Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hummingbird Quest

Black-tailed Deer @ Maplewood
This being our last full weekend in Vancouver I decided to pack a picnic and take my wife Dee to Maplewood Flats in search of Hummingbirds. Maplewood is the nearest reserve to our apartment, about a 40 minute bus ride, and has become my adopted local site during the last month. Dee has never seen one of these amazing birds and I thought we stood a good chance of connecting, having not failed to see one on each previous visit.

Our arrival at Maplewood could not have been more timely. When we arrived at around midday we met Derek Killby at the entrance, a birder I'd met at Iona on Thursday. As we chatted away the first two Osprey's to return to the reserve this spring suddenly appeared overhead, much to our delight and the delight of Patricia who'd emerged from the office.

Patricia I believe is one of the founders of Wild Bird Trust BC, which is a non profit making organisation formed in 1993. She also told me that my Beaver sighting of last Tuesday (see previous post) that I'd reported was the first for the reserve, and in fact he was still here and had been seen several times and photographed. I was delighted to have a first for the reserve, something that I've yet to achieve back in the UK.

1st Winter Snow Bunting (Library Image)
Derek accompanied us on our quest for Dee's Hummingbird and during the walk past what is known as Pocket Marsh we encountered three Black-tailed Deer, which I believe are a sub species of Mule deer, Dee managed to get several pictures.

We stopped for a while overlooking the Salt Marsh, where Derek informed us he'd seen Snow Bunting very early this morning. As we scanned the marsh the sudden call of Hummingbird from behind had us searching, but in vain, no sign of the Bunting either. We walked to the West Pond lookout and although the pond was almost bare of waterfowl, there lying fast asleep on a comfortable bed of reeds was my Beaver.

Tracking back we kept a vigil on an area of Redcurrant and Salmonberry where Derek had seen Rufous earlier, and finally, although not the best view ever, a delighted Dee had her first Hummingbird, a Rufous which hung around for around 30 seconds before making off.

Before heading back we decided to take a last look at the Salt Marsh and almost immediately had a stunning looking Snow Bunting in our sights, my first for Canada. I suspect that this was a first winter bird by the colouring and Dee managed a few record shots, but too rubbish to post. Oh and by the way the picnic was delicious!