Friday, October 2, 2009

Feels Like a Great Day for Birds!

One would think that sleeping in would be a daily occurance once you've retired, but for me waking to a 6am alarm clock is not a problem when you are getting up to spend the day doing what you enjoy....birding! I also couldn't think of a better way to spend the last day of September for 2009!

The sky was clear blue and the sun was rising quickly as I made my way through traffic out to Kim's. I had told Kim the night before that this was going to be a day for lifers and I felt this very postitve vibe all morning! Our plans were to hit a couple of good spots close to Kim's home since Sunday she had seen a Belted Kingfisher hovering over Surrey Lake and she was bound and determined to see it again. So once I got to Kim's, we climbed into her car and headed off to Surrey Lake were we saw a few hawks sitting uptop telephone poles preying on unsuspecting mice in the fields. I am sure had it not been for the traffic behind us, we would have pulled over to get shots of these magnificent creatures, but this morning rush hour traffic ruled!

When we got to Surrey Lake, a thin covering of fog laid across the surface of the water making for a mysterious looking backdrop.

As Kim and I started down the trail, we were greeted with the tunes of a bush full of Song Sparrows. It was lovely but trying to get the little fellas to sit still long enough for a photo-op was a little trying but I think a few of them sensed our frustration and popped out just long enough for us to get a few good shots.

Our focus soon took to the sky as we heard the honking of Canada Geese heading our way, along with two lovely Great Blue Herons that graced the sky with their powerful wings and straighter then arrow legs stuck out behind them.

One of the herons landed on a post that was sticking out of the water to rest and preen so of course that means great photo-ops and you know I am going to take advantage of that!

Continuing down the path with our eyes peeled on the trees, hearing the all too familiar song of the robin, we stop to look up to see the red breasted beauty sitting on the tree top singing his heart out and keeping a eye on his surroundings.

Through the chirps of our friend came the calls of a near by Nothern Flicker. I have had a Nothern Flicker teasing me in my own yard as he calls and then is no where to be found when I head outside with my camera but today, this fella  at the lake was quite happy to pose so I took advantage of the great opportunity!

After spending some time scanning the water, we decided that we were not going to see the Belted Kingfisher that Kim had obsevered on the onto our next stop, Blackie Spit is search of some shore birds.

When we got there, we immediately noticed a young Great Blue Heron fishing for his breakfast. We sat and watched and got many a great photo between the two of us. There was actually several herons feasting on their morning catches so we spent quite a bit of time watching and enjoying.

It was about this time that I realised the battery in my camera was going to give me grief and start to fail on me. Great, that did not make for a happy bird watcher! Argh!! I had to keep the camera off and leave it for the "special" sighting we were hoping to find.

We walked along the shore to the mudflats that had sucked me in with force on a previous visit...I am sure most of you will remember that story! haha There was nothing but mud so we headed back to where we had begun our beach adventure. Not feeling terribly defeated since we had been entertained by the fishing herons and the loons that floated out in the water, we figured it was a good time to take a lunch break before we would head for our last destination of the day. We were about to leave the beach and head back to the trail, when a couple of birds at the water's edge caught our eyes. Gulls perhaps? Hmmm they didn't seem to be acting like gulls so it was best to investigate. Kim and I ventured closer the the water to discover we had two life birds right there infront of us, they were the very pair we had ventured out to see in our first visit to Blackie Spit. Almost as if they had been place there for us to see was a Long-billed Curlew and a Marbled Godwit. We were like two little kids Christmas morning after seeing what Santa had left us!

Wow, so cool. We were thrilled with our find and probably could have sat all day watching them, but our growling stomachs had other ideas...time to eat! Of course we had to take time to say hello to the resident gulls, even the one who got a bit huffy and put his beak up and strutted when he thought I was ignoring him! Ah, the life of a gull!!!

After all this excitement and a nice lunch break, we were on our way out to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary for the last stop of the day. I love this place as you are guaranteed birds of all species and this day did not fail us. The regulars were all there, Canada Geese, Mallard ducks, Chickadees, Sparrows and Great blue Herons.

We stopped to watch the Wood Ducks both male and female, the female being yet another lifer for both Kim and I.

There were plenty of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and many Long-billed Dowitchers feasting in one of the many ponds.

And of course you must stop to say hello to what is becoming a favorite of mine, the American Coot.

Then one of our last stops as always, is at one of the observation decks to say hello and good-bye to our friends the ducks.

Sadly, saying good-bye to the ducks finished off my battery and so my photo-ops for  the day had come to an end. As disappointed as I was in my dead battery, I was no where near disappointed in the day that Kim and I had. Not only did I see some amazing life birds, including an American Widgeon which I did not get a photo of, but I had an awesome friend to share it with! Until the next time...happy birding everyone!


  1. Beautiful, beautiful pictures. Have never seen a Northern Flicker -- what spots!!! Thank you!
    Ms P (aka trisketta, aka Patricia :)