Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 10 Part 1 - Fraser Valley Birding

The weather forecast was good for this weekend and so I decided to head east into the Fraser Valley on this Sunday morning. I had some golf passes to pick up at the Chilliwack Golf course and there had been reports of a Gyrfalcon in the rural area between Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

I left early in the morning and was cruising the roads of south Abbotsford jsut after 9:000 AM.

I didn't see the Gyrfalcon, but photographed a couple of raptors. The first was a Red-tailed Hawk, which I had briefly hoped was a Gyrfalcon.

Red-tailed Hawk - Abbotsford BC

The other raptor was our smallest Falcon, an American Kestrel. These birds are becoming more common in our area, I've had sightings in Pitt Meadows and rural Delta recently.

American Kestrel - Abbotsford BC

I made my way further east and stopped at the Great Blue Heron Reserve in eastern Chilliwack. in the spring there are numerous Heron nests high up in the trees along the Chilliwack River. 

When I arrived, there was a bird survey under way with people watching the feeders  around the administration building. I ventured out on the trails and spotted a few birds. The first was a now familiar dove that has invaded North America over the last 40 years.

Eurasian Collared-dove - Great Blue Heron Reserve, Chilliwack BC

It seems like a no brainer to take the following picture in this location:

Great Blue Heron - Great Blue Heron Reserve, Chilliwack BC

There wasn't much going on out on the trails so I returned to the feeders around the admin building. I was rewarded with this view near a hummingbird feeder.

Anna's Hummingbird - Great Blue Heron Reserve, Chilliwack BC

Nearby there was a Hairy Woodpecker visiting the suet feeders. 

Hairy Woodpecker - Great Blue Heron Reserve, Chilliwack BC

The last shot at this location was a male House Finch.

House Finch-  Great Blue Heron Reserve, Chilliwack BC

I made the short trip to the Golf course and picked up my passes and then decided to make a side trip in Abbotsford to the Willband Creek Park. I'd never been there before, but had heard good things about it from other birders.

Upon arrival and parking I followed some other birders as they headed out on a trail. I realized that the loop they were taking was quite long and only went part way before turning around. 

There were some large ponds along the trail  that featured Swans acting like dabbling ducks.

Trumpeter Swans - Willband Creek Park, Abbotsford BC

I made the U-turn back towards the parking lot and noticed an unusual looking duck in the pond to my right. It turned out to be a juvenile male Long-tailed Duck.

Long-tailed Duck (Imm) - Willband Creek Park

My only other photo of this species in 2017 was when one photo-bombed a shot I was taking of Steller's Sea Lions at Point Roberts (see here for details: Good Luck at Point Roberts )

Here's another shot of this duck, taken just before I headed back to the coast. 

Long-tailed Duck (Imm) - Willband Creek Park

I still had time for one more stop and elected to visit Burnaby Mountain to look for Pine Grosbeaks. That visit is detailed in the next post in the blog.

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