The morning started off rough, it took over a 1/2 hour in bumper-to-bumper commuter traffic just to make the Second Narrows bridge from my home, a trip that usually takes little more than 5 minutes on a good day (and they want to build more condos in North Van?).
I was patient however and chanted meditative mantra's under my breath, well, not really, but i did listen to some slamming tunes that got me eventually to New Westminster.
I have a vague recollection of visiting Queen's Park from my childhood, maybe 12 years old, maybe 10, can't remember but i did know that i was back once more.
I didn't even have to drive all the way in as i spotted the dark shapes with scopes and tripods in the shadows and parked on the side of the road, right next to the action.
A quick sip of the dark coffee in my travel mug and i was off, into the dark woods and the gathering of like-minded souls within, all hoping for a glimpse of the elusive yet tantalizing Asian species that goes by the apt name Red-flanked Bluetail.
A first record ever for Canada!
There is no excuse for not seeing this if you live in the lower mainland, i knew birders were already migrating up from the US trying to find New Westminster on their maps.
It was originally classified as a thrush but i see it now listed as an old-world flycatcher in the latest edition of NatGeo Birds of NA.
This makes sense as it behaved very much like the flycatchers i have seen in Thailand.
There was a good-sized gathering of the birding tribe present of which i include photogs, since so many of us also like to document our sightings.
I've noticed some damned good birders pick up a camera lately so the lines are beginning to blur i think between birders and bird photographers, one day we will all be united as one, or not LOL.
In the 5 hours i spent on site the weather fluctuated between mild and downright cold, i was thankful for the lukewarm coffee i retrieved later in the morning as it added a jolt to the body and mind.
When i first arrived the bird was present, it wasn't long before i had squeezed off 4 or 5 shots, when i checked the images afterwards quickly i was shocked to see nothing but black images, what the f..., what was this cruel joke? the camera and lens were working fine the day before, i took the teleconverter off and again, black images, i was stumped and could do nothing more that extricate myself from the bird and action to figure out what was wrong.
When i realized the camera setting was on M and not A like i prefer everything was fine again and i rejoined the fray.
The bird never stuck around long, perhaps it was the crowd around it pushing it on or more likely a set routine or circuit that it performed around the park, i caught up with it when it came around.
If i was to do it again i would have cranked my ISO up past 800 for sure, i hate to do that with the D300 but i saw some shots by others that were quite stunning, granted they were using pro bodies with mega-high ISO's.
All i really wanted was some record shots better than the White-winged Crossbill shots i got at Burnaby lake recently, i think i succeeded in that regard at least LOL.
Met a lot of birders and photogs, some i see every time i go out and some for the first time as well.
Meeting Flickr contacts in person is always cool and i met a long-time contact finally, it's an honor when someone shakes your hand and tells you they love your work and read your stuff etc., i don't know what to say actually but it does inspire me.