Friday, April 08, 2011

Luxury birding!

Gorgeous Violet-Green Swallow
With Rob currently house sitting we had the luxury of some transport at our disposal for today's outing and so decided to start with a visit to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary. This was my third visit since arriving a month ago and by comparison to my other visits by far the quietest.

The usual suspects were still around, including at least 2,000 Snow Geese on the surrounding fields, two Black-Crowned Night-Heron, and the Tree Swallows and Violet-Green's had been joined by several Barn Swallow. The sea-view path was extremely quiet with a lone Northern Harrier, several Savannah Sparrow and the usual collection of mature and immature Bald Eagle. A number of shore bird flocks were seen in the distance, probably Dunlin and Sanderling. The pools had a selection of Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead and Northern Pintail and as ever the Marsh Wren's were busy within the reed bed.

Fox Sparrow @ Reifel Today
The interior was more lively with Brown Creeper and Red-breasted Nuthatch, plus small numbers of Golden-crowned Kinglet, Fox Sparrow and the gorgeous Wood Ducks. We didn't spend too much time today looking for the Saw-Whet Owls, as the number of photographers and family visitors had increased due to the lovely weather, and so after checking out the remaining fields, where we counted 21 White-fronted Geese, we moved on.

As we left the parking area we came to an abrupt stop to watch a Rufous Hummingbird in display flight, constantly flying back and forth before zooming high into the air and down again, truly amazing! On the Western Island Road Bridge we stopped to checked out five large Grebes, which turned out to be Western Grebe, my first sighting on this particular visit.

From here we eventually ended up at Boundary Bay from the 112th street entrance, an area we haven't actually managed to check out over the last four weeks. As with Reifel the area was reasonably quite to start with, apart from the now prevalent Savannah Sparrow's, but patience paid off before we called it a day with of note: 3-Short-eared Owl, 4-Northern Harrier and 2-Red-tailed Hawk. An excellent end to an excellent week!

Other species of note on our travels today: Downy Woodpecker, Trumpeter Swan, Collared Dove, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser and Harbour Seal.