DEC. 24/2004 - SHOOTING IN THE DARK
It was frustrating in the past week to finally get close to 2 interesting birds but only in dark, overcast conditions not suited for photography. The first was on Dec. 21 when I parked 20 feet from a Belted Kingfisher at French Creek. The second was in Victoria on Dec. 24 when I had to pick up my son's passport. I stopped for an unsuccessful look at the Bluebird, but as Rick Toochin would say, "I had the Anna's Hummingbird" for consolation. That was my first opportunity to ever photograph an Anna's (having only seen my first during the Nanoose CBC). I was happy for the opportunity, but it was a dark morning as the grainy photos do reveal. Yes, a flash unit is on my wish list for 2006 (as I'm tapped out for all of 2005).
CAUGHT IN THE ACT - What act you might ask? Can you guess? Was French Creek Belted Kingfisher singing in the rain or yelling to some intruder down below? I wasn't sure either until I saw it regurgitate some undigestible little goodie.
CONSOLATION PRIZE - As David and Marcie Allison will tell you, I didn't have my camera with me on Dec. 20 when I spotted the Mt. Doug Bluebird. I wasn't close enough for a trophy shot but the sunlight would have been perfect for a record shot. When I returned on an almost foggy Friday, there was no bluebird, but there was a very handsome and cooperative Anna's Hummingbird.
BEAUTIFUL GORGET? - I can only imagine how spectacular the Anna's gorget would have looked reflecting rays of golden winter sunshine. (Where else in B.C. but in Victoria can you expect to be taking hummingbird pictures on Dec. 24th?)
DEC. 27/04 - ITCHING FOR SOME TWITCHING
I love Vancouver Island and this site is supposed to be about Vancouver Island, but ... when Big Mac (the McKay's Bunting) was waiting in Vancouver and the sun was shining, I just couldn't resist. Besides, I didn't want to be the only bird enthusiast in B.C. not to have seen Big Mac. To sum it all up, Big Mac was as wonderful as all the reports I've been reading (in the bcvanbirds Yahoo eGroup), and it was a perfect bird for a perfect day on the South Jetty of Iona Island. One side note was my mode of transportation to the end of the jetty. Anyone who has seen my camera and lens knows that I couldn't do it by hiking. My solution was a golf cart attached to my bicycle. Needless to say, I attracted a number of disbelieving stares but also received a few compliments on my ingenuity. (The only downside of the trip was losing the little black threaded knob for the ball head of my tripod. I'm hoping for the miracle of someone reading this message and finding the item.)
By the way, this is probably(?) it for 2004. Thanks for your interest in this website and happy birding in 2005.
MEET "BIG MAC" - The McKay's Bunting was first discovered on the south jetty at Iona park (Vancouver) by Kevin Louth on Dec. 4/04, a stormy winter's day. The rare Alaskan bird was confirmed as a non-breeding McKay's the next day by Mike Toochin. The sobriquet of "Big Mac" was aptly applied by Rick Toochin in his report to the bcvanbirds Yahoo eGroup.
MEET MRS. "BIG MAC" - Mrs. Big Mac and an entourage of about 4 Snow Buntings have been appearing regularly with Big Mac on the south jetty for over 3 weeks, attracting scores of visitors from as far as Ontario.
LEADER OF THE PACK - Big Mac was definitely the dominant bird of the flock, often appearing on the tallest rock while the others lingered in the background.
A TALE OF ONE TAIL
EQUAL BILLING - Very pretty in their own right, the Snow Buntings couldn't understand why Big mac was garnering all the attention.
SIDESHOW - Although most of my attention was focussed on the Buntings, the Western Grebe was one of the many other birds on display at the jetty. I also kept my eyes open for the Rosy Finches but didn't find them.