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.

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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.

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.

Preening male Anna’s Hummingbird

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Anna’s Hummingbird (male) | Colibri d’Anna | Calypte anna: This preening bird was taken in Klee Wyck Park, West Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (ISO 1400 | 500mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped ). Not baited, called in or set up.

Northern Flicker (female “red-shafted”)

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Northern Flicker (female “red-shafted”) | Pic flamboyant | Colaptes auratus cafer: Taken on January 23, 2016, in West Vancouver’s Cedardale Neighbourhood (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, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Mew Gull (winter plumage) in West Vancouver

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Mew Gull (winter plumage) | Goéland cendré | Larus canus brachyrhynchus: Did you know that the Mew Gull is a subspecies of the Common Gull? Most are seen in Asia and Europe, but this particular subspecies is seen on North America’s Pacific coast, including Alaska. Taken on October 21, 2015, in Ambleside Park, West Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 640 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/800, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Will the real gull please stand up?

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On this Canadian Thanksgiving day, I thought I would post a photo that is rather unusual on my site, since it prominently features human-made objects. This sculpture of three gulls on a ship’s sail is found on a children’s playground close to the seawall in West Vancouver, BC, Canada and is often visited by real gulls (usually by Glaucous-winged Gulls, like the one featured in this photograph). It always makes me smile to see them there, next to their wooden “cousins”!

Glaucous-winged Gull (juvenile): Portrait

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Glaucous-winged Gull (juvenile) | Goéland à ailes grises | Larus glaucescens: Taken on September 27, 2015 on the seawall in West Vancouver with 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 | 1/640, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Common Merganser family on Ambleside Beach

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Common Merganser (female and immatures) | Grand Harle | Mergus merganser: These immature mergansers were rather successfully fishing on the ocean as a female adult (presumably their mother) kept a watchful eye on them.

Taken on Ambleside Beach (West 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 400 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition
  • Middle: ISO 400 | 300mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped
  • Bottom: ISO 2500 | 300mm | f/8 | 1/4000, cropped

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Glaucous-winged Gull on Ambleside Beach

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Glaucous-winged Gull | Goéland à ailes grises | Larus glaucescens: Taken on Ambleside Beach (West Vancouver, BC, Canada), with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 2500 | 300mm | f/11 | 1/4000, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Red-breasted Sapsucker at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park

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Red-breasted Sapsucker | Pic à poitrine rouge | Sphyrapicus ruber: This individual is most likely a full-fledged adult female, but looks quite “worn” (frazzled, in fact). Thankfully, in spite of the terrible lighting, I was able to capture a few good shots of the sapsucker as it was picking away at the insect found under the moss growing on the tree.

Taken on the path next to the pond in West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (both photos: ISO 400 | 250mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped). Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 2500| 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/800, cropped
  • Bottom: ISO 1400 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/500, cropped for composition

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Osprey at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Beach

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Osprey | Balbuzard pêcheur | Pandion haliaetus: Taken on Ambleside Beach (West Vancouver, BC, Canada), with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (ISO 640 | 300mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

Canada Goose at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Beach

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Canada Goose (probably 1st year) | Bernache du Canada | Branta canadensis: Taken on Ambleside Beach (West 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/6.3 | 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

European Starlings on the beach!

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European Starling | Étourneau sansonnet | Sturnus vulgaris: Taken at Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver, BC, Canada on July 29, 2015, 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, cropped). Not baited, called in or set up.

Red Crossbills… chomping on seaweed???

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Red Crossbill (juvenile) | Bec-croisé des sapins | Loxia curvirostra: It’s true! I first spotted these birds on their favourite perches, namely pine trees, but then saw them land on the rocks in front of the beach. When I approached these rather tame birds, I noticed they were chomping away on the seaweeds. I guess Sibley was right when he said that they are “strongly attracted to salt!”

Taken on Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver, BC, Canada with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED (both photos: ISO 400, 300mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, cropped for composition). Not baited, called in or set up.

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

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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.

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

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Startling European Starling in West Vancouver!

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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

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