Where: Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Centennial Beach (Delta), Piper Spit, Burnaby Lake (Burnaby) Weather: Sunny, cloudy late, 7-11°C
A rare-ish weekday round of birding, thanks to sunny weather. We hit Reifel first and soon discovered that school was out today, as the place was chock-full of kids. They were fairly well-behaved, though.
We got off to a nice start with a pair of Anna’s hummingbirds sharing a drink at a feeder.
Surprisingly, there was a thin patina of ice on a lot of the ponds. I suspect most of it melted by mid-afternoon, but we did see one wigeon land on the ice, then sink into it as it waddled forth. This apparently displeased it, as it then flew just enough to land ahead where the water was clear. We also saw some shovelers hanging out like cool kids on the ice (geddit?)
And speaking of shovelers, they were all over the place and in large numbers, save, oddly enough, in one of the spots they usually hang out. We saw what seemed to be a couple of scruffy-looking juveniles.
And speaking of juveniles (I am master of segues in this post), we saw a bunch of juvenile bald eagles circling overhead multiple times. One pass apparently spooked some of the shovelers and they took off, only to land back where they’d flown from a minute later.
The Chickadee Empire was somewhat in retreat, as we saw fewer than normal, and the ones we did see seemed even less interested in sitting still for a moment.
Herons were dotting the landscape like broody sentinels, and we got to see the Sandhill cranes before exiting. Several of them even flew overhead, giving us a chance to behold their gangly forms in the air.
We even saw a common goldeneye, which I don’t think we’ve spotted at Reifel before, though I only got a single shot of it, as it flew away almost as soon as we saw it.
On the way out, an older man told Nic about all the owls we never see. He was still going on and adjusting the onion on his belt as we left. We did not see any owls, alas.
Next up was Centennial Beach. We actually didn’t see many birds here, but the tide was out, so we strolled offshore and took photos of Mt. Baker. We did some gadwalls, more herons and golden crowns. And Nic got a lot of heart points.
With the sun setting at the late hour of 5:34 p.m. we had enough time to visit Piper Spit. By this time the clouds had moved in, so the light went from good to so-so, but you work with what you’re given. Fortunately, the bufflehead was back and diving all over the place. The seagulls that have been occupying the land mass near the pier were completely gone, replaced by hundreds of crows, preparing for their nightly mini-migration. There were making a lot of crow noises, which complemented (?) the blackbird noises.
After seeing no wood ducks at Reifel and only a single coot (or two? It was only one or two), we saw plenty of both at Piper Spit. But mostly it was crows, crows and more crows. And the bufflehead. And actually, a lot more scaups than I remember normally seeing here.
In all, a good outing, even if the clouds made the shots at Piper Spit a bit more challenging at the end.
Soon™. But here’s a shot of two hummingbirds as a start:
The Birds (and other critters)
Sparrows and sparrow-adjacent:
- Anna’s hummingbird
- Black-capped chickadee
- Dark-eyed junco
- Fox sparrow
- Golden-crowned sparrow
- House sparrow
- Red-winged blackbird
- Song sparrow
- Spotted towhee
- American coot
- American wigeon
- Bufflehead duck
- Canada goose
- Common goldeneye
- Great blue heron
- Green-winged teal
- Night heron (sort of)
- Northern pintail
- Northern shoveler
- Ring-necked duck
- Sandhill crane
- Scaup (Lesser and Greater)
- Wood duck
- American crow (a billion or so)
- Rock pigeon
- Bald eagle
- Northern harrier
- Assorted and somewhat chonky squirrels