Northern Hawk Owl

Posted by Douglas Brown , Friday, December 10, 2010 12:36 AM

A rare visit from this Northern Hawk Owl provided about a week of amazing photos for many photographers.
It was perched in a few trees in yards of homes near the Reifel Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island in Ladner.
Fortunately there was some nice sun to highlight details.

Northern Shrike

Posted by Douglas Brown , Wednesday, November 10, 2010 11:41 PM

Northern Shrike
Originally uploaded by ~Doug~

Long Billed Curlew

Posted by Douglas Brown , Thursday, September 16, 2010 11:59 PM

Long Billed Curlew

After a month or so of absence from my camera I went out to Blackie Spit just to see if things are still happening, and came across the Long Billed Curlew.

This is a good start to come back with.

The next stop was Deer Lake in Burnaby, and as  I was ready to leave for lack of anything avian, I spotted the kingfisher up in a tree hurling up something she ate, or whatever behaviour this is.
Belted Kingfisher (female)

Cedar Waxwing

Posted by Douglas Brown , Wednesday, July 14, 2010 11:35 PM

Cedar Waxwing

So many waxwings at Reifel today, and for fun I waited for them to fly up catching bugs.
It is a hard shot to get right, but a few turned out. They move fast.

Cedar Waxwing


Posted by Douglas Brown , Monday, June 28, 2010 12:40 AM


Sandhill Crane finding a worm for the chick

Posted by Douglas Brown , Sunday, June 6, 2010 10:56 PM

I'm not sure if you could call it bird voyeurism, but when you see something as cute as the new born chicks,it is hard not to sit and watch all the antics,and capture some of them on the camera.
Sometimes it would be nice to have a video camera on hand to record all the action, but being able to get the special moments with a single frame is far more worth it to me.

Sandhill Crane with chick

Unfortunately the second chick did not make it, but so far this one seems quite spry.
The area is closed off for anyone wanting to walk by, and these were taken where allowed.

Sandhill Crane(male) with chick

Posted by Douglas Brown , Thursday, June 3, 2010 11:35 PM

After about 30 or so days this baby sandhill crane was hatched, and started learning fast how to swim and imitate the dad searching for some type of food in the ground.
Happy to announce the other egg hatched the next day, and have now moved off the nest to a more secure location at Reifel.

I wanna play in the mud too Dad!!!
Sandhill Crane with chick & egg
Mother still on one egg, with newborn beside.

Sandhill Crane with eggs

Posted by Douglas Brown , Saturday, May 29, 2010 10:32 PM

Sandhill Crane with eggs

It has been 3 years since a sandhill crane chick was hatched at Reifel, so this would be a real bonus if these eggs make it.
I remember one time a mink got to the eggs, and while taking some photos here, I saw a mink in the background. Keep guarding them mom.

Sandhill Crane with eggs

Female Wood Duck Eating a Frog

Posted by Douglas Brown , Monday, May 10, 2010 7:47 PM

A female wood duck dove down into the pond and grabbed a frog, then proceeded to flop it around with a vengeance until finally eating it. I never knew they ate these, and it is a first see for me.
I thought it might be a revenge for the bullfrogs eating her babies earlier.
Female Wood Duck Eating a Frog
Has anyone ever heard of this before???
Female Wood Duck Eating a Frog

Cute Season

Posted by Douglas Brown , Sunday, May 2, 2010 1:58 PM

The goslings and ducklings are arriving in good numbers. Down at the local lake within the city they thrive quite well, because there is a lot of people that probably help keep the natural predators away.
It is the problem with minks before the hatchings.
Getting right on the ground for these shots gives me an eye to eye level.


It seems the goslings are outnumbering the ducks this year.


As you can see there are quite a few on this shot.
I'm not sure if they are all from one mother.


Humming birds building nests

Posted by Douglas Brown , Monday, April 26, 2010 12:13 AM

It's that time of year again when the little hummers build the nests around here, and one of my favourite spots to watch them collect the material is at Crescent Park in White Rock.

About each 5 minutes one or more will come to the cattails at this pond and grab the fluff from them, and with backlighting it is quite a sight.


Meanwhile I also heard some loud calls from 2 barred owls, but my search resulted in not finding them.
A couple of pileated woodpeckers were busy cracking at trees, so this park is quite active now.

Tree swallows

Posted by Douglas Brown , Tuesday, April 13, 2010 12:55 AM

It's great to see swallows back in the same haunts at George Reifel Bird Sanctuary.   
Tree Swallow
.....however there was an error made on the housing in which,
the holes were too big and that allowed the
sparrows to take over.
Now they will make the
holes smaller to accommodate
the swallows.
I hope this works out for both species.


Posted by Douglas Brown , Monday, April 5, 2010 9:15 PM

Last year in the summer I was in Penticton,
and Naramata with hopes of capturing quail,
and magpies.
It seems, though they were in numbers,
none were cooperating for a nice photo,
other than in the dark of trees or on the ground.
California Quail
Late this March I had the chance to go up again for a week,
and said to myself this is my goal.
California Quail

Then the magpies were all around gathering foliage for nesting,
so they did not seem to care how close I got.

These being on the ground      
was a non issue, because the sky was a bit overcast,
and was playing havoc with white balance.

The bonus of the week was seeing some bluebirds.
Heading up to Vaseaux Lake saw a bit too much snow on the road,
even for the Jeep, so on the way back down.
a few Western Bluebirds were spotted close to the road
Western Bluebird

Those are a lifer for me.

Hurry and get this nest done...we got kids on the way

Posted by Douglas Brown , Sunday, March 21, 2010 3:00 AM

This is the last photo I too, before a kind of bad experience happened.
Today we had a bit of a flickr meet. Had a fun day, then later on when out in the parking lot and ready to go I put my tripod beside my vehicle, and it tipped over, hitting Chris and Jeannie's car, then landing on the ground.
The lens is a bit messed up now, and I put a nice dent in their car. I'm not sure which I am more upset about. I hate making damage on someone else's car, but also the lens damage has not sunk in yet. It still works, but I cannot get my extender off. Oh well....stuff happens.

Short Eared Owl

Posted by Douglas Brown , Sunday, February 14, 2010 8:36 AM

I's funny that Last week I was determined to see a short eared owl, and spent most of my day back and forth in search.
As I was ready to give up because of fading light this one appeared on a post quite close.
At least some sun was on one side, and it allowed me about 3 photos before flying.
As soon as it flew a Northern Harrier landed on a post about 3 away, and I was able to get a few of it.

OK so now I was definitely on my way
when I spotted these yellow birds on the field.
I had to see what they were.
They didn't let me get close, but flew all around
over top of me, and I took a guess they were meadow larks.

That was a pretty good day as I have never seen
meadow larks before.
A lifer for me.


Posted by Douglas Brown , Saturday, February 13, 2010 11:01 AM

Another "What's for lunch installment. This however is my first sighting of a Brant, so that was cool. Tswassen was quite active with these and herons feeding quite close to shore.
I met up with Nigel and Eric, and noting that Nigel had a nice mat for laying on the sand close to water, I decided to try out my mat in the cargo space of my jeep. That worked well, and now i think I will be using that for more.
I recommend anyone wanting to get low points of view bring along a mat that is not too hard to carry around.
The next thing I need is a tiny, but sturdy tripod.
After these left and the heron was done, I went to search out the short eared owl....with success.

What's for lunch today?

Posted by Douglas Brown , Wednesday, February 3, 2010 9:39 PM

What was supposed to be a mostly sunny day turned out to be a photographic nightmare. High overcast skies, and a bird list that was like none other.
The clearest spots I saw looked like over the Boundary Bay area, so I headed out to check the dikes and dike roads.
Eagles were everywhere as well as the harriers.
I decided I wanted to see if  the Kestrel was around, so I went looking.
About to give up and go to Blackie Spit I looked on a overhead powerline and saw the Kestrel.
Sitting there awhile watching it flew off, and I thought it was gone, so I drove off. had swooped down and got a mouse and went back to a closer wire to chow down.
The lightin was terrible but i took numerous shots just in case.
Here is lunch today.

After watching this I decided to leave, and drove by some fence posts, and spotted a short eared owl about 50 feet away, and what could have been a monumental photo, turned out underexposed because of such dark conditions.
The list for today seen, not all photographed
  • Kestrel Falcon
  • Short Eared Owl
  • Approx 40 Eagles
  • Golden Eagle
  • Harriers
  • 4 Cooper's Hawks
  • Sharp Shinned Hawk
  • Red Tailed Hawk
  • Northern Shrike
This was just among the raptors.
The usual juncos and sparrows around, plus more than usual red winged blackbirds for the area.

What's for lunch?

Posted by Douglas Brown 1:04 AM

A branch out in my back yard... is the host of many

small birds right now.
They have been feeding
on some of the suet,
and staying around
for some photos.
Left the moss on
the cherry tree,
just for photos.

So in continuing the "What's for lunch"...a Junco eating  Larger in Flickr

What's for lunch?

Posted by Douglas Brown , Tuesday, February 2, 2010 9:26 AM

... as I said I am going to do a series on birds with food
This cooper's hawk was eating away...

when the male came swooping on top of her,
and appeared to be
mating with her.
Multi tasking you could say me thinks.
I got set up with my tripod as near to the tree as I could without spooking.
watching this hawk gulping a pigeon down
and was I ever surprised to see this happen.
All I could think about was get the exposure right
Take many photos,
so at least a few will turn out
You have to thank zoom lenses for this.

Capturing the action

Posted by Douglas Brown , Monday, February 1, 2010 12:51 AM

For me doing photos of birds is a lot more exciting...

when they are doing something other than
just sitting on a branch.
Being quiet and observing them for
a long period
of time is part of what I like about
nature the best.
I was fortunate to get close enough
to this Hairy woodpecker
to see it burying it's beak
into the tree
and feasting on whatever was available.
Yes I like the compositions of birds
when they are sitting with a nice background,
but having them going about
business is far more fun.

I think I'll start a series of
"What's for lunch"
for the next while and
post photos of
birds munching away.

Juvenile Gyrfalcon

Posted by Douglas Brown , Wednesday, January 20, 2010 1:30 AM

Monday cleared up in the afternoon, so I put down what I was doing and hightailed it out to the Ladner area. Up in a lone tree I saw what I thought was a red tailed, but further review of the photo I discovered a lifer for me.   First time Gyrfalcon.     

I  walked around and around the tree
Looking for the best pint of view
But this seemed nicest.
Apparently this has been hanging
around this area awhile.
This is close to where I saw
a kestrel, and a peregrine.

The Gyrfalcon is the official bird of
Canada's Northwest Territories.
Most prey is killed on the ground,
whether they are captured there or,
if the victim is a flying bird,
forced to the ground.

The other shot is ok,
and I am just glad to
finally have reference to
a gyrfalcon.
The brown form of the Gyrfalcon
is distinguished from the Peregrine
by the cream streaking on
the nape and crown and by
the absence of a well-defined
malar stripe and cap.

Anything goes Saturday

Posted by Douglas Brown , Monday, January 18, 2010 8:50 AM

Saturday at Boundary Bay this was the scene. After walking down the dike closer, some of the eagles took off, so it was quite easy to get individual shots.

The day was spectacular as it was one of the first full days of sun in weeks, and the photographers and birders were out in force.
My list of the day included 2 peregrine falcons, a few Cooper's hawks, Kestrel,Sharp Shinned,Ring Necked Ducks,many many shorebirds, and I lost count of the eagles after 40.
One highlight of the day was a Short Eared Owl sitting on a sign post 10 feet away from my vehicle,so I blasted off as many shots I could, and it flew to t wire after a larger truck drove by.

Eagle Quest

Posted by Douglas Brown , Monday, January 4, 2010 1:08 AM

This really has not been the best winter for getting out and about because of all the rain.
My quest for eagles was limited.
The few days of sun and blue sky found me two nice ones,worth the capture, though I did see many.
The one directly below one was in the snow and it was feeding... so it is a bit hard to see details.

The others had nice light and in my opinion were captured in nice natural elements.
I find Boundary Bay at the end of 72nd one of the best. Driving to Squamish or Brackendale can be uneventful many times, so I choose closer location on the mainland.
Bald Eagle
To hear these birds calling out is an amazing sound.
The one below was doing that so I was thrilled.
Bald Eagle
Then while driving on the 99 HWY I saw this bald eagle having a bath...
Bald Eagle having a bath

Bald Eagle
Stay tuned for some hawks.

Birds and Feeders (not real photogenic)

Posted by Douglas Brown 12:38 AM

I can say I am not a true birder, but definitely a dedicated bird photographer, so posting images of birds on feeders is just not something that I like doing.
I do like to see them eating away, and enjoy viewing the different species, but the man made object doesn't make the cut for composition in my opinion.
That is especially true with hummingbirds and those bright red plastic shiny discs.
My feeders are set up way out in the back of yard, and have nice branch perches around, but for a decent shot I would have to stand in my neighbours yard for the right light.
Needless to say I don't
Today...I was just underneath it and
saw a "red breasted nuthatch".

This is a first see for me and my lens on that feeder.
I had to.
I never said I don't like taking photos for reference only however.
It might be time to do a different set up on the feeder after seeing that one, so that I can have the right sun direction, and no branch clutter.
They love hiding in the holly, then taking turns on the seeds.

My Top Ten Photos of 2009

Posted by Douglas Brown , Friday, January 1, 2010 4:03 AM

  • A kestrel falcon who gave a nice pose
    will be used in a book being done in Oslo.
  • A surprise when walking around a corner
    on a trail was this ring necked pheasant
  • This pileated woodpecker had it's tongue inside
    the tree fishing out some food.
  • Finally getting to see the yellow throat,
    and on such a good perch was a thrill.
  • Bald eagles will always make my day,
    and this one had a staring match for a long time.
    He was fine and stayed after I left.
  • More rare around here was the long billed curlew.
    I was lucky to get it on the beach and air.
  • The father on the nest in a protect stance
    while a pesty other osprey was swooping the nest
  • A brief visit got me some photos of
    a mother hummingbird on nest.
    I left when I saw crowds coming like paparazzi.
  • An elusive belted kingfisher,
    finally did some flying close by.
  • And after 2 summers trying
    I eventually got a turkey vulture