Pushing the boundaries (with a bumblebee)…

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At least for me! Although I did get a few adequate photos of Pigeon Guillemots a few days ago, I thought I would add a bit of variety by posting this photo instead…

Although my knowledge of entomology (and experience photographing insects) is rather limited, the Google goddess and Wikipedia have both led me to believe this is a yellow-faced bumblebee (bourdon à face jaune | Bombus vosnesenskii). It was taken in the garden/humanly created ecosystem next to the Beatty Biodiversity Museum. Now perhaps one of my faithful readers could tell me what kind of flower this is (I’m not sure if it is actually native to British Columbia or not)?

Taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 400, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/1600).

Brown Creeper near UBC Botanical Garden

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Brown Creeper | Grimpereau brun | Certhia americana: In a perfect world, I would have been able to take a step or two to my left so that the pleasingly green background could have provided more contrast to this perfectly adapted bird. But that did not happen. In fact, I was quite lucky to get a picture of this bird species more or less at eye-level, since they move around quite quickly.

Taken next to the UBC Botanical Garden on July 8, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 1600, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/320). Not baited, called in or set up.

 

Glaucous-winged Gull in Tsawwassen

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Glaucous-winged Gull (adult) | Goéland à ailes grises | Larus glaucescens: Taking shots of flying birds is always a challenge, even when they are gliding in strong winds next to a boat. I only got a few shots that I liked, two of which are featured here (and they are not perfect!).

These photos were taken from the Vancouver (Tsawwassen) — Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry on July 3, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 400, 170mm, f/6.3, 1/1600). Not baited, called in or set up.

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X marks the spot?

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Pigeon Guillemot | Guillemot colombin | Cepphus columba: As my regular followers know, I prefer bird photos showing direct eye contact with the subject, not to mention some light reflection in the eye. In this case, however, I was pleased with the detail in the wings and back, as well as the fact that the bird and its shadow seemed to be forming an “X.”

Taken on June 24, 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 720, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/1000). Not baited, called in or set up.

I am not falling asleep!!!

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Wood Duck (ducklings) | Canard branchu | Aix sponsa: I couldn’t resist adding a last photo of these ducklings that I found on Lost Lagoon in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. They aren’t actually sleeping, but closing their eyes as they groom themselves. Taken on Lost Lagoon in Vancouver’s Stanley Park (in BC, Canada) with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 1600 | 165mm | f/5 | 1/125). Not baited, called in or set up.

I would also like to take this occasion to thank all of my loyal followers for all of your likes and comments. I really enjoy your feedback and will always try to respond in some way or other, so keep it coming!

I would also like to inform you that I have now come very close to catching up on my bird photo backlog (as some of you may recall, I have been posting a blog almost every day since January to try to take care of this matter). This means that as of this week, I will be publishing far less frequently. Currently, I am planning on posting something every Saturday morning (Pacific Time), but I promise that I will post more frequently if I get some particularly interesting shots or find a rare bird hanging around somewhere nearby.

Wood Duck: Many ducklings in Stanley Park!

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Wood Duck (ducklings) | Canard branchu | Aix sponsa: The members of this family of Wood Ducks seem to have been settling in for the night, even though someone had previously been trying to take their pictures with a cell phone. Taken on Lost Lagoon in Vancouver’s Stanley Park (in 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 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/250
  • Middle: ISO 1600 | 140mm | f/4.8 | 1/320
  • Bottom: ISO 1600 | 165mm | f/5 | 1/125

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Male Northern Flicker in West Vancouver

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Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) | Pic flamboyant (forme rosée) | Colaptes auratus cafer (male): Taken on a small lawn next to West Vancouver’s Recreation Centre on June 14, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (both photos: ISO 1600, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/250). Not baited, called in or set up.

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Great Blue Heron on Vancouver’s Sunset Beach

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Great Blue Heron | Grand héron | Ardea herodias: Taken at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach (in 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/6.3 | 1/1600). Not baited, called in or set up.

Male Wood Duck in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

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Wood Duck (male) | Canard branchu | Aix sponsa: Taken in Vancouver’s Stanley Park (in 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 | 1/500). Not baited, called in or set up.

Spotted Towhee in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

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Spotted Towhee | Tohi tacheté | Pipilo maculatus: Taken in Vancouver’s Stanley Park (in 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 1400 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500
  • Bottom: ISO 1600 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500

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Pelagic Cormorant on Vancouver’s Sunset Beach (part 2)

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Pelagic Cormorant | Cormoran pélagique | Phalacrocorax pelagicus: As was the case for the bird featured yesterday, this cormorant was part of a small flock foraging for nesting material on Sunset Beach in Vancouver, BC, Canada. As the last photo makes clear, this was clearly a collective nest-building effort!

Taken on June 12, 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 & Middle: ISO 400 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1600
  • Bottom: ISO 400 | 300mm | f/7.1 | 1/2000

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Pelagic Cormorant with straw on Vancouver’s Sunset Beach

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Pelagic Cormorant | Cormoran pélagique | Phalacrocorax pelagicus: This bird was part of a small flock foraging for nesting material on Sunset Beach in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

I don’t normally do this, but after taking this photo, I feel like preaching (to the choir???): Aside from ruining an excellent photo (which is really a minor complaint from a single individual), it is well known that plastic is quite dangerous for birds, especially if they live on the ocean. This straw will hopefully remain secure in the nest, but who knows if it will get ingested accidentally at some future time when the nest is no longer in use? So please do not throw out your plastic (or other) garbage willy-nilly! Recycle it if you can or throw it out in a secure container/bag if you must.

Taken on June 12, 2015, 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 | 1/1600). Not baited, called in or set up.

Cedar Waxwing at UBC Farm (part 3)

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ISO 400 | 300mm | f/7.1 | 1/1600

Cedar Waxwing | Jaseur des cèdres |Bombycilla cedrorum: This may very well be the last instalment of the Cedar Waxwing photos I was lucky enough to get at the UBC Farm (I am not likely to go back to this spot in large part because I discovered these birds had a nest nearby and did not want to disturb or tell the resident Red-tailed Hawk where it is).

Now if I were to write humorous captions for the two photos below, they might read:

  • “Those red berries look really good!”
  • “Hey, come back here, I wanted some of that!”

All three photos taken on June 3, 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.

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ISO 450 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

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ISO 500 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow in Richmond, BC

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White-crowned Sparrow (juvenile) | Bruant à couronne blanche | Zonotrichia leucophrys:  I was not entirely sure what this was, but after posting this photo on a bird ID group on Facebook, the collective wisdom confirmed my thinking that this was a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow. I was hoping for something a bit more unusual!

Taken on May 30, 2015, in Richmond, BC, Canada, not far from the Fraser River, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 2500 | 300mm | f/11 | 1/3200). Not baited, called in or set up.

Savannah Sparrow in Richmond, BC

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Savannah Sparrow | Bruant des prés | Passerculus sandwichensis: I wish this bird had chosen to perch on a nearby tree branch, but it really seemed to prefer this barbed wire fence! And I also wish that I had remembered to turn down the ISO setting (I was taking photos at a swim meet in a badly lit pool on the same day).

But in any event, I am happy that I was able to find and photograph this bird, especially since the photo above clearly shows the meal this attentive parent was about to bring to its chicks!

Taken on May 30, 2015, in Richmond, BC, Canada, not far from the Frasesr River, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (top and bottom: ISO 2500 | 300mm | f/10 | 1/2500). Not baited, called in or set up.

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Eurasian Collared-dove in Richmond, BC

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Eurasian Collared-dove | Tourterelle turque | Streptopelia decaocto: I wish this bird had not been perched on barbed wire, but I am happy to have finally gotten such a close shot of this bird, even if it is an introduced (and invasive!) species.

Taken on May 30, 2015, in Richmond, BC, Canada, not far from the Frasesr River, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 400 | 300mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600). Not baited, called in or set up.

Rufous Hummingbird in Richmond, BC

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Rufous Hummingbird | Colibri roux | Selasphorus rufus: Taken in Richmond, BC, Canada, not far from the Fraser River, 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/5.6 | 1/1250
  • Bottom: ISO 400 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

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Bald Eagle on the Fraser River in Richmond, BC… close-up!

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Bald Eagle | Pygargue à tête blanche | Haliaeetus leucocephalus: I find that few birds are particularly interesting when photographed overhead, but I suppose Bald Eagles might be an exception, especially when they get very close.

This particular individual and several of its colleagues were flying all day just over or next to a short path parallel to the Fraser River in Richmond, BC, Canada. I would have liked to take a photo of it swooping down to grab a fish, but I was not that lucky. Maybe next time!

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/5.6 | 1/1000
  • Bottom: ISO 720 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000

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Cedar Waxwing at UBC Farm (part 2)

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Cedar Waxwings | Jaseurs des cèdres | Bombycilla cedrorum: This is the second instalment of a three part series on Cedar Waxwings photographed at UBC Farm. Today’s photos were taken on May 29, 2015.

Although I was able to get quite close to these birds and the conditions were quite sunny, I did not get quite as many interesting (or even good) shots this time around. The photo above is certainly the exception and I am quite happy that I captured it, even if it is still not perfect.

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.

Flower power again!

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My last foray into floral photography was so successful that I’m going to take another break from the birds to post a photo of this lovely flower taken a couple of weeks ago, as I was heading over to the UBC Farm.

Once again, any help you can provide with respect to the species of this plant would be highly appreciated (and I will post updates as I get better information).  As always, this was taken with my trustworthy (and handheld) Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED.

[Update: Thanks once again to Myr, I now know these are part of the foxglove/digitalis genus. And thanks to Wikipedia, I can make an educated guess about the exact species: Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)].