This past weekend Calgary Birder, Mrs. Calgary Birder and our two nestlings flew to Vancouver. We were taking their 98 year old great-grandmother to attend her big sister's 100th birthday party! It was a wonderful celebration and we all enjoyed the time visiting with family.
|As many as twenty Steller's Jays, Cyanocitta stelleri, at a time in our host's front yard - but these aren't the blue tails I was looking for...|
I slipped out of a dark house in North Vancouver shortly before dawn and headed for Queen's Park in New Westminster. The only birds I saw on the half hour drive were members of a huge flock of Northwestern Crows leaving their roost in Burnaby but even in the predawn light the park was jumping with activity. American Robins and Dark-eyed Juncos were busy feeding on the ground along with, to my delight, several Varied Thrushes - a life bird before the sun had risen.
|Varied Thrush, Ixoreus naevius. Not bad views for a shy resident of the damp, dark understory. The patterning on the feathers gives a textured quality to the plumage.|
|Red-flanked Bluetail, Tarsiger cyanurus, a long way from home.|
|Uncropped, 420mm lens!|
"Brambling was here until 10 minutes ago"
"Apparently it's often only seen before 9 or 10 in the morning"
I stuck around in the rain for as long as possible - about forty-five minutes - but no sign of the Brambling. What we did enjoy was a great selection of west coast songbirds: Song Sparrow, Pine Siskin, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, House Finch, Black-capped Chickadee, House Sparrow, and both the Slate-coloured and Oregon subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco. To wrap things up, here are a few shots of those birds....
|"Sooty" Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis|
|"Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis|
|Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia|