Saturday, August 27, 2011

Black Turnstone

The big bonus of the morning at Blackie Spit was undoubtably this lone Black Turnstone that was working some barnacle encrusted rocks in sweet light. I love coming across a perfect situation like this was.

On Golden Pond

After the curlew and godwit, i decided to check out Elgin pond and was happy to find a trio of shorebirds out in some wonderful morning light. Best of all was getting both Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs together for comparison.

Best Friends

For some reason every year about this time a couple of old friends get together on Blackie Spit in Surrey to hang out. A Long-billed Curlew usually comes first and is followed later by a Marbled Godwit.
This year was no different. I got some distant shots of the curlew a few weeks ago but was hoping to get it in a better location. Getting up early this morning paid off as not one but both of them were back.
I was able to get some decent shots in the early morning before too many people  were out and about.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Manning Park - Aug 20

Decided to head out to Manning Park yesterday to look for Boreal Chickadees and Townsend's warblers.
Every time we have gone to MP in the past we have always concentrated on the lodge area, Lightning lake and Strawberry Flats area but on the other side of the highway is a road that takes you up into the sub-alpine meadows and finally we were going to check it out.
Not too early a start and we were on location by around 9am.
On the drive up saw a car parked by the side of the road and two photogs checking something out on the slope side, of course it had to be grouse, i decided to get out there as well and soon realized i knew both the photogs, Peter a Czech who i had met at Iona and Boundary Bay previously and Doug, who i see quite often, most recently the weekend before at Iona. We were all a bit surprised to see each other and proceeded to get some shots.
The adult Sooty Grouse (with a number of juveniles in tow) wasn't cooperating at first and stayed in the shade and Peter figured there would be plenty of more grouse where he was taking Doug further up the hill so they left and i stayed a bit longer.
I don't know how they fared but i'm glad i hung it out as i eventually got some pretty decent shots in some alright surroundings.

Afterwards, we too continued on our way up the hill eventually ending up at the top by a radar tower.
I was originally planning to hike the Heather trail but liked what i saw of the area around the radar tower and we walked the Paintbrush trail instead. Loads of mountain wild flowers and Audy had fun shooting them with her camera. I saw a number of birds but they were all in one loose flock, lots of Dark-eyed juncos along with what looked like juvenile White-crowned sparrows. Didn't see any Boreal chickadees unfortunately but did get a quick look at one Mountain Chickadee that disappeared before i could get a shot off. As well, saw a pair of Townsend's warblers flying about but looks at them were into the sun and they were too far off for anything decent. One scraggly looking Yellow-rumped warbler could have been a juvenile perhaps.
Heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch as well. Saw no grouse however.

On the way down Audy wanted to stop at a lookout parking lot to get some shots of the landscape and while parked i noticed an active group of Clark's Nutcrackers working the crowd for handouts. Looks were of the excellent variety and i couldn't resist pulling my gear out. I was planning to stop at the lodge for these guys but i much prefered the perches and light angles here at the lookout to those at the lodge.

As well, a pair of ravens made an appearance, would have of course liked more BG but whatever.

I'll finish off this post with a chipmunk and a pop celebrity i spied ; )

American Redstart at Maplewood Flats - Aug 19th

Rob Lyske found a first spring American Redstart at Maplewood Flats on Thursday (Aug 18th) and it was seen later by others that day.
I didn't make it out until yesterday (Friday) after work but while wandering around in the noon hour, and just past the bridge and along the trail that vears right (after said bridge) i spied a warbler deep in the bush working a tree, was able to grab a few record shots but when looking at the camera view at the time couldn't be sure that it indeed was the redstart, until just now :)  Could still be there?

The real reason i was at Maplewood was Black-throated Gray warblers. Every year Maplewood seems to be one of the more reliable locations in the lower mainland for this species, and every year i try to get some shots.
Choked a bit on this shot as the bird was actually in a much better pose a few seconds earlier but i couldn't get my camera focused in time, ah well, it's how the cookie crumbles sometimes.
Still, i like the big gummy worm in it's mouth.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recent Shorebirds

Last weekend i tried for the Pacific Golden Plover out at Beach Grove and made a special trip out that way in the afternoon (i'm typically a morning shooter whenever i venture out except at Maplewood, which i often frequent after work).
Anyways, never saw the plover, maybe we were too early although tide timing seemed good.
Perhaps it had already flown.
Did get one shot of a Least Sandpiper on it's own in the grass.

Later we ended our day at Brunswick Point at  the log booms, the cool Black-bellied Plovers were faithfully roosting. The lighting was actually not great and the BG was open sky behind the closest well posed bird but after wading out into the water to almost knee-high depth i was determined to get at least one shot i felt good enough about to post.

There you go, not much but what can you do eh?


Last couple of weekends have been hit and miss shooting-wise but when i have gotten out shorebirds have been my focus, too bad i haven't had much luck.
hopefully things will pick up bird-wise soon and hopefully i'll shake off this work-related weariness, sure i have a bird photo trip lined up in October that will hopefully be amazing but that's still a long way away, need to get back in the swing of things.

Spent some time with the Tsawassen Willet the other day, was nice to get some decent light and a cooperative bird.
Been paying visits to this bird for years now, always fascinates me how it comes back to the same stretch of beach every year.

Thought it would be neat to compile some of the other shots of this bird we have on file, for some reason we dipped on it in 2009 but did get one in Texas later that year.



2007 (digiscoped)

2006 (in '06 my wife Audy was the bird photographer, i was just along for the ride).



Sorry for the cryptic title but it makes sense when you read on.
Last weekend was a complete wash-out shooting-wise.
This was due to a nasty computer virus called a Backdoor worm that showed up whenever i tried to view Ebay (a pop-up would come up asking me to confirm all my CC and debit card details, including PIN numbers :roll:) it also slowed my internet connection down to a crawl and did other funny things to my computer.
There was no way around it and i was forced to re-install my operating system and software and ended up wasting my complete weekend.
After re-installing everything the computer has never been better i think, and Anti-Virus is fully on-guard :wink:
Starting fresh i also decided to upgrade my processing software from Photoshop CS2 to the current CS5.
WOW :o what a difference!
i like that i don't have to use Capture NX2 to transfer my RAW files over to TIFF for PS anymore.
Quite happy with this re-process from two weekends ago, a big improvement on the originally posted one :)

The Waiting Area

The Waiting Area