Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 16 Part 2 - Vancouver Rarity and High Altitude Visitors

South Vancouver Rarity

A rare bird alert had been raised for a Summer Tanager in Southwest Vancouver. It took me a while to navigate to the area and find a parking spot. As is often the case with RBA's, you don't need to find the bird, just find the birders.

There were a few gathered on the Arbutus Greenway bike path. They said the bird had been around but was not  currently located. They told me that it frequents a Suet feeder high up on the third floor of a condo building.

The bird showed up within 15 minutes and made it's way to the feeder. I wondered if I should do my lifer dance but deferred in the company of strangers.

Summer Tanager - Marpole area, Vancouver BC
Lifer #425
2017 Bird #216

This shot is fully zoomed out with Nikon P900 so it's not that sharp. The bird appears to have a slightly damaged beak, possibly from a window collision. There was speculation that such a collision might have affected its navigation system and caused it to be so far out of its normal range.

I took numerous photos with both cameras and one movie.

Here's the movie of the Tanager:

Burnaby Grosbeaks

I took my leave and headed for the north-east end of Vancouver to pick up my grandson Austin who was staying with us overnight. I decided that Burnaby Mountain was not too far out of our way home and this might be my last chance for Pine Grosbeaks this year. There was a play area there to keep Austin occupied.

If the Grosbeaks were present they would be in the Cherry Maples right by the parking lot and the playground. Upon arrival, there were no birds to be seen. Austin was getting bored,and we were just about to leave when a group of birds flew into the trees, they were the Pine Grosbeaks.

The first one I photographed was a female

Pine Grosbeak (F) - Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, Burnaby BC - 2017 Bird #217

It was difficult to get good shots as the birds were in the shaded areas of the trees and moving constantly while feeding on the leaf buds. By this time Austin had become interested in these colourful birds, as had a few people walking nearby.

Here's the best two shots I took of the males:

Pine Grosbeak - Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, Burnaby BC

Pine Grosbeak - Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, Burnaby BC

There's something really special about these birds, the males are so striking. When they do appear they ignore people around them and go about their feeding as if we didn't exist.

My next outing would be Christmas Day when another rare bird (for the lower mainland would show up).

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