March 10/2014 Brunswick Point Ladner B.C. Sunny and first sunburn of the winter.
I wasn't until I arrived home Monday evening that I realized I had sunburn. I had been birding all day, so engrossed by all the activity around me I had completely forgot the sunscreen. Sunscreen in March, who would have thought it, eat your hearts out Winnipeg! It was cloudy in the morning but by midday the light was fantastic for photography. Blue skies allowed the use of fast shutter speeds, just enough to catch up with the speedy Prairie Falcon. I had photographed the bird before but I wasn't quite happy with the results.
The first signs of Spring were everywhere. The trees are filing out, buds waiting to explode for the soon to arrive waves of warblers and flycatchers. A Turkey Vulture circled overhead, a pair of Lincoln Sparrows looked to be staking out a nest site, even the Tree Swallows have arrived, what a time to be a birder!
The day began with a trip to 104 St and Hornby in Ladner to see if I could re-locate the Leusistic Red-winged Blackbird (see previous blog) but the bird could not be found. From 104 to 72 I counted forty or so Bald Eagles, six Red-tailed Hawks, and a smattering of Northern Harriers. I couldn't find the Glaucous Gull.
At Tsawwassen kite surfers took up much of the real estate but a small flock of twenty Brant bobbed about on the waves, Common Goldeneye dove for shellfish but the wind made photography difficult. Then on through the Indian reserve and onto Brunswick Point which is where the real fun began.
The first picture in this series came about when I observed what I thought might be a hawk in a hedge. The bird turned out to be the Prairie Falcon. It normally perches high up on poles or trees so to see it so close was quite a surprise. I stopped the car and grabbed my camera. Unfortunately the bird was flushed by a passing pickup but as it flew into the air and away from the tangle of branches I was able to get this clean shot with the blue sky as background. Finally a half decent shot .
|This Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) was hunting songbirds when it was set upon by the Prairie Falcon.|
The Prairie Falcon then flew along over a fallow field chasing a Norther Harrier.
|The Prairie Falcon glides at incredible speeds often snatching prey from other raptors but occasionally catching its own.|
|Red-tailed Hawk N2. Anyone know anything about the markings or who I should report to?|
|Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) was about the only raptor not to be bothered by the Prairie Falcon. I think the bird has the long beak syndrome. Anyone have an opinion.|
At the End of the Day
|Can you see the 'Man in the Moon' The two distinct eyes, a nose and puckered mouth.|
What can I say. Another great day out of the house, not a care in the world except making sure that I didn't get run over by farm traffic. As I mentioned the weather is changing here in B.C.and soon we can all expect a flood of migrants including the sandpipers and warblers. I for one can't wait.