Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31 - Best of the Year - Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of the best of 2017. July and August are generally the worst months for birding on the west coast. With the nesting season over, it's very quiet. In August the southward shorebird migration starts, but September and early October are generally the better months.

July 2017

Here's a photo from July of a Bustit, taken in our backyard in North Delta.

Bushtit - Backyard North Delta BC - July 26, 2017

August 2017

August was a complete wipeout for bird photos. the highlight of the month was observing the total Solar Eclipse in McMinville Oregon.

Solar Eclipse totality - August 21, 2017

September 2017

I had reached September without picking up an addition to my life list. The last one was seen in November 2016. That changed this month when I saw my first Parasitic Jaeger in Point Roberts. I also witnessed it stealing a fish from the mouth of a Glaucous-winged Gull, typical Jaeger behaviour. This was #421 on my North American Life List.

Parasitic Jaeger - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts WA - September 17, 2017

A week later at the same location I made a long walk along the beach to find a Lapland Longspur that had been seen by Chris Charlesworth of Avocet Tours, our tour guide in April. My patience was rewarded when a female Longspur bird appeared and posed very nicely for me.

Lapland Longspur (F) - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts WA - September 24, 2017

October 2017

In October I travelled to San Francisco for the Oracle Open World convention. Afterwards, I took a few extra days to do some birding in the city and south in San Mateo county.

Near the Ferry building in San Francisco is a good place to see the local Western and Heermann's Gulls. This photo of a Heermann's is one of my best of the trip. The gull is quite small with black legs. It has an unmistakable orange bill with a black tip. We get the occasional stray up here at Point Roberts.

Heermann's Gull - San Francisco CA - October 5, 2017 

For the weekend, I relocated south to San Mateo county.  I visited some of the local hotspots and saw a good collection of birds as detailed in my vacation blog:
2017 Vacation Blog

There is a small city park in Atherton named Holbrook-Palmer Park. It has some play areas for the kids and some picnic areas. It also has plenty of trees and natural gardens. I've had a few lifers here during the years.

The first photo from the park is a happy accident, a Black Phoebe with an unusual background. The sky just happened to show up with this green colour, I didn't do anything in post processing to alter it.

Black Phoebe - Holbrook-Palmer Park, Atherton Ca
October 6, 2017

On the same afternoon I came across this California Scrub-Jay in a darker corner of the park. I did some tweaking to darken the background while retaining the colours of the plumage.

California Scrub-Jay - Holbrook-Palmer Park, Atherton Ca - October 6, 2017

November 2017

Late fall and early winter are good times to see birds on the Lower Mainland. This first shot was taken in the backyard and features our resident Anna's Hummingbird. The feeder is hung on our upper deck. This gives us eye level views when the bird perches in an apple tree close by. This looks like an immature male just starting to molt into adult plumage.

Anna's Hummingbird - Backyard, North Delta BC - November 4, 2017

Later in the month I was at Point Roberts and saw a different northern visitor. I didn't have to walk too far for this one, it lit on a log very close to where I was standing, very close to the "lighthouse" (it's more like a small beacon).

Snow Bunting - Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts WA - November 12, 2017

December 2017

On December 10th I spent the Sunday in the Fraser Valley and then made a brief stop on Burnaby Mountain. But the best photo opportunity came when I returned home and saw a Pileated Woodpecker in the back yard. 

Pileated Woodpecker - Backyard, North Delta BC - December 10, 2017

Six days later on the following Saturday, I pursued a rare bird alert in Vancouver, an immature Summer Tanager had been seen. It was in the Marpole area and had been around for a few days.

This bird is completely out of place here, it is most commonly seen in the South-eastern US. This was my last life bird for the year, it was #425.

Summer Tanager - Vancouver BC - December 16, 2017

The last bird of the year was a boxing day sighting of a Barn Owl hunting somewhere in Delta. The birder's code does not allow me to give location details for owls. This is done to to prevent harassment of the owls by over-eager onlookers. This is a female, which is larger and more colourful than the male. Note: this may look like I was too close, but this is a zoom from about 50 - 70 meters distance.

Barn Owl - Delta BC - December 26, 2017

This ends the 2017 blog, all of the posts are available below in descending date order. The older posts link at the bottom of the page will take you to the next set of older posts.

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