I’ve Always Wanted To Go To British Columbia In The Spring … So I Did :-)

Not too long ago we amde a trip to British Columbia for some birding opportunities.  One of the places that we visited was the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Delta, B.C. (Canada).  It has been designated as a site of Hemispheric Importance by the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network.  Consisting of marshes, wetlands, and dikes, one can see a sampling of the approximately 250 species that, at one time or another, call the sanctuary home.850_2360People tend to ask when the best time to visit there (or anywhere else for that matter) … well, it all depends on what you’re looking to find.  We didn’t pick our visit time for any particular reason, other than that’s when we were on holiday.  🙂  Of course, springtime is always a pretty safe bet if baby birds are on your agenda.

There were many (as in many many) wood ducks present.  Since it’s a species that I didn’t get a lot of in Florida, I was tickled with them being so available.  Everyone’s favorite is the quite colorful / beautiful male wood duck.  With its iridescent colored head, colorful beak, and that iconic red eye, it’s easy to see why.850_2362While there were female wood ducks and young ones in tow, I tended to concentrate on the striking males.500_1185Speaking of striking males, the cinnamon teals were also present … male and female … but the most photogenic were again the males.850_2474I just love the way the frothy waters and floating feathers ornamented this beautiful one.500_0982There are lots of hiking trails along the way and quite a few bird boxes, some affectionately labeled as “Apartments”.  Nice to see some tree swallows making good use of them.850_2419They were also plentiful outside of their nesting homes as they flew around in search of bugs and other dining choices.  So very beautiful they are.850_2520It wasn’t just tree swallows either … quite a few barn swallows had nested in the rafters of some of the gazebos in the area.500_1228Of course, no Canada trip could be complete without some Canada goose and their goslings swimming by us.  I just love how the young ones are usually bookended by the adults.  LOL500_1316Along the boardwalks we found several spotted towhees feeding seeds left by the tons of visitors that had come by before us.  I just love that red eye of these quite beautiful sparrow-like birds.850_2436A beautiful song sparrow was spotted as it darted through the marshes.  Thankfully it pause long enough for a few snaps of the lens.500_1053Singing away so beautifully was this adorable marsh wren, also spotted in the marshes and very cooperatively perched on an open reed.  Just love the way their tail feathers stand up like that.500_0925There was also a pair of sandhill cranes who were nesting there.  They reportedly had nested earlier in the season and lost their eggs, but re-nested soon enough.  Hopefully they became proud parents of a baby colt or two just a few weeks later.  🙂500_1153Nearby the sanctuary, we found this beautiful great horned owl, which had 2 fledgling owlets perched high up in the trees as well.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get a clear shot of them.  Ugh.500_1253Of course, being in British Columbia (near waters) bald eagles were numerous.  We were thrilled when this pair flew overhead past us.500_1132At another nearby park, we came across a absolutely stunning red-breasted sapsucker.  Often one might find rufous hummingbirds near these woodpeckers which drill sap wells in the riparian trees, but we just saw this guy who entertained us for quite some time.  Such a gorgeous bird!500_1547500_1397Well, that’s just a sampling of the various birds we found during our stay in British Columbia.  Before I close, I’ll leave you with one more image.  🙂500_1575Hope that you enjoyed that …

Next Up:  Got so many more burrowing owls to share, so if you’re ready …

© 2018  TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy

http://www.tnwaphotography.com                 http://www.tnwaphotography.wordpress.com

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Altered Plans That Turn Out For The Best

In early spring, we decided to take a day trip a bit northeast of our home in extreme western Colorado.  Leaving early in the wee hours of the morning, we always hope to make some wildlife sightings along the way.

Yep, that we did … as we came across a herd of elk crossing a mostly barren landscape, though some snow was still hanging around.

850_0966Along the road we also spotted several raptors … including this beautiful red-tailed hawk perched in the tree and nicely exposed.500_7165Others were out flying and perching in nearby trees … with skill in their execution I might add.500_7185-Edit-EditOthers soar through the sky, searching their landscape for their next meal.  I have been amazed that while many of our raptors are in fact red-tailed hawks, there is quite a variety of other raptors out here as well.500_7318Sometimes the best laid out plans don’t actually work out … especially in the winter season.  So when we reached a “closed for the winter” sign on a road that we expected open, we knew that we had to alter our path.  That of course, usually means something cool is coming up that we were intended to see.

All of this commotion was going on in the trees and upon closer inspection we realized that it was this beautiful song sparrow.  Easy to see where they get their name from as their song is so varied and so sweet.  Even the mockingbird, which is usually the skilled imitator, cannot imitate their song.  500_7274-EditAlong the river, we spotted small wren-like birds darting up and back along the river’s surface.  The fast moving water was quite cold and there was snow and ice along the bank … none of which appeared to bother the dipper.500_7555-EditSteadily perched on the boulders in the water, the dipper looks for food consisting of insects, small fish, and fish eggs to dine on.  500_7440I have to admire its stability in that cold rushing water as it gets splashed about by the action of the waves.500_7423It feeds by diving into the water and often swimming with beating wings through the depth of the water.  Quite fascinating.  This one was doing something totally different though, so we didn’t really know what was going on.500_7595When diving or otherwise submerging itself through the water, it has an additional eyelid which it uses.  Quite amazing, and even creepy, to see.  :-O500_7551500_7605Eventually we watched it as it began to gather up algae and wet mosses and twigs from the bottow of the river and submerged rocks.  500_7674Yep, it became abundantly clear to us that it was foraging for nesting materials.  Now THAT was super cool to watch.  Unfortunately when it would take the “building materials” under the nearby bridge so we could not play inspectors to how it was progressing.  😉500_7661But for sure the action was repeated over … and over … and over.  Yep, as I said, fate has a way to alter our laid out plans and I never question it too much.  I just keep my eyes open for the reason.  It’s usually there.  🙂500_7724Next Up:  Let’s take a trip to Northern Colorado

© 2018  TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy

http://www.tnwaphotography.com                  www.tnwaphotography.wordpress.com