While it was quiet on the visitor front at Reifel this afternoon, there were a couple of interesting birds around. There have been a couple of Sora this week frequenting the northwest marsh across from the tower.
Fortunately for us birders and photographers,
… they have been crossing in the open when moving between patches of reeds.
Sometimes passing right below the new viewing platform on the outside dyke.
At one point the two Sora even got into a bit of spat with each other. The Sora, like the Virginia Rail, are usually fairly secretive sticking to the reeds.
Speaking of Virginia Rail, there was also one of them in the area. Unfortunately it was not quite as cooperative as the Sora had been, but fun to see both at the same time.
In between takes on the Sora, I was also watching a mixed flock of Yellowlegs.
One thing I will try for in situations like this is to get both the Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs together for comparison purposes. On the topic comparisons,
… this mixed flock of Yellowlegs also had a couple of Wilson’s Phalarope.
So the northwest pond/marsh was the place to be this afternoon.
By picking up I mean in spite of the tide being out there were still good numbers and variety of birds out on Boundary Bay this afternoon. I started off along the beach from 104 St. and headed west. The target bird today was Stilt Sandpiper as several have been frequenting the area of the mansion, a large house on the dyke between 88 St. and 96 St.
I got side tracked briefly by some Least Sandpipers, but moved on as I had a ways to go. On reaching the area in front of the mansion there were lots of Lesser Yellowlegs. While watching this one bird foraging it caught a worm,
… which wriggled free,
… resulting in a startled reaction by the Lesser Yellowlegs.
It then recaptured the worm, wandered off and eventually swallowed it.
Then I managed this shot of a Lesser Yellowlegs snoozing in the eelgrass.
Not far away from the sleepy Yellowlegs,
… were some Semipalmated Plovers. Also in with the plovers,
… were some Western Sandpipers.
I continued to scan the Yellowlegs groups as the Stilt will frequently be found with them.
Then when checking one group of Yellowlegs just after I started making my way back,
… was this lone Stilt Sandpiper.
The Stilt Sandpiper also took a brief time out in the middle of the tidal pool. But the nap was short lived,
… as a Peregrine Falcon came in a made several passes at the flocks of shore birds. At least I managed a few shots of my target bird before everything was scattered by the falcon. As I continued my way back I noticed not everything scattered. There was a small peep that had taken cover in a clump of eelgrass.
Waiting a few minutes it eventually came out and I could see it was a Least Sandpiper. Not much after that for some distance,
… until I happened upon a small group of Baird’s Sandpipers. Initially startled by the sound of the shutter,
… it soon settled and carried on foraging along the beach. Then there were good numbers of Lesser Yellowlegs coming in all around me near the pilings, but the Peregrine returned and scared them off once again. The last group encountered,
… was another small flock of Semipalmated Plovers. All in all, a good afternoon. With this number and variety of birds with tide out you can tell things are picking up and hopefully a sign of good things to come.