Thursday, May 25, 2017

Diary Update #8 ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ 2017

✈️  Wednesday 24th May 2017 ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ   ~ Quite a bumpy flight down from Anchorage to Vancouver yesterday evening but it was just fantastic to be back in Vancouver again today! We're staying close-by to the apartment we stayed in during the short time we lived here in 2011, just a stones throw from Stanley Park.

With Dee deciding to pay her Canadian work colleagues a visit in the morning I met up with my birding buddy Derek Killby at Iona. Iona is located at the western end of Vancouver International Airport and home to a primary sewage treatment plant, an animal refuge and a park. In fact it's actually no longer an Island, but is now a peninsula physically connected via a causeway to what is now known as Sea Island.

Yellow-headed Blackbird ~ This one photographed at Iona during my 2012 visit!
It was a gorgeous start to the day, although a stiff wind was blowing in off the sea making things a little challenging. Many Swallows were feeding across the lagoons included Barn, Tree, Northern Rough-winged and the odd Violet-green! It wasn't long before both Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds were found in among the many reedbeds, such contrasting birds!

On route to the sewage treatment plant, where unlike the UK, birders are welcome and encouraged, Derek pointed out a couple of Common Yellowthroat, which he found by the call. Blue-winged Teal, Brewer's Blackbird, Rufous Hummingbird, House Finch and Kildeer all noted before heading back along the Fraser River. Purple Martin could be found around the nesting structures, located along the river, a couple of Double-crested Cormorants, plus a brief view of Harbour Seal. Raptors during the visit included Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk and we finished with superb views of an Osprey and a Coyote, which was near the roadside as we headed off!

Cedar Waxwing ~ Feeding on the remaining holly berries!
After picking up Dee followed by lunch, a few hours at the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary across in the Fraser Delta. I have been here in the winter months when 1000s of Snow Geese can be found wintering from Russia but sadly the final ones have already departed. Despite only having a couple of hours here, we'd forgot it closes at 5PM, we had an excellent visit.

Always excited to see Blue-winged Teal.
Cedar Waxwings were here in small numbers, feeding on what remains of the Holly berries and of course the waterfowl is always spectacular with Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal and Hooded Merganser all noted.

Hooded Merganser
Derek managed to find a Warbling Vireo and along the riverwalk Northern Harrier and more Bald Eagle. Other species of note during the visit included: Savannah Sparrow, Glaucous-winged Gull, Common Yellowthroat and Dee was, of course, delighted when we spotted a Muskrat swimming midstream!

Other Images of Day...

Savannah Sparrow

Wood Duck

Cedar Waxwing