparrows, and a pair of Western Meadowlarks about 35 meters away. Good enough for the postage stamp shot.
After Home Depot, I was going to stop for a Starbucks, but the line-up was about 20 deep. I opted for a cruise along the Lantzville waterfront. Unfortunately, most of it was already in shade except the Eby Road access. It had about 10 minutes of sun left. That was just enough to catch the Common Merganser as it caught a little lunch right in front of me.
The Barrow's Goldeneye was farther out but still in the sun.
It's always a challenge to catch the sun at the right angle not just for the reflection in the eye but also the colour on the hood.
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