Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Interim birds

I am feeling seriously bird-deprived. Except for the sandpipers at Crescent Beach the other day and the mallards at Cougar Creek, all the birds we have seen recently have been far, far away, and mostly on their way to distant shores. We keep making plans to go to Reifel Island, but the weather and our schedules keep getting in the way. Maybe this week, as soon as the sun comes out again.

Meanwhile, I've culled a few shots from Laurie's camera, which does distances better than my prime lens. They'll serve as a temtempié* for now.

*(Temtempié, Mexican idiom for "appetizer, snack". A corruption of "tente en pie" = "keep you standing up".)

Eagle, Crescent Beach. In an unusual pose for this tribe; they tend to be just the other side of that trunk, or see, up at the top, that white spot? or soaring over the top of the hill, heading for White Rock.

The one, lonely wigeon at Cougar Creek park this month. His vibrant colours work as camouflage as long as he stays near the shore of the lake.

"After splashdown, an explorer leaves his still-glowing space capsule, unfolds his beak and legs, and takes stock: 'Let's see, there's a big, black, short-legged bird over there, a few white and grey squealers scattered around. Not much else. But it looks like I've landed in a colony of tunnellers; look at all those chimneys! Could be worth my time to stay here.'"

Okay, I'll be sensible.

Robin hiding on us in a maze of bare branches on a misty afternoon. Cougar Creek Park.


  1. I know what you mean about missing the birds. I can't wait for the swallows to return. They are such fun to watch cavorting through the sky. - Margy

  2. Have you noticed any decline in bird populations in your neck of the woods Susannah? We've nowhere near as many as when we moved to Crete ten years ago. I managed to photograph a White Wagtail for this week's Blog (http://cretenature.blogspot.gr/2014/02/the-road-to-nowhere.html) but that was all on the bird front - plenty of herps though.

  3. Steve, Yes, definitely. Both the birds that used to frequent my backyard feeder and birdbath; they used to raise families here every summer and even knock at my window to ask for more feed in the winter. Now, it's rare that one stops in.

    And on the beaches, the flocks are maybe half what they were a few years back, and the number of species present is far less.

    :( :( :(

  4. As a matter of interest have you had any 3G or 4G telecommunications masts put up locally? Our sparrow numbers dropped by about 90% when a 3G mast was erected on a nearby hill and they've never recovered.

  5. Steve, No, I haven't seen any new towers in the vicinity. Maybe over in Newton, a 15 minute drive away; they're doing a lot of building over there.

    And the delta just below us has been assaulted in the last couple of years by a major highway system crossing prime bird habitat, chopping up bog and wetlands and farm land where thousands of birds, small and large used to feed and nest.

    There could be other reasons; our insect population is 'way down, too.


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