MAR. 12/05 - SOUTHERN SWING
I hadn't been to Victoria since last year so I was looking forward to a little south island birding. My target birds were the Sky Larks at the bulb fields and the American Dipper at Goldstream. Of course, I checked Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point, Cattle Point, and Rutland Road, but found nothing of interest other than the Heron Rookery at the Park and a pair of Brant at Cattle Point. But, my luck changed at the bulb fields. As soon as I got out of the car I was greeted by an amazing symphony in the sky - talk about "surround sound!". Although I had never seen or heard them before, I knew they were Sky Larks. It didn't take long before I saw one flutter upwards with its continuous trill and melody until it was out of sight. I spent the next hour or so trying to get some pictures.
While the Sky Larks were too small and fast for good pictures, the Dippers were too dark in the shadows. By the time I got to Goldstream, the sun had already ducked behind the hill. I should have been an hour earlier. However, it was a good day as I got my 2 target birds, and the pictures were better than I thought. It helps to set your sights low!
BEACON HILL PARK
HERONS APLENTY - There seems no shortage of Great Blues in Beacon Hill Park which claims to be the largest heronry on Vancouver Island. There were Herons everywhere including the rooftops across the street.
BALANCING ACT - When a big bird lands on a small branch, there's bound to be a whole lot of shaking going on. There was, but the Heron hung on.
FIRST OF THE YEAR - I spotted the Greater Yellowlegs on the beach as I drove by Oak Bay. It was my first of the year so I turned around just for the picture.
ANOTHER FIRST - Several Savannah's greeted me at the Bulb Fields along with the Sky Larks, Turkey Vulture, House Finches, Killdeer, and Starlings. The Savannah was another year first.
SYMPHONY IN THE SKY - The beautiful trill and melody of the Sky Larks was worth the experience in itself. It was a bonus to get a couple of record shots.
LAW OF GRAVITY & THE LAW OF LIMITED SECLUSION - What goes up must come down so when the Sky Larks came down, I had a chance of getting a picture thanks to the second law. What's that you ask? Simple, since the grass was only 2 to 3 inches tall, the Sky Larks couldn't always hide. That meant on their descent they had to float until they found a patch of grass tall enough to hide behind. That gave me a chance to find one for a fairly decent picture.
Another first ...
NO DIP WITH THE DIPPERS - As I walked down the stream and trail to the Nature House, I was Dipperless. I wasn't exactly enthused after the attendant at the Nature House said she hadn't seen any since the fall, but I knew Heather saw them 2 weeks ago. When I got back next to the parking lot, the Dippers were waiting for me. There wasn't much light but when you shoot about 50 shots (ISO 1600), you can usually expect a couple of decent pictures.