My “harlequin moment” on West Vancouver’s seawall…

HADU_01-West_Van-2015_04_20

ISO 800 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/640

Harlequin Duck (one female and two males) | Arlequin plongeur | Histrionicus histrionicus: These colourful birds are among my favourite ducks and are normally rather difficult to photograph with my not very powerful lens, since they are usually a fair distance from the shore. These individuals, however, came in closer to shore to enjoy the last few rays of sunshine on this beautiful April day.

Photos taken from the West Vancouver seawall on April 20, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Not baited, called in or set up.

HADU_02-West_Van-2015_04_20

ISO 800 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/800

HADU_03-West_Van-2015_04_20

ISO 800 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/800

 

 

 

Startling European Starling in West Vancouver!

EUST_02-West_Van-2015_04_20

European Starling | Étourneau sansonnet | Sturnus vulgaris: Taken on April 20, 2015, from the West Vancouver seawall, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Not baited, called in or set up.

[Update: I should have pointed out that I included the photo below, even though the bird’s head is turned away from the camera, because it has caught what appears to be an earwig. I don’t like earwigs, so this starling is doing a good deed. Will I actually start liking them, as a result? Unlikely.]

  • Top: ISO 640 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000
  • Bottom: ISO 560 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

EUST_01-West_Van-2015_04_20

Lucky shot: Pine Siskin in Stanley Park

PISI-Stanley_Park-2015_04_19

Pine Siskin / Tarin des pins / Spinus pinus: Sometimes, I get lucky — and even have my camera in hand! This photo is a perfect example: In this part of the world, Pine Siskins normally flitter around at the top of our very tall trees and so are quite difficult to see, let alone photograph. They can be seen around bird feeders, but mostly in winter and especially during cold snaps. But as I was walking in Stanley Park on a pleasant spring day last month, this individual suddenly landed in front of me and stayed still for at least a minute, perhaps more (but flew off when a runner joined us on the path), allowing me to take a few pictures, including this one. This is by far the nicest photo I have yet obtained of this species.

Taken on April 19, 2015, on the Beaver Lake Tail in Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II (ISO 1250 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/500). Not baited, called in or set up.

Steller’s Jay at Stanley Park

STJA-Stanley_Park-2015_04_19

Steller’s Jay / Geai de Steller / Cyanocitta stelleri: Taken on April 19, 2014 on the Beaver Lake Tail in Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II (ISO 400 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/1600). Not baited, called in or set up (however, park users were using seeds to feed the birds on the nearby foot bridge).

American Robin in Vancouver

AMRO_male-Vancouver-2015_04_18

American Robin / Merle d’Amérique / Turdus migratorius: Taken on April 19, 2015, at Harbour Green Park in Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II (ISO 400 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/1600). Not baited, called in or set up.

Killdeer in North Vancouver

KILL_pair-North_Van-2015_05_19

Killdeer / Pluvier kildir / Charadrius vociferus: Taken on April 19, 2015, in an empty field between Burrard Dry Dock Pier and the Pinacle Hotel in North Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II (ISO 400 | 420mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600). Not baited, called in or set up.

The challenges of photographing male Ring-necked Ducks

RNDU_male-Jericho-2015_04_18

Many duck species present definite photographic challenges, mainly due to the the strongly contrasting colours of their plumage: Very often, their heads or backs are quite dark (with some sort of iridescent overtone) and their flanks and belies are very lightly coloured (but not pure white). As a result, it is quite easy to lose the subtle colouring in one or both of these regions.

The males of the bird featured today, the Ring-necked Duck (Fuligule à collier | Aythya collaris) is certainly among the most challenging of the lot: It feature a faintly streaked white flank that includes a vertical pure white bar in the front, an iridescent black head with purple highlights, a dark burgundy ring around the neck and a strongly contrasting grey, black and white bill.

The photo I have featured today is good, but not as perfect as I would like (the white flank remains overexposed). But I do like the fact that you can clearly see the peaked head. The female of this species (featured below) is somewhat understated compared to the male, but is still quite lovely and easier to photograph correctly.

Taken on the pond at Jericho Park on April 18, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 560 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000
  • Bottom: ISO 500 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

RNDU_female-Jericho-2015_04_18

White-crowned Sparrow at Jericho Park (again!)

WCSP_01-Jericho-2015_04_18

White-crowned Sparrow / Bruant à couronne blanche / Zonotrichia leucophrys: I realize that I published photos of this species only a week ago, but these were taken with my borrowed lens and the light was especially good, so I thought I would post a couple more photos.

Taken on April 18, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 400 | 420mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600
  • Bottom: ISO 400 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/1250

WCSP_02-Jericho-2015_04_18

Northern Flicker in North Vancouver… with a borrowed lens!

NOFL_male-North_Van-2015_04_17

Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) / Pic flamboyant (forme rosée) / Colaptes auratus cafer (male): This is the first of several photos that I will post over the next few days that were taken with a rented lens (the old, but trustworthy, AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4) and 1.4 teleconverter. I must say that I was quite happy with the results! And I was more than pleased this is the first bird I was able to capture with this lens (although I was less pleased that the ISO was, for some mysterious reason, set at 3200).

Taken in Waterfront Park, North Vancouver, BC, Canada, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II (ISO 3200, 420mm, f/7.1, 1/3200). Not baited, called in or set up.

Pigeon Guillemot in North Vancouver

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Pigeon Guillemot | Guillemot colombin | Cepphus columba: Taken on April 16, 2015, from the Burrard Dry Dock Pier in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 1600, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/250). Not baited, called in or set up.

Another Golden-crowned Kinglet at UBC Vancouver

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Golden-crowned Kinglet / Roitelet à couronne dorée / Regulus satrapa: Taken on the the Point Grey campus of the University of British Columbia, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 1400, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/500). Not baited, called in or set up.

Lifer!!! Blue-winged Teal on the pond at Jericho Park

BWTE_01-Jericho-2015_05_16

ISO 640 | 270mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

I’m interrupting my normally scheduled posts to indicate that I saw (and photographed) — for the first time!!! — a Blue-winged Teal (Sarcelle à ailes bleues | Anas discors).

I found this lovely male today on Jericho Park’s pond in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I am very glad to add this bird to my birding and bird photography life list… Oh, and take a look at the last photo to glimpse why it is called “blue-winged.”

Taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Not baited, called in or set up.

BWTE_02-Jericho-2015_05_16

ISO 800 | 270mm | f/5.6 | 1/800 

BWTE_03-Jericho-2015_05_16

ISO 560 | 270mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

Canada Goose being aggressive in Jericho Park

CANG-Jericho-2015_04_11

Canada Goose | Bernache du Canada | Branta canadensis: To say that I am not always a fan of Canada Geese would be an understatement. But these birds can sure put on a show, especially at the hight of nesting season (mid March to mid April here in Vancouver). Such was the case when I took this picture on one of the freshwater ponds in Jericho Beach Park on April 11, 2015. These birds spent several minutes chasing each other around for reasons that only they can possibly understand and this individual was especially loud and agressive. In the picture above, you can practically hear it scream!

Taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 400 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1250). Not baited, called in or set up.

Bonaparte’s Gull at Jericho Beach

BOGU-Jericho-2015_04_11

Bonaparte’s Gull / Mouette de Bonaparte / Chroicocephalus philadelphia: Even though I had to crop this photo more than I would have liked, I’m pretty pleased with the results, since it is one of the first usable shots I’ve obtained of this particular species. Taken from the pier at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, BC, Canada, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 400 | 300mm | f/8 | 1/2000). Not baited, called in or set up.

Great Blue Heron perched in a tree in Jericho Park

GBHE-Stanley_Park-2015_04_11

Great Blue Heron / Grand héron / Ardea herodias: Taken on April 11, 2015 in Jericho Beach Park, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 500 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1o00). Not baited, called in or set up.

Female Red-winged Blackbird at Jericho Park

RWBL_female-Jericho-2015_04_11

Red-winged Blackbird (female) / Carouge à épaulettes / Agelaius phoeniceus: Taken April 11, 2015, at Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 800 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/800). Not baited, called in or set up.

More singing at Jericho Park (Male Red-winged Blackbird)

RWBL_male-Jericho-2015_04_11

Red-winged Blackbird (male) / Carouge à épaulettes / Agelaius phoeniceus: Taken April 11, 2015, at Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 800 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/800). Not baited, called in or set up.

White-crowned Sparrows signing away in Jericho Beach Park!

WCSP_01-Jericho-2015_04_11

White-crowned Sparrow / Bruant à couronne blanche / Zonotrichia leucophrys: Both photos taken April 11, 2015, at Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 3200, 300mm, f/11, 1/4000
  • Bottom: ISO 400, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/1600

WCSP_02-Jericho-2015_04_11

Varied Thrush in Whistler

VATH_male_01-Whistler-2015_04_05

I found this beautiful male Varied Thrush as I was walking one of the trails in Whistler, BC, Canada. I was surprised it stayed so close to me as I was taking these pictures (this bird is usually quite shy and flies off as soon as you try to approach it).

Both photos taken April 5, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 800, 300mm, f/6.3, 1/500
  • Bottom: ISO 800, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/640

VATH_male_02-Whistler-2015_04_05

Mountain Bluebird on Locarno Beach – Last act!

MOBL_male_01-Locarno-2015_04_02

As I’ve written in a previous post a couple of days ago, I found this male Mountain Bluebird (Merlebleu azuré / Sialia currucoides) on Vancouver’s Locarno Beach on March 21 and saw it a second time on March 27. I saw it again for a last time on April 2 and got some great shots of it. I hope that this bird will return to Vancouver next spring!

Both photos were taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 400, 300mm, f/6.3, 1/1000
  • Bottom: ISO 500, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/1000

MOBL_male_02-Locarno-2015_04_02