Days in Pictures Thoughts about Things

Birding June 8 & 9: when the birbs aren’t biting

Everything around birding

This is coming a bit late, but a weekend tooling around Delta and Pitt Meadows made me think of the joy you can find when you go looking for birbs and they still don’t show up.

June 8, pt. 1: Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Obviously, there’s always something at Reifel. But at this time of year, the pickings are noticeably slimmer. Still, if you’re lucky and keep your eyes open, you can find all kinds of fun stuff.

Close up of a Sandhill Crane, seen in profile. Its translucent eyelid is covering most of its eye
Creepy orange blink
Closeup of the head and neck of a male Wood Duck. He's already lost most of his pretty mullet. His bill is gaping wide open, and a bit of down is clinging to the tip of the lower mandible
Raggedy ducky
A Northern Harrier, with wings spread, is flying directly above. The sky is partly blue, partly white with sparse clouds
The last thing some voles will ever see
A Marsh Wren is clinging to a vertical twig, surrounded by other twigs and greenery. It is singing very loudly
Chitter chitter
A male House Finch is partly hidden within branches and greenery. He has yellow bits of berries all over his beak
Red guy eating red fruit

We ran into a group of people talking about a Bullock’s Oriole, an elusive little bird I’d never seen before. I think we could hear its song but it was way up in a tree out of sight. The staff later mentioned they regularly got a handful of Bullock’s Oriole nests every summer, but that didn’t necessarily translate to actual sightings by visitors. But it was fun to hear about this bird’s history, just one tiny strand of the story that made up Reifel.

June 8, pt. 2: South Arm Marshes

Two separate spots in the same general location, between Ladner and the river: Shirley’s Walk, and the South Arm Marshes Wildlife Management Area. Pretty scenery, but no really special birds. Well, song sparrows and bushtits are of course always special, but none of my shots were great. On the other hand, you gotta try new places, because you never know.

June 8, pt. 3: Performance Works, Granville Island

That evening I did a shift volunteering for the Vancouver Men’s Chorus spring show at Performance Works. Some years Canada goslings hung around the place but, alas! this time there were only a bunch of adults doing boring adult things. But it’s always fun to chat with somebody about birds and bond over a shared interest!

June 9, pt. 1: Sturgeon Slough

On an impulse I decided to go chasing a rarity: a Yellow-breasted Chat, last reported in Pitt Meadows by the river, right on the first bend going north from Highway 7.

I didn’t find it, boo! But the scenery is amazing, yay! And I met a couple of nice folks also chasing the bird, double yay!

Sturgeon Slough, looking east. The water is still, reflecting the blue sky dappled with clouds, and surrounded by greenery. There are mountains in the background.
Mirror-smooth Sturgeon Slough
Sturgeon Slough meeting Pitt River. The water is still, reflecting the blue sky with a few little clouds. There is a tree on the right side, and a low mountain in the background. Everything around the water is green
Sturgeon Slough meeting Pitt River

Also an Osprey!

June 9, pt. 2: Pitt River Bridge

As long as I was in the neighbourhood, I decided to redo an old landscape shot of mine from waaay back in February 2020, one of my earliest with my old A7iii camera. For some reason the only version I have has piddly resolution. But never fear! This photo has all the megapixels you could possibly want!

I really, really like this view. It’s so calm and harmonious, the mountains are rolling in a way that’s just right.

What’s the wisdom to take away from this? I don’t know, how about… if you’re not happy with a shot, you can always go back and try again?

Looking up Pitt River. A wide flat stretch of water surrounded by greenery and hazy blue mountains

June 9, pt. 3: ƛ̓éxətəm Regional Park

Readers, I looked for Lazuli Buntings again, but alas they were nowhere to be seen or heard. On the bright side, I briefly chatted with another birder by the community gardens, so that was a nice time.

June 9, pt. 4: Cross & Crow Books on Commercial Drive

I think I may have recruited someone to the Vancouver Queer Birders group! I love it when that happens.

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