Killdeer

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Killdeer | Pluvier kildir | Charadrius vociferus: I have decided to break my long blogging silence to publish this photo of a Killdeer because it is one of the many birds that can be found in Antelope Island State Park in Utah (USA).

Although I have never been lucky enough to visit this park (yet!!!), a massive wildfire is currently burning there. I know this because it is one of the favourite places of two wildlife photographers that I greatly respect, Mia McPherson and Ron Dudley. They and many others are understandably quite sad and worried about the situation there. Although I hope the fire will soon be brought under control, I’m also enough of a realist to know that climate change will increase the severity and frequency of this sort of natural disaster.

If you would like to see some of my more recent photos, please visit my Facebook photography page: https://www.facebook.com/avesimago/

Taken May 7, 2016, in Jericho Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 900 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Changes…

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Dear reader… now that I have your attention thanks to this lovely Northern Flicker, I have a few changes to announce: After much reflection, I have decided that, although you will definitely continue seeing posts on this blog relatively regularly, they will be far less frequent than before. But fear not! When I have a longer story to tell or photo album to publish, you will see it here first!

From now own, most single photos will be posted to my Facebook photography page or my Instagram account. I would therefore strongly urge you to “like” one (or both!) of these to stay informed about my latest photos. And I am also working on setting up my own website over the summer and hope to be ready to launch it in earnest by the end of the summer. So… I look forward to continue interacting with you here, on my future website or on Facebook/Instagram:

Northern Flicker (female) | Pic flamboyant | Colaptes auratus cafer: Taken May 21, 2016, in Ambleside Park, West 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.

Merlin in Queen Elizabeth Park

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Merlin (female juvenile) | Faucon émerillon | Falco columbarius: Photo taken in Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on May 13, 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 (quite significantly). Not baited, called in or set up.

[Update: After looking at my field guide yet again, I’ve come to the conclusion that this must be the female of a nesting pair in the park. The darker west coast version of this bird had essentially no “moustache.”]

Barn Swallow in Vancouver’s Jericho Park

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Barn Swallow (male) | Hirondelle rustique | Hirundo rustica: Gathering mud for its nest in Jericho Park in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada. Photo taken on May 7, 2016 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.

Bushtit in West Vancouver

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American Bushtit (male) | Mésange buissonnière | Psaltriparus minimus: Taken in Queen Elisabeth Park on the Seawall in West Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on May 8, 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.

Stanley Park Ecology Society Bird Count: May 8, 2016

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Stanley Park Ecology Society’s monthly bird count took place last weekend, on May 8, 2016. This count is normally led by Else Mikkelsen, but for the next few months, she will be spending time in the United States to assist a PhD student with her research on Hermit Warbler speciation and the impact of Townsend’s Warbler hybridization. As a result, the next few walks will be led by Leslie Hurteau, who acquitted himself quite well on his first count.

We saw a number of interesting birds, but the most interesting by far was the flock of 11 Long-billed Dowitchers (pictured above), that circled Lost Lagoon on several occasions.

Now this blog will most certainly be a work in progress, as I will continue adding some information over the next few hours and days, but I wanted to be sure to post it by the start of the weekend!

And now, here are two bonus photos taken before the count at Stanley Park’s Second Beach:

Red-throated Loon (juvenile), Second Beach

Red-throated Loon (juvenile), Second Beach

Glaucous-winged Gull on Second Beach

Glaucous-winged Gull on Second Beach

 

 

Belted Kingfisher at Jericho Park

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Belted Kingfisher (male) | Martin-pêcheur d’Amérique | Megaceryle alcyon: I’m glad I was able to capture this kingfisher on one of its favourite perches, but I wish he had chosen to stay a few more minutes, so that he could have turned his head my way slightly more. Hopefully, I can get him or his mate there another time!

Both photos taken yesterday (May 7, 2016) at the pond at Jericho Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 400 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition
  • Bottom: ISO 400 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1250, cropped

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Pine Siskin in Jericho Park

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Pine Siskin | Tarin des pins | Spinus pinus: This siskin was part of a small flock that was busily feeding on several deciduous trees. Unfortunately, the lighting conditions were not great, but my fabulous Nikon 200-500mm lens managed to get a few good shots (with the help of a lot of tweaking on Photos).

Taken April 23, 2016, in Jericho Park in 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 | 1/640, not cropped). Not baited, called in or set up.

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.