Whatever the weather; rain, gumbootrain, or raingearrain; we were going to get out of the house. So we promised ourselves Monday night. "It'll be fun!" I said. So when Tuesday dawned with no rain, even a hint of sunshine, we were pleased, and maybe a bit relieved.
Still, we carried our rain capes and umbrellas, just in case; you can never trust BC weather to live up to its promises.
A weekday, a grey day sandwiched between rainy ones; nobody else would be at Reifel Island. A good day for birding. And the sightings started long before we got there, too.
These eagles looked odd to me. I thought they just might be young goldens. Something about the shape of the head, or maybe the beak, the sleekness of the feathers, the golden crown ... Here's a cropped and enlarged view:
So I spent a few hours looking them up, and finally decided that yes, they are immature bald eagles after all. The distinguishing mark is the leg; the immature golden has feathers right down to the toes.
We stopped, as usual, at Westham Island bridge. There's an eagles' nest high in a tree just across the street, in use this year again. One eagle was standing guard, half hidden behind branches. Above him, unheeding, a flock of starlings perched, occasionally bouncing off to wheel and land again. The eagle took no notice of them.
Below the bridge, a flock of mallards and wigeons dawdled in the shallows. A coot and a grebe were diving for fish. Camouflaged against the patterns of brown mud and grasses, ...
... dozens of peeps slept. A few were wading; otherwise we wouldn't have seen the flock at all.
I have almost as much trouble with these as I do with sparrows; they could be anything from yellowlegs to dowitchers.
And these, I am almost sure, are green-winged teal, judging by the couple of green heads I can see, and the vertical white bar just in front of the wing. I don't know what the dark brown duck is.
And there were mute swans!
I love the contrast here; the sharp blades of grass, the broken sticks, and the white softness of the swan. And that downy head! It makes you want to touch it. (But I wouldn't dare; I want to keep my fingers.)
And going from the sublime to the spiky, a heron hiding on the bank of an irrigation ditch.
On to Reifel! (And it still wasn't raining. Fingers crossed ...)
More tomorrow... Tweet