Sunday, February 03, 2008

Birding in three stages.

At last! The sun came out and stayed out; most of our snow melted. The ice in the bird bath thawed around the edges. We grabbed our cameras and headed for the beach.

Very few people were out; it is still quite windy and chilly along the shore, even in direct sunlight. The birds had the water to themselves.

Dunlins, and a seagull or two.

(These beach photos really need to be seen full size; otherwise, the birds are just fuzz. Do click on them to see what I mean.)

The sun was too bright for my camera. It kept announcing that there was nothing to focus on, and half the time, it focussed on a stick or a cloud, instead of on the birds. Can't blame it, really; those little dunlins never stay put. But my next camera will have to have better zoom.

I love our late winter mountains; gleaming white, so clean looking. Here they are.

Boundary Bay and North Shore mountains.

Another fuzzy pic of dunlins, looking south this time.

A heron, in heron-ankle-deep water. Seagulls beyond, then dunlins.

We walked out to see if we could sneak up on this heron. One step more, and he headed for deeper water.

Heron tracks.

We were cold, so we took one of the passageways back to the street, a few blocks south of where we had parked the car; the houses would shelter us from the wind. And there, in Beach Grove, spring is well on its way.

New buds.

Bare branches, but with new, vibrant colour.

At one garden, Laurie stopped. Tiny birds were flitting from tree to tree, too quickly to be seen clearly. And in the shrubbery, a spring choir was practicing. Not sparrows; we didn't recognize the tune. We stood there for quite a while, listening and watching.

And we saw, in that one spot, a pair of house finches, a dee-dee-dee of chickadees, a twitter of probable bushtits, and a house-warming of robins. Who sat in the top branches of a tree over our heads, posing where the camera couldn't focus because of the branches in between. And I don't know who was doing the singing; they were hiding deep in a hedge.

We photographed a robin, anyhow. Spring is now officially here.

Coffee and tea at Tim Horton's, and then home. And on the drive home, in one stretch across the Delta farmlands, we passed 4 hawks sitting on fence posts by the side of the road, and one just arriving. The next section was reserved, I think, for other birds: line-sitting starlings, several great blue herons, fishing in the ditch, a couple of eagles in trees, and one sitting in a puddle admiring his reflection. And in one field, several hundred seagulls were quitting for the day; half of them were already in the air, low down across our road. Beautiful! I can't think of a more graceful bird on the wing.


  1. Wow, Robins ... already. When we were out skiing yesterday, the birds were VERY vocal ... happy, happy, happy were they that winter was half over. Hopefully they know something we don't and are better predictors than ground hogs!

  2. Yeah for spring - the water looks so cold.


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