Least Sandpiper at Jericho Park

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Least Sandpiper | Bécasseau minuscule | Calidris minutilla: This very cooperative Least Sandpiper allowed me to take many good pictures of it (the one above is with food) at the pond in Jericho Park in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada. I have never photographed one of this species and wanted to make it skip the line, so to speak. I may very well post another photo later this month.

Taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 560 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Mew Gull on Ambleside Beach

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Mew Gull (breeding plumage) | Goéland cendré | Larus canus brachyrhynchus*: I found this Mew Gull among the much-larger Glaucous-winged Gulls on Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on April 20, 2016.

As “luck” would have it, a woman was busily (and obliviously) walking toward this gull from the other side, but although she did scare the bird away, I was able to capture this rather nice shot with its wings completely extended vertically, before the takeoff.

Taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

*NOTE: An interesting discussion has arisen on the North American Gulls Facebook group: Most seem to think (and I agree) that this is not in fact the North American subspecies (or Mew Gull), but a sub-species of the Common Gull (most experts believe Mew and Common are conspecific). If we arrive at a 99% or better consensus, I may revise the sub-species a bit later.

A short break from blogging…

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You may have noticed that I published this blog a few hours later than usual. I guess I was inspired by this handsome gentleman (Wood Duck) to take a bit of a rest… from blogging, that is. But I promise to not be away for too, too long: I’ll be back in a few days with more photos! And please know that I greatly appreciate your visits, likes and comments.

Wood Duck (male) | Canard branchu | Aix sponsa: Taken February 16, 2016 near Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 800 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/500), cropped for composition. Not baited, called in or set up.

 

Harlequin Duck (male) in West Vancouver

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Harlequin Duck (male) | Canard harlequin | Histrionicus histrionicus: I had the privilege of seeing a pair (male and female) of Harlequin Ducks up close from Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver a few days ago (April 20, 2016), as they were busily foraging for food. Several families were on the beach at this time, but the birds did not seem especially perturbed. This was the closest shot that I got on that day, but I have many other pictures that I am quite happy to have captured.

Taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Male Bufflehead in West Vancouver

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Bufflehead (male) | Petit Garrot | Bucephala albeola: Taken on the pond at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on April 16, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Male Red-winged Blackbird in Jericho Park

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Red-winged Blackbird (male) | Carouge à épaulette | Agelaius phoeniceus: Taken in Jericho Park in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on April 16, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

“Red-shafted” Northern Flicker (male) in Jericho Park

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Northern Flicker, “red-shafted” (male) | Pic flamboyant, “forme rosée” | Colaptes auratus cafer: This beautiful male was feeding on one of the lawn areas of Jericho Park in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada. Taken on April 16, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Horned Grebes: Breeding plumage and moulting

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Horned Grebes | Grèbes esclavons | Podiceps auritus: As I posted a few days ago, I was able to see three Horned Grebes fairly closeup from Jericho Beach. The two individuals on the right are in full breeding plumage, while the one on the left is clearly still transitioning from its non-breeding plumage.

I photographed three individuals (including this one) as they were drifting quit close to Jericho Beach in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada. Taken April 16, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Stanley Park Ecology Society: April Bird Count

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Stanley Park Ecology Society‘s most recent bird count took place on Sunday, April 11. Even though it was fairly quiet, I was able to get a few interesting photos. And it was a treat to see three species of the swallows (Tree, Violet-green and Barn) flying over the water to catch insects.

The count was led once again by Else Mikkelsen, who is a longtime SPES volunteer and is pursuing an undergraduate science degree at the University of British Columbia.

The photos featured today were taken on the park’s Lost Lagoon or Beaver Lake with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. None of the birds were baited, called in or set up, although the chickadees and squirrels were attracted to seeds left behind by other users of the park. These species will be featured in a separate post in the days to come. [UPDATE: Actually, I like the photo gallery setup so much that I will progressively update each of the captions below, rather than posting each species individually. I will move to other photos, instead.]

  • Photo above: Male Wood Duck, taken not far from Lost Lagoon
  • Photos below: Each species identified separately

 

Common Loon near Jericho Beach

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Common Loon (first summer) | Plongeon huard | Gavia immer: I’ve said this before about other birds and I’ll certainly say it again… there really is nothing common about this species! I’m particularly glad that I was able to get some OK shots of this bird in its breeding plumage, before it flies off to its breeding grounds. I wished it had chosen to come in even closer to shore, but my “new” lens still allowed me to get some nice shots. And even though I had to use an extreme crop to get the photo above (to give you an idea, only …% of the original pixels remain!), it still retains a good amount of detail, with only a minimal amount of added “artefacts.”

Taken from Jericho Beach in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada on April 16, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (both photos: ISO 400 | 500mm | f/7.1 | 1/1600; although the one on the bottom was cropped, the one above was seriously cropped!).

As always, this bird was not baited, called in or set up — to find out more about what this may mean, please visit my photography page on Facebook (while you’re there, please like the page) and scroll down to the post linking to Laura Erickson‘s excellent article on why she objects to overzealous photographers who bait owls.

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Horned Grebe in Breeding Plumage

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Horned Grebe (breeding plumage) | Grèbe esclavon | Podiceps auritus: Until yesterday, I was only able to photograph these birds in their understated winter plumage. But as you can see in the photo above, I have now been able to capture them in their breeding plumage; although I am quite happy to have done this, I am guessing that this means they will soon be leaving the region to breed.

I photographed three individuals (including this one) as they were drifting quit close to Jericho Beach in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada. Taken April 16, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Male Rufous Hummingbird in North Vancouver

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Rufous Hummingbird (male) | Colibri roux | Selasphorus rufus: This is unlike most of my posts since the bird is partially blurred by a plant (and the wings are a blur as well), but I still like the overall effect, not to mention that the head and bill are pretty sharp.

Taken in the dog park near the Harbourside segment of the Spirit Trail in North Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada on April 11, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 1250 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

You snooze, you loose?

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You may have noticed that the photos stopped a few days ago… nothing is wrong, but I’ve taken a little break (just like these Northern Shovelers in the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary). I’ll be back soon enough, though, so hang in there!

House Finch in North Vancouver

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House Finch | Roselin familier | Haemorhous mexicanus: Taken not far from Spirit Trail in Harbourside, North Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on April 2, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600), cropped. Not baited, called in or set up.

Northwestern Crow in North Vancouver

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Northwestern Crow | Corneille d’Alaska | Corvus caurinus: Taken on Spirit Trail in Harbourside, North Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on March 28, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 720 | 410mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000), cropped for composition. Not baited, called in or set up.

Spotted Towhee in North Vancouver

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Spotted Towhee | Tohi tacheté | Pipilo maculatus: Lower MacKay Creek Park, North Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on March 28, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1250), cropped for composition. Not baited, called in or set up.

Female Bushtit in North Vancouver

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American Bushtit (female) | Mésange buissonnière | Psaltriparus minimus: This female was accompanied by a male and both were busily looking for nesting material. These birds build amazing pouch-like nest; to see some great photos of these, take a look at the following post on Jim Martin’s blog (CrazyM Bird & Nature Photography).

Taken in the dog park next to the Spirit Trail at Harbourside, North Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on March 28, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 720 | 410mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000), cropped for composition. Not baited, called in or set up.

Common Merganser in North Vancouver

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Common Merganser | Grand harle | Mergus merganser: Taken not far from the Spirit Trail in Harbourside, North Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on March 28, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1250), cropped for composition. Not baited, called in or set up.

White-crowned Sparrow in North Vancouver

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White-crowned Sparrow | Bruant à couronne blanche | Zonotrichia leugophrys: Taken on Spirit Trail in Harbourside, North Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on March 28, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (both photos: ISO 400 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1250), cropped for composition. Not baited, called in or set up.

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Barrow’s Goldeneyes in North Vancouver

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Barrow’s Goldeneye (male, with female in background) | Garrot d’Islande | Bucephala islandica: I know I’ve often featured this species of late, but I love the colour of the male’s head. But the contrast between the dark and white feathers mean they are quite a challenge to photograph, especially when the sun is a touch too bright!

Taken from a beach in North Vancouver (close to the Spirit Trail in Harbourside) on March 28, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 400 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1250), cropped for composition. Not baited, called in or set up.