23 June 2006

BC Bird Pix

I only had a relatively crummy pocket camera on this essentially non-birding trip ..... nevertheless:

Western Gull

Pigeon Guillemot

Bald Eagle


21 June 2006

More BC birds

Bummed off the conference mid-afternoon under gentle arm-twisting from a couple of colleagues, and went whale watching. Plenty of Orca although it's quite early in the season ..... also many, many Bald Eagles (why didn't I bring the good camera?) as well as Western Gulls, assorted Cormorants (Pelagic and Double-crowned), Glaucous-winged Gulls, Bank Swallows and Surf Scoter. Coming back into the harbour at Steveston there is a long, low sandy and grassy bank covered in huge groups of Great Blue Herons.

Tomorrow, it's back to Montreal and normal birds.

Stanley Park in June

 Today gave me a half day off from the conference - you can have too much of the pathologist profession at times - and I led a rapid six hour ramble through the eastern half of Stanley Park in Vancoouver.  I already knew that this was not the birdiest time to visit but it proved to be a heck of a nice place to be with or withour birds and I was in good company anyway, which is always nice.

So, the list for the day was House Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Pigeon Guillemot (yesterday a lifer, today just another bundle of feathers out in English Bay), Pelagic Cormorant, Double Crested Cormorant, Am. Crow, Canada Goose House Finch, Bald Eagles Red-winged Blackbird, BC Chickadees, Am Robin, Loon, Western Gull.  Sadly, one of the guys I was with spotted a Red-naped Sapsucker but by bthe time I got my binoculars on the tree it had retreated to the far side and I never did see what would have been another lifre. Rats.

At the northern end of the park is a lookout much frequented by trippers and large, fat, thieving, human-habituated, dalight-foraging Racoons ..... despite many signs asking people to respect the wildness of wildlife it was clear that too many people feed them.  This is not good.

19 June 2006

West coast lifer number one

Vancouver - Not a birding day, but a short after lunch stroll to the harbour to watch float planes take tourists for trips netted a nice Pigeon Guillemot swimming by the harbour wall. Sibley says they are rather uncommon so I was somewhat pleased to catch it so easily.

Other than that, the main ornithological news is that male House Sparrows out here seem to be much more strikingly coloured than their Quebec counterparts with a sharp edge to the chest patch and most impressively terracotta coloured brown head stripe. They are as keen to help you clear up the crumbs from dinner as anywhere else on the planet.

BC Birding

 Just arrived in Vancouver to do some (paid) work - first time here and in great hope of finding some good birds but thus far they seem to consist of Crows and assorted Gulls ......... to be fair it's late, it was a long flight and we had cocktails.

Tuesday, I get a half day to explore, binoculars in hand.  watch this space for more updates.

03 June 2006

You have to be mad .....

Today we spent several hours stumbling about in torrential rain at the Philipsburg bird sanctuary down near Lac Champlain as part of the orientation session for a breeding bird survey being conducted this summer. You have be mad, or British or be a birder, to enjoy this sort of thing but two Indigo Buntings, and angry Overbird and assorted other goodies culminating in an SSV (that's not an SUV but a "soul satisfying view") of a gorgeous Barred Owl and two large chicks sitting out on branches in the pouring rain just feet from us made it all worthwhile.