Saturday, January 09, 2010

Winter quarters on Cougar Creek

I just recently ran into the concept of "patch birding", which seems to describe the sort of birding we do. Some birders get to run all over the world, looking at birds unfamiliar, exotic, rare and flamboyant, from the Antarctic shores to steamy jungles and baking deserts. Lucky them; so exciting! (But it does sound exhausting, too.) Others, like us, check out the same local sites over and over; our patches. Which also presents its thrills.

We have several places that we consider "ours"; the backyard (chickadees, juncos, sparrows) and the vacant lot across the street (mostly crows), the beaches; White Rock, Boundary Bay, Crescent Beach (gulls, shorebirds, eagles), and Cougar Creek Park (ducks and kin).

Cougar Creek is at its best while the weather is cold, from late fall to early spring. Mallards and wigeons dabble in the creek or sleep on the pond, herons fish in the shallows, diving ducks pop up and disappear.  We may see a wood duck or two, or a woodpecker in the trees, cormorants; or maybe ... no telling what may turn up.

With the greenery mostly gone, the interwoven bare branches and their reflections provide both cover and camouflage:

Where the Creek joins the pond. On an angle, to include the trees reaching up and reflecting down.

Wigeon on bare tree squiggles.

The sky above, with tree "lace".

There are always crows. Caw!

Mallards in the middle.

Grasses at the edge.

An eye behind the grasses.

Annoyed heron. As usual.

A Skywatch post


  1. I'm a patch birder too. I've never heard of that term before but it sure does fit.

  2. A patch maybe, but looks like the perfect spot to spend an afternoon at!

  3. What a lovely photolog.
    I love tree lace.
    Also checked out your Love, Unrequited photos - deeliteful

  4. "Patch Birder".. perfect. I guess I'm one too. Loved your pictures! Especially the first one, with its dizzyingly excellent perspective.

  5. Beautiful pictures. I love the eye of the heron. Patch birding is fun.

  6. patch birding--makes me think of the book by Annie Dillard, "Tinker at Pilgrim Creek." Your photos are lovely and inspiring!

  7. Thanks for the good words, y'all! Carol, I'm glad you liked the slanted one. I did, but debated whether it would work in blog size.


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