Stanley Park March Bird Count

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Northern Shoveler (male) | Canard souchet | Anas clypeata (ISO 900 | 330mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped for composition)

I have decided to interrupt my usual posting schedule to present several photos taken during the monthly count organized by the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES). Although lighting conditions were somewhat challenging, I was still quite happy with many of the results.

Even though we were told a big storm was on its way from Oregon, I decided to join last Sunday’s (March 13, 2016) bird count in Stanley Park, Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada. It 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. And in spite of the threat of rain, about 20 volunteers signed up for this month’s count.

Although we did not see any truly rare species on this count, this time around, we got a really good look at some less common and interesting species such as Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Varied Thrushes and Barrow’s Goldeneyes. The latter were a particularly unexpected treat; even though they are quite common in the Vancouver area, they are pretty much exclusively seen on the ocean, not on a freshwater pond like Lost Lagoon.

All of the photos featured today were taken next to or on Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon 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, even though some of the ducks were probably expecting (but did not receive) handouts from the crowd of eager birders.

In conclusion, I should mention two things: 1) We did not see the Surf Scoters on the count, but I thought I would add this photo, because it was taken from Stanley Park’s Second Beach a few minutes before the count; 2) I will be posting several other photos of these species over the next several days, so stay tuned!

Taken from Second Beach in Stanley Park in Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, on March 13, 2016, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. Not baited, called in or set up.

[I’ve not quite finished the captions, but will do so soon!] Done!

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Barrow’s Goldeneye (female) | Garrot d’Islande | Bucephala islandica (ISO 800 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/800, cropped)

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Barrow’s Goldeneye (male) | Garrot d’Islande | Bucephala islandica (ISO 800 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/800, cropped for composition)

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Common Goldeneye (male) | Garrot à œil d’or | Bucephala clangula (ISO 800 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition)

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Common Merganser | Grand Harle | Mergus merganser: (ISO 1100 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped)

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Dark-eyed Junco (“Oregon”) | Junco ardoisé | Junco hyemalis (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/160, cropped)

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Glaucous-winged Gull (maybe hybrid?) | Goéland à ailes grises | Larus glaucescens (ISO 720 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition)

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Pied-billed Grebe | Grèbe à bec bigarré | Podilymbus podiceps (ISO 450 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped)

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Bufflehead | Petit Garrot | Bucephala albeola (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/320, cropped for composition)

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Varied Thrush (male) | Grive à collier | Ixoreus naevius (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/60, cropped for composition)

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Song Sparrow | Bruant chanteur | Melospiza melodia (ISO 1600 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/125, cropped for composition)

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American Coot | Foulque d’Amérique | Fulica americana (ISO 1600 | 350mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped for composition)

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Surf Scoter (two males) | Macreuse à front blanc | Melanitta perspicillata (ISO 640 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000)

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Pied-billed Grebe on Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon

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Pied-billed Grebe / Grèbe à bec bigarré / Podilymbus podiceps: This is an adult that seems to be transitioning from its winter to breeding plumage. Although the lighting conditions on this day were not perfect, a bit of editing got me a result that is more than acceptable. Both photos taken on Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon Vancouver, BC, Canada, on January 19, 2015, with a handheld handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Above: ISO 800, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/1000
  • Below: ISO 800, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/640

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This Horned Grebe was far away…

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The photo above is of a Horned Grebe (Grèbe esclavon / Podiceps auritus) in winter plumage. Although it shows a fair amount of detail, it would be even better if I did not have to crop it so much. The picture below is the one I actually got – in terms of surface area, I had to cut over 90% of the shot below to get the photo above. The moral of the story? I will need a stronger lens if I hope to be able to capture these much more distant birds with greater detail!

Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada, November 22, 2014. Taken 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, top: 1/800; bottom: 1/1000). Not baited, called in or set up.

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