Friday, November 15, 2019

North America Refocused πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

'With my blog currently celebrating its tenth year, I thought it would be a great idea to look back at our time in Canada and the U.S over the period, including my extended stay in the winter and spring of 2011 in Vancouver. Within the album, I've incorporated our trips to Oregon in 2015 and our recent trip to Alaska in 2017. Over the past few months, I've sifted through hundreds of photographs and reread many of my notes and blog posts and checked and double-checked many of my sightings. It's been an interesting experience with a few nice surprises on the way, I actually managed to add four new species to my North American listings.'


Canada is my favourite place in the entire world! Since marrying my birding buddy and soul mate Dazza in Banff, Alberta in 2009 I've been lucky enough to live in Vancouver for a short while and got to know the culture and the people a little during my stay. I've visited many times since and our trips have included 2 RV Tours from Calgary to Vancouver and an RV tour of Nova Scotia in 2013. If you want to see a country, a Recreational Vehicle is a great way to do it.

As well as Canada this album incorporates our trips to Oregon in 2015 and more recently Alaska in 2017. Our next planned visit is scheduled for May 2020 when Dazza and I will be returning to Oregon for 18-days. 

I'm also proud of the fact that all the wildlife images below are 'self-found' We have not used guides or joined organised tours to locate our wildlife. It's a simple case of good research, patience, long drives and many enjoyable treks through the wilderness.
ALASKA 2017 ~ I certainly hope to return one day!
Dazza and me in Vancouver 2017 after returning from our trip to Alaska.
Included in the album that follows are the numerous species we've been able to capture on camera. It goes without saying that there are many more observations and encounters which have not and these, of course, are now committed to lifetime memories. 

Great Northern Loon ~ An icon of birds for North America for me! And the state bird of Minnesota since 1961. Their eerie calls, particularly at night are one of my favourite sounds
Great Northern Loon ~ During my observations it's noticeable that these birds seem to have a different call for different threats! 
Pacific Loon ~ This one in Anchorage Alaska on one of the many small lakes and lagoons within the metropolis. Strangely this is the most abundant of North Americas five loon species
Another Pacific Loon ~ Record shot in the deluge of one offshore near Bandon, Oregon.
Red-necked Grebe ~ This one at Ghost Lake Canada 2013
A short trip across the state line into northern California to visit Tule Lake NWR during our Oregon 2015 tour.
Horned Grebe ~ (Slavonian GrebeTule Lake
Eared Grebe ~ (Black-necked GrebeTule Lake 
Western Grebe ~ Klamath, Oregon. Can often be found in mixed flocks with the Clark's Grebe
Clark's Grebe ~ Klamath, Oregon. Until the 1980s it was thought to be a pale morph of the Western Grebe! Note the white which surrounds the eye unlike the Western Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe ~ Part bird, part submarine an amazing character. Another from Tule Lake
Brown Pelican ~ Rockaway Beach Oregon 2015
American White Pelican ~ Klamath Oregon
American White Pelican ~ Inglewood Bird Sanctuary Calgary Canada 2013. The 'horn' on the upper mandible depicts a breeding male.
Pelagic Cormorant ~ Also known as Baird's Cormorant ~ English Bay Vancouver, Canada
Double-crested Cormorant ~ The Lost Lagoon Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada. I was lucky enough to live just a minutes walk from this amazing park
Great Cormorant and Double-crested Cormorant off the coast of Nova Scotia. A good size comparison
Northern Gannet ~ Diving in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Cape Breton Nova Scotia
Firepit lit, a spot of research for the next day and a nice glass of wine for Dazza after a day on the road during one of our RV Tours of Canada. 

Great Blue Heron ~ Drying off at 'The Lost Lagoon' Stanley Park Vancouver Canada.
Great Egret ~ Tule Lake NWR
Snowy Egret ~ Very similar to the much rarer Little EgretTule Lake NWR.
Black-crowned Night Heron ~ During a visit to George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, BC Canada
American Bittern ~ George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, BC Canada ~ This bird didn't seem at all fazed by our close proximity!
White-faced Ibis ~ A Western replacement for the Glossy Ibis, Tule Lake

A group of White-faced Ibis at Tule Lake

Cackling Goose ~ Richardson's I think? This photo was taken in 2017 within the hotel grounds of the Alyeska Hotel in Girdwood, Alaska. The 1st stop of our 14-day tour
The view from our bedroom window at the Alyeska Hotel in Girdwood, Alaska
Snow Goose ~ Actually taken just across the state line from Oregon into California at the amazing Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Although I've seen some huge flocks in the winter during my stays in Canada, particularly around the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, strangely this photo seems to be my only one on record.
Brant Geese ~ The Brant, or Brent Goose, is a species of goose of the genus Branta. The Black Brant is a Pacific North American subspecies. The Brent System, a major oilfield, was named after them.

American Black Duck ~ This one was taken at Cleveland Beach Provincial Park, Oregon.
Wood Duck ~ One of many seen during our visits to North America
The Northern Pintail has a wide geographical distribution ~ This pair at George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Canada.
American Wigeon ~ Quite a common sight throughout North America, this one taken during our Alaska 2017 tour.
Blue-winged Teal ~ Has a breeding range extending right across North America from southern Alaska and British Columbia to southwest Newfoundland, south to northern Texas. This one at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary Calgary Canada, during our 2014 RV Tour
Another Blue-winged Teal ~ Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Vancouver Canada
Cinnamon Teal ~ Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge 2015. Always a wonderful sight to see these in breeding plumage
Green-winged Teal ~ Common and Widespread, This one at Potters Marsh Reserve on the outskirts of Anchorage Alaska
Canvasback ~ The largest duck found in North America, Iona Beach, Vancouver.
Greater Scaup ~ Some huge groups off English Bay Vancouver
Redhead ~ Uncommon and local, this one taken at Ghost Lake, Banff National Park Canada
Ring-necked Duck Regularly seen during my stay in Vancouver at Iona Beach. An amazing habitat on the peripheral of Vancouver International Airport.
Lesser Scaup ~ Tule Lake
Common Eider ~ This small group off the coast of Nova Scotia
Surf Scoter ~ Canadian RV Tour 2012 - Horse Lake BC. 
Surf Scoter ~ This individual at Canon Beach settling ponds Oregon 2017
Black Scoter ~ Record shot of a single bird at Rissers Beach Provincial Park Campground during our 2013 RV Tour. A coastal duck that breeds in the subarctic
White-winged Scoter ~ Mixed group of Scoters offshore during my many early spring walks around English Bay, Vancouver Canada
Harlequin Duck ~ This trio near Portage Lake in an unfrozen area, Alaska 2017
One of the many frozen lakes around Portage even in May, Alaska.
Barrows Goldeneye ~ Named after Sir John Barrow. This pair at English Bay, Vancouver Canada.
Bufflehead ~ Banff National Park Canada
Common Merganser or Goosander as we know them!
Hooded Merganser ~ George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Canada.
Red-breasted Merganser ~ Common and always great to see during my visits.
Ruddy Duck ~ Luckily on home waters and not persecuted like in the UK.
Over the state line from Washington into Oregon during our 2015 visit.


Turkey Vulture ~ The most widespread of 'new world' Vultures
Northern Harrier ~ This one of ten birds seen on the 7-mile hike from Templeton Station to Iona Beach, Vancouver Canada
Osprey ~ Never a day goes by during my visits without an Osprey sighting!
Osprey ~ Canadian RV Tour 2012 - Kootenay Lake, BC. Taken from the RV at a designated observation point just off the highway!
Broad-winged Hawk ~ Kejimkujik National Park Nova Scotia Canada during our 2013 RV Tour.
Red-tailed Hawk ~ As common as our very own Common Buzzard
Bald Eagle ~ This was the first image we ever took of this icon and one of Dazza's. 
 Bald Eagle ~ Canadian RV Tour 2012 - Horse Lake Lone Butte, British Columbia
Peregrine Falcon ~ Always a pleasure to see anywhere in the world
American Kestrel ~ North Americas smallest and most colourful raptor. This one photographed in Banff National Park 2012
Taiga Merlin ~ The Taiga race occurs throughout most of North America but is the only race seen in the eastern part. This one photographed at the Corney Brook Campground Cape Breton, Nova Scotia during our 2013 RV Tour

Californian Quail ~ Oregon 2015 
Spruce Grouse ~ A very confiding bird, Alaska 2017
Wild Turkey ~ Oregon 2015. It's a bit surreal seeing these birds just wandering around!

Virginia Rail ~ Record shot at Tule Lake by Dazza
Sora ~ Another record shot taken by Dazza once again at Tule Lake within seconds of spotting the Virginia Rail
Sandhill Crane ~ Klamath Wildlife Area, Oregon

Black-bellied Plover ~ Among several waders noted at China Creek Beach Access, Oregon in 2015
Semipalmated Plover ~ Another wader on the beach from China Creek Oregon.
Killdeer ~ Widespread, common and Conspicuous!
Killdeer ~ A very obliging individual while out on my morning walk in Oregon 2015
American Avocet ~ This bird takes elegance to a new level.
Greater Yellowlegs are seen mostly during migration as they pass between nesting grounds.
Lesser Yellowlegs ~ At first glance both Greater and Lesser look identical except for size!
Solitary Sandpiper ~ Often alone, hence the name! Canadian RV Tour 2012 - Canyon RV Park, Radium Hot Springs BC during a morning walk.
Spotted Sandpiper ~ Fairly common around the shoreline and rivers.
Willet ~ Tule Lake. Sadly a declining species in North America
Dunlin Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon
Whimbrel ~ A familiar sight for us UK birders
Black Oystercatcher ~ A familiar sight during my morning walks along English Bay, Vancouver

Black Turnstone ~ Sadly asleep Alaska 2017
Least Sandpiper ~ Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon
Western Sandpipers ~ Quite widespread along the Pacific Coastline
Long-billed Dowitcher ~ Alaska 2017. Flocks twitter at each other while feeding ~ a habit that sets them apart from the Short-billed Dowitcher
Short-billed Dowitcher ~ Anchorage Alaska 2017
Unlike the UK Birders are welcomed at most treatment plants in Oregon and can be extremely productive.

Red-necked Phalarope ~ One of 22 at Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon
Red-necked Phalarope ~ Lucky thirteen of 22 at Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon.

Black-legged Kittiwake ~ Lands End Nova Scotia.
Bonaparte's Gull ~ This one on a local park lake in Anchorage Alaska
One of the many small lakes to be found around Alaska
Franklin's Gull ~ Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon
Mew Gull at Potters Marsh Reserve on the outskirts of Anchorage Alaska
Ring-billed Gull ~ Taken from the short ferry crossing at Arrow Lake, British Colombia Canada
American Herring Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull ~ Probably the most common during my Canadian visits.
Western Gull ~ Taken at Squamish British Colombia, Canada
Forster's Tern ~ One of several at Tule Lake.
Common Tern
Arctic Tern waiting for a train in Anchorage Alaska!
Caspian Tern ~ The largest in the world with a subcosmopolitan but scattered distribution. This one on the Oregon Pacific coast
The Pacific shoreline Oregon

Black Guillemot ~ Part of a breeding population in Nova Scotia
Pigeon Guillemot ~ Taken offshore while walking in North Vancouver
Tufted Puffin
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach Oregon ~ A great place to see breeding Tufted Puffins.
Tufted Puffins ~ Haystack Rock ~ Note the Common Murre in the right foreground.

Mourning Dove ~ One of the most abundant and widespread in North America
Mourning Dove ~ Canadian RV Tour 2012 - Priests Valley Indian Reserve 6, Vernon British Columbia.

Short-eared Owl ~ Boundary Bay Canada
Snowy Owl ~ The briefest of encounters, Alaska 2017
Great Horned Owl ~ This particular one found by Dazza at Tule Lake
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl ~ Try as she might Dazza just couldn't find an angle without the branch over the eye!
Northern Saw-whet Owl ~ A tiny Owl with a catlike face, this one in British Colombia, Canada

Anna's Hummingbird ~ A regular find throughout our visits and actually winters in Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada.
Rufous Hummingbird ~ A common summer visitor.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird ~ One on someone's porch feeder as we passed by in Oregon

Belted Kingfisher

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ~ A lucky photo in Nova Scotia as the bird was literally there seconds!
Downy Woodpecker ~ The smallest Woodpecker in North America

Hairy Woodpecker at a nest in Nova Scotia
Hairy Woodpecker ~ Like a large long-billed version of the Downy!
American Three-toed woodpecker ~ A small, unobtrusive woodpecker of northern North America and western mountains ~ This one in the Rockies
Northern Flicker ~ Large and noisy, just like our own Green Woodpecker ~ When they fly you’ll see a flash of colour in the wings – yellow if you’re in the East, red if you’re in the West – and a bright white flash on the rump ~ Oregon 2015

Alder Flycatcher? ~ So similar to the Willow Flycatcher ~A small, nondescript flycatcher of northern wet thickets, the Alder Flycatcher is difficult to distinguish from the Willow Flycatcher by any feature other than voice. This particular specimen did not oblige.
Willow Flycatcher? ~ Another bird that did not sing!
Western Wood-Pewee ~ A quick listen in almost any forest patch should reveal the burry, slightly descending peeer of a Western Wood-Pewee throughout the spring and summer months
Hammonds Flycatcher ~ Oregon 2015
Ash-throated Flycatcher ~ The trick to finding an Ash-throated Flycatcher is to listen for its distinctive ka-brick call in dry, open woodlands and scrub ~ This one at Hatfield Lakes near Bend, Oregon 2015
Western Kingbird In between flycatching flights, Western Kingbirds perch on trees, shrubs, fence posts, and power lines; as you can see this makes them fairly easy to spot ~ Harfield Lakes near Bend, Oregon 2015
Eastern Kingbird ~ A chance encounter at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Alberta Canada

Northern Shrike ~ Perimeter Road, Vancouver Int. Airport Canada
Red-eyed Vireo ~ Very common in Eastern forests during summer. They can be hard to see in the treetops, particularly after the trees leaf out, but this is one bird that really highlights the value of learning bird songs ~ Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia 2013
One of our overnight stops along the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Nova Scotia

Steller's Jay Common in forest wildernesses but are also fixtures of campgrounds of which we've visited many
Californian Scrub-Jay ~ The “blue jay” of dry lowlands along the Pacific seaboard. This photo was taken from the hotel balcony in Bend Oregon.
Gray Jay or Canada Jay ~ Highly curious and always on the lookout for food, the friendliest of any Jay species I've encountered.
Clark's Nutcracker ~ Taken while on honeymoon at Lake Louise, Banff National Park Canada
American Crow
Raven ~ This one taken near Anchorage Alaska 2017

Cliff Swallow ~ Often found around bridges and underpasses, this one in Oregon 2015
Tree Swallow ~ A familiar sight during our visits.
Violet-green Swallow ~ Can look dark at first, but their true colours come to life when sunlight illuminates their metallic green backs and iridescent purple rumps
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow ~ A common summer visitor often flying low over the water. This one photographed resting at Iona Beach, Vancouver Canada.
Purple Martin ~ This one a member of a nesting colony at Maplewood Flats Bird Reserve, North Vancouver Canada.

Black-capped Chickadee ~ At one time the Willow Tit was considered conspecific with this species due to their very similar appearance.
Boreal Chickadee ~ Finding Boreal Chickadees can take time and patience: they are not as numerous or conspicuous as many chickadee species and they lack a sweet, whistled song ~ This one photographed in woodland while at Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Chestnut-backed Chickadee ~ Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada.

Red-breasted Nuthatch One of the four species of Nuthatch in North America

Marsh Wren ~ Seeing a Marsh Wren in its often impenetrable marsh habitat can be tough ~ With patience, this one briefly in Delta BC Canada
Rock Wren The Rock Wren is not known to drink water, but instead gets all it needs from its food ~ Smith Rock State Park Oregon.

American Dipper ~ Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver Canada
Ruby-crowned Kinglet ~ Inglewood Bird Sanctuary Calgary Canada
Hermit Thrush An unassuming bird with a lovely, melancholy song ~ Photographed in Homer Alaska 2018
The view across Homer Airport runway towards Homer Spit, Alaska
American Robin ~ Like our own Robin, the quintessential early bird
Varied Thrush ~ Its simple ringing song gives a voice to quiet forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Varied Thrush ~ My favourite American Thrush!
Mountain Bluebird ~ We've been lucky enough to come across many during our visits.

American Pipit ~ This one taken at Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon

Cedar Waxwing ~ Squamish, British Columbia, Canada 2017 ~ Sporting sunglasses!

Northern Parula ~ A small warbler of the upper canopy and difficult to photograph. Taken during my morning stroll while staying at Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia
Orange-crowned Warbler ~ Common in the west but somewhat scarce in the east ~ Oregon 2017
Nashville Warbler ~ Green Lake Provincial Park BC Canada
Yellow Warbler ~ Although not threatened the nest of this beautiful warbler is often parasitised by the Brown-headed Cowbird!
Yellow Warbler ~ This one an adult male
Magnolia Warbler Many male warblers are black and yellow, but Magnolia Warblers take it up a notch ~ Taken during our RV Tour of Nova Scotia 2013
Blackburnian Warbler ~ This bird dropped down with several other species shortly after a major thunderstorm in Nova Scotia 2013. Canopy experts, these birds rarely come down to eye level
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) ~ This Warbler you're most likely to see acting like a flycatcher. Fluttering out of a tree for a passing insect.
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)

Black-throated Gray Warbler ~ A striking yet monochrome warbler! Oregon 2015

Townsend's Warbler ~ Photographed in Oregon 2015 NB: The Townsend's Warbler hybridizes with the similar-looking Hermit Warbler where their ranges overlap here in Oregon and Washington
Black-throated Green Warbler ~ An untiring songster, finally a brief encounter during our RV Tour of Nova Scotia.
American Redstart ~ seemingly hyperactive I was lucky this one stayed put long enough!
MacGillivray's Warbler ~ This one taken in North Vancouver during a day out with my Vancouver birding buddy Dere Killby
Common Yellowthroat ~ Seattle 2017, nothing common about this species.
Wilsons Warbler ~ One of the very first warblers we encountered on our trips to North America.

Western Tanager ~ A clear look at a male is like looking at a flame!
Western Tanager ♀
Black-headed Grosbeak ~ A common sight in the American West. Oregon 2015
Rose-breasted Grosbeak ~A good way to find one is to listen for them. The song sounds like an American Robin in an unusually good mood ~ Nova Scotia 2013

Spotted Towhee ~ Taken at Iona Beach, Vancouver Canada in 2017
Chipping Sparrow ~ A crisp, pretty and quite tame sparrow whose bright rufous cap both provides a splash of colour and makes adults fairly easy to identify.
Savannah Sparrow ~ The most numerous throughout our visits but often causes confusion due to its variable plumage.

Lark Sparrow ~ Many American Sparrows are challenging to ID but this one is a striking exception. Photographed at Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon 2015

White-crowned Sparrow ~ This one in Alaska 2017 ~ Unlike in other states Alaskan White-crowned Sparrows migrate around 2,600 miles to winter in southern California!
Golden-crowned Sparrow ~ Canadian RV Tour 2012 - Pemberton, BC
White-throated Sparrow ~ My favourite Sparrow! Their song is a pretty thin whistle that cuts through the air. This one was photographed in Nova Scotia in 2013 just after the remnants of tropical storm Andrea passed through
Fox Sparrow ~ Common but retiring birds, so you may have to look carefully to spot one, Oregon 2015
Song Sparrow ~ Canadian RV Tour 2012 - 100 Mile Marsh BC.
Having searched for a few hours a surprise when this bird suddenly appeared in full view in Oregon 2015! Lincoln's Sparrows have a talent for concealing themselves, sneaking around the ground and rarely straying from cover
Dark-eyed Junco ~ This one photographed in Canada 2017

Western Meadowlark ~ The buoyant, flutelike melody is enough to brighten anyone's day!
Brown-headed Cowbird ~ Like the Cuckoo 'brood parasite' they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds
Brown-headed Cowbird ~ Shelter Bay/Galena Bay Ferry, BC
Red-wing Blackbird ~ One of the most abundant birds across North America. You can often hear them on TV while watching any US golf tournament!
Juvenile Red-winged Blackbird ~ Iona Beach, BC Canada
Yellow-headed blackbird ~ Iona Beach, BC Canada. Despite its beauty, it sounds like a rusty farm gate opening πŸ˜€
Brewers Blackbird ~ This one bathing at Nehalem Bay Treatment Plant, Oregon
Rusty Blackbird ~ Beluga Lake Obs Platform, Anchorage, Alaska
Bullock's Oriole ~ This one photographed in Oregon 2015. At one time thought to be a single species with the Baltimore Oriole

Purple Finch ~ Squamish BC, Canada
House Finch ~ Common and widespread

White-winged Crossbill ~ Uncommon and very irregular, this one during an evening walk in Girdwood, Alaska while searching for Redpolls
Common Redpoll ~ One of the 'winter finches' nesting in the Arctic and sometimes invading southern Canada and the US northern states. This one photographed near Girdwood, Alaska.
Pine Siskin ~ Foraging in the Alaskan snow.
American Goldfinch ~ An adult breeding male. The only finch that moults its body feathers twice a year!
Richardson's Ground Squirrel
Garter Snake ~ Dazza's find during our Canadian RV Tour of 2012
Always eyes peeled for Black Bears ~ To which we give a wide berth!
Coyote on the prowl ~ Canada
Columbian Ground Squirrel ~ Canada
Mule Deer ~ Inglewood Calgary Canada
Hoary Marmot ~ Fraser Cove Lillooet, British Columbia. One of the sentry's on the lookout for predators!
The best way to end the day ~ A beer and a fire
Big Horn Sheep ~ Many encounters on the roads through the Rockies
Bobcat ~ A surprise when this one suddenly appeared along the track at Squamish, BC Canada
Alaska at midnight in May
Beware of the Wolf ~ Alaska 2017
Sea Otter ~ One of the 100s offshore migrating through Homer Spit Alaska, although this one seems to have a headache
Moose roam freely around the streets of Anchorage, Alaska
The Continental Divide
A Meadow Vole feeding happily in the warm sunshine, Alaska 2017
Red-eared Slider ~ Stanley Park Vancouver
Yellow-bellied Marmot ~ Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
View across Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
Golden Mantled Squirrel, Lake Louise, Alberta Canada
Western Chipmunk ~ Banff Canada. Eastern Chipmunks hibernate whereas western do not. This one probably not long out of hibernation
Mourning Cloak ~ Or as we know it Camberwell Beauty
Sefton Lake, Lillooet, British Columbia. 
Grizzly Bear ~ Birding in the US and Canada requires a certain awareness! 
Wapiti or Elk ~ One of the largest in the deer family, this one in the Rocky Mountains, Canada
One of many RV sites visited
Our home for 16-days in Nova Scotia and over 1500kms travelled
Racoon ~ Stanley Park Vancouver
Anise Swallowtail
Western Pine Elfin
Moose close encounter!
Golden Mantled Squirrel