Sunday, March 9, 2008

50X the birding fun

The past week was beautiful here on the lower mainland and the stretch of Tuesday through Thursday was particularly nice, especially in the afternoon (when i sometimes go out birding after work).
As my luck would have it, the boss called overtime this week (6am till 5pm), effectively wiping out any such notions of afternoon delight at Maplewood.
Instead, i watched the sun and blue skies from the safety of a glass divider and the cold glow of a computer screen to occupy my time instead.

Needless to say i was raring to go come weekend, i had to get out and channel some of the negative work thoughts into positive bird thoughts instead.

Audy decided to call in sick this weekend as far as joining me birding on Saturday so i headed out solo.
Coffee was feeling good inside me and the ipod plugged into the car stereo was cranking good tunes.
I always find choosing the right music before a birding day is extremely important as it sets the initial mood.

I'll mention now that i haven't been overly happy with the final results as far as quality of my recent digiscoped shots and it's gotten me down a bit.
i've been getting good looks and decent lighting lately (and bird luck is holding strong) but when processed, a lot of them have been Soft.
To combat the evils of Soft i decided to put my old 50X eyepiece back on the scope instead of than the 30X that i regularly use since i have a sneaking suspicion that it produces a sharper image.
The 50X has it's drawbacks in that everything is that much closer and you get more vignetting.
It's good in that i no longer have to use the camera zoom as much since i think it has a lot to do with image degration.

So, i switched to the 50X and drove to Iona beach since i wanted to see if the swallows had come back yet.
I knew they were back at Reifel but wanted to avoid that whole scene as we had been hitting it up frequently lately and i wanted to avoid crowds as much as possible this weekend for a change.

Not too many people at Iona and i walked around looking for the shrike (who wasn't around) but did run into a pair of flickers.
No swallows yet however.

Checked out the sewage treatment ponds and looked through a flock of red-winged blackbirds and found a couple pair of Brewers blackbird mixed in as well.
The Killdeer were active and i had fun watching them run about calling to each other.
At one point i ran into an extremely brave Robin and it even posed for me nicely.
i like this shot as the carpet of small blooms and the lighting remind me of Spring.

at around the same time i ran into an old friend the Spotted Towhee.

i love shooting these charismatic birds.

after Iona i drove out to Tsawassen ferry jetty to look for Surfbird again but didn't see one.
Saw plenty of Black turnstones, loons, grebes, scoters and Harlequin ducks however out by Berth #1.
I then proceeded to drive out to the Tsawassen portion of Boundary Bay park to look for Eurasian (Common) teal, one of which has been seen regularly just off of 12th ave. by the pump house.
I looked really hard and carefully scanned all the flocks etc. but never saw the Common.
ah well, shot his cousin instead.

After all that i made a half-assed effort to drive around the Boundary Bay roads looking for raptors but got tired and called it a day.

Today Audy was well enough to come out and we decided to go to Lost lagoon in Stanley Park to shoot waterfowl but soon realized a marathon was underway.
Maplewood was decided on then as our Sunday destination.

We didn't do the whole walk as we became pre-occupied with the Red crossbills that were swarming around.

it was cool because while i have run across them plenty of times Audy has yet to come into close contact with this charming species of bird.

The 50X eyepiece performed quite well in the challenging light this weekend.

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The Waiting Area

The Waiting Area