I’ve seen everything (no I haven’t)

It never ends

Date 18 March 2021 | Category Days in Pictures

I’ve been doing this birding thing “officially” since April 2020; by the end of the year it seemed I was running out of new birds to shoot, at least in downtown Vancouver. Though I knew there were other birds out there, they never deigned to show up for my camera, and so I kind of lost hope of ever seeing them.

Things started changing in February. Was it the cold snap, sending birds further afield to eat? Was it the season, shuffling populations around? Was I just paying a little more attention? Was it all of the above? Whatever the case, I saw something new by Lost Lagoon: a dainty little Pacific wren.

Pacific wren
And it’s got hella loud tweets for its size. Thanks for announcing your presence!

A week or so later, I made a new discovery: pine siskins, little seed-eaters equally at home in flowerbeds and up in trees. Before I knew it, I was seeing them everywhere, but most reliably in David Lam Park, where they forage in the trees with house finches. At first I mistook them for female finches, but their beaks are thinner, and their sharp black and yellow wings are very distinctive.

Pine siskin
You’d think I’d have noticed those wings before

Speaking of house finches: I’d only ever seen them in George Wainborn Park, but suddenly I was finding them from David Lam all the way to the West End—right in my streets!

House finch
Or above my streets, as the case may be

Likewise for juncos, which as far as I knew had previously stayed in Stanley Park, Burnaby Lake Park etc, but now merrily foraging under West End hedges. And who knows? Maybe they’ve been there all along too!

Dark-eyed junco

And goldfinches! I had gotten a handful of glimpses over the last year, but could never take a good photo. Here’s a male foraging in David Lam Park with the pine siskins and other finches. In this photo, taken February 26, he was still wearing his relatively drab winter colours. By mid-March the males were starting to change into their much brighter spring / summer suits.

Goldfinch

What I’m saying is, I’m feeling a lot better about the future of my bird photography. There’s always more to discover, and my quest will never end. For example, I keep hearing there are chestnut-backed chickadees around Lost Lagoon. I have never seen them, and that makes me sad! But I’m confident I will someday; and when I do I will be happy.

Another thing I’m confident in is that my photos will keep getting better. Because I’ve had some of my best bird photos in the last few weeks.

Look at this bushtit, all puffed up against the cold!

Bushtit

And this house finch, nomming on a seed!

House finch, male, seed in mouth

And this chickadee, just being adorable!

Chickadee

And this gorgeous female Anna’s hummingbird, not nearly as twitchy as males, it seems!

Female hummingbird

Here’s to a bird-filled spring!

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