Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Birding

Every New Year's Day I start a new Year list. I try to avoid seeing something like a Crow or a Robin for my first bird of the year. I usually head for a spot where there have been some good birds seen.

Since I'm at the start of the year, I'll include the Year bird number when I see one for the first time. Every bird in this post will have that notation.

Before leaving, I glanced out the living room window and saw a Downy Woodpecker. I didn't have a camera handy and did not get a photo of one until Jan 21 at Brunswick Point. I'll use one of the photos I took there.

Downy Woodpecker - Brunswick Point, Delta BC - 2017 bird #1

The next bird was our resident male Anna's Hummingbird. During the cold spell I was bringing in the feeder every night to prevent the liquid from freezing. The least he could do was pose for me on New Year's day.

Anna's Hummingbird - Backyard, North Delta BC - 2017 bird #2

My first stop was Deas Island Regional Park in Delta. I hoped to see again the Pacific Wren I encountered on Christmas Day. I set out on the Island Loop trail that runs along the Fraser River. I heard a Flicker calling and located it high up in a nearby tree.

 Northern Flicker - Deas Island Regional Park, Delta BC - 2017 bird #3

It was very cold and the trail was covered in ice and snow. As the river came into view I saw a Cormorant on a log in the river. At first I thought it was stationary, but then I noticed that the log was floating west with the river. The Cormorant was saving energy by catching a free ride.

Double-crested Cormorant - Deas Island Regional Park, Delta BC - 2017 bird #4

I took the loop back to where I was parked and encountered two more familiar birds in the under-brush. First was a Towhee.

Spotted Towhee Deas Island Regional Park, Delta BC - 2017 bird #5

This Song Sparrow is really puffed up to insulate it from the cold weather.

Song Sparrow Deas Island Regional Park, Delta BC - 2017 bird #6

I left without seeing my Pacific Wren and decided to try the rural area on 60th Avenue. There is a resident Kingfisher that fishes in a small pond there. However the pond was frozen and the bird had likely moved to somewhere along the river. There were numerous Bald Eagles around, this one on a power line.

Bald Eagle - 60th Ave Delta BC - 2017 bird #7

Even though I had snow tires, it was tough going on the rural roads. I spotted a Heron in an unusual setting, the poor thing looked very cold.

Great Blue Heron - 64th St Delta BC - 2017 bird #8

These crows were on the next building over, they probably deal better with cold weather than the Herons.

Northwestern Crow  - 64th St Delta BC - 2017 bird #9

The ducks weren't looking too happy either.

Mallard - 64th St Delta BC - 2017 bird #10

My next stop was Ladner at 72 St on the west side of Highway 99. I was going to make a quick stop at the turf farm where gulls congregate by the hundreds. Interestingly, this area had missed the big snowfall, so it was cold but mostly bare. The only Gulls I saw were the common ones.

Glaucous-winged Gull - 72nd St, Delta BC - 2017 bird #11

I was about to head home but stopped to chat with Monica, a local birder who had been our the 2016 Spring Okanagan birding tour with me. She told me she had seen a Harris's Sparrow at 96 St on Boundary Bay. This is a rare sighting for the Lower Mainland as this sparrow breeds in the Arctic and summers in the Great Plains. 

The two kilometre drive south put me back in the snow and ice zone. I was on the foreshore and a very cold wind was blowing in from the ocean. 

The bird was in with a mix of White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows. A very helpful couple were just leaving and they told me where they had seen the bird. I got a nice shot of a White-crowned Sparrow while searching for the Harris's.

White-crowned Sparrow - Boundary Bay at 96 St, Delta BC - 2017 bird # 12

Finally I caught sight of the Harris's Sparrow. This is the first of this species I've seen since 2015. 

Harris's Sparrow - Boundary Bay at 96 St, Delta BC - 2017 bird # 13

This is a first winter bird, so the black on the throat has not fully come in yet.

Harris's Sparrow - Boundary Bay at 96 St, Delta BC - 2017 bird # 13

So it was lucky 13 on New Year's day, I'd be back at it the next day.

No comments:

Post a Comment