Please take a moment to read my most recent guest blog on Bird Canada: “Stanley Park Ecology Society and Birds…“
Now that I have your attention…
If you happen to live or be in the Vancouver area this Friday, May 10th, please drop by the Photohaus Gallery at 14 West 7th Avenue for the photography exhibition “The Birds” (the title says it all, but if you want more information, just click on the link).
I probably should add that this is in large part a shameless act of self-promotion, since five of my pictures will be featured during the show.
Last Monday (April 30), I was one of the people who volunteered to help with a migratory bird survey conducted every spring since 2007 by Stanley Park Ecology Society’s (SPES) Conservation Officer, Robyn Worcester.
The day started well enough, with a lovely sunrise and a bit of a breeze when I left my home at 5:20 am to catch the bus that would take me to the park on time for the 6:00 am start. Once there, I noted that the wind seemed to have picked up a bit, but this did not seem too alarming to me. When we headed out the door to visit the first of the ten stations we were supposed to monitor on this day, however, it soon became apparent that the winds would impair our ability to hear the birds we were supposed to be counting and might even be a safety concern if branches were to start falling on our heads. When we arrived at the fourth station, and even though I heard one bird for the first time of my amateur birding career (a Black-throated Grey Warbler), it was apparent that not only was the wind not dying down, it was actually getting stronger and so covered the voices of the birds even more than before. At that point, our leader Robyn decided to call the survey off.
I was of course disappointed, but as we drove around Stanley Park, I noticed that Vancouver’s normally placid English Bay seemed to be displaying some pretty impressive wave action so, armed with my camera, I decided to investigate. As you can see from the photos displayed below, I did manage to capture a few pictures of some interesting birds on my way to the waves, including a lone Greater White-fronted Goose that did not seem in a hurry to leave this beautiful part of the world to go to its breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada’s Arctic.
But I mainly wanted to get some shots of the waves and I was not disappointed, as the images below should demonstrate!
It is amazing what you can find when you conduct a spring cleaning: I am currently trying to put my photos in order, a slow and difficult process. Looking through some pictures taken last summer on Vancouver Island, I remembered that I had posted a blog on cathedral tree roots last August, which featured the intricate roots of a massive tree in Cathedral Grove.
The following picture shows how, in this part of the world, trees – even very tall trees – can grow on the remains of a dead tree (thanks to the abundant rain). Nursery stumps are well-known in these parts and actually quite common, but it is less common to see an entire log serving the same function. I took this picture on the fabulous Schooner Cove Trail in Pacific Rim Nation Park Reserve (on the western side of Vancouver Island).
Walking through Pacific Spirit Regional Forest a couple of days ago…
… I came across this very inviting bench among the tall Douglas Firs and other tree and bush species.
If I sat on this bench and waited patiently, I might see dozens of chickadees, kinglets, nuthatches and other such small birds flying around in flocks, finding food in the most unlikely places. I might also notice a hummingbird or two going from one flower to the next. Perhaps I would observe a squirrel running around, trying to find an acorn or two. Or maybe I would simply close my eyes and rest a little…
I thought I would post this photo of one of my favourite “small, plain bird[s],” to quote Roger Tory Peterson. At first, given the strong backlighting, I thought this photo would not turn out well at all. But thanks to a little help from iPhoto, I was able to tweak it just enough to allow you to see a fair amount of detail, including the female’s striking yellow eye (the male’s is black). And although much of the background detail was sacrificed, it is still possible to see some of the cherry tree’s lovely and delicate blossoms.
On this rather rainy day in Metro Vancouver, I thought I would post a picture of this preening male Northern Pintail, taken on a much sunnier day at Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. I believe these ducks may already have left our part of the world to move north or inland to breed.
This blog post was a week in the making and I hope you will like it. It features photos from another great day at the magnificent George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Delta, BC, Canada. It helps that conditions were fantastic and spring truly was in the air! One of the highlights of the day for me was that I added a life bird, namely the Marsh Wren… they were quite vocal and even visible. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a good picture of these birds. Maybe on my next visit?
As I have said before, if you live in this part of the world or if you plan on being here at any time of the year, this a must-see spot if you are in any way interested by nature. Before you do, I encourage you to take a look at the sanctuary’s official website (just click on the link included above).