It was back out to Boundary Bay for the rising tide this afternoon. As I headed west along the beach from 104 St, there was not much around except for a couple of Peregrine Falcons. Not a good omen when you shore birding.
About half way to the pilings one of them landed on the beach for s short spell. On reaching the pilings it was quiet except for a few Least Sandpipers. Continuing west to 96 St. out on the mud flats,
… there were some Semipalmated Plovers. Then I noticed there were several shore birds hunkered down and hiding in the vegetation.
It was a mixed group of Pectoral Sandpiper,
… Semipalmated Sandpiper,
… Western Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper. At this point I decided to focus on the Semipalmated Sandpiper.
The next photo opportunity was back towards the pilings again,
… where the Semipalmated was mixed in with some Least Sandpipers.
At one point I managed to get a Least and Semipalmated Sandpiper together.
The Semipalmated Sandpiper being fewer in numbers can be challenging to get at times. I was pretty happy with todays results.
Once back up on the dyke the falcons were still keeping the flocks on the move.
Then something quite extraordinary occurred. Six Peregrine Falcons and a Northern Harrier were hunting a lone shore bird singled out of the flock and the victor was the Harrier. Here you can see it on the beach with the prey and four of the falcons still circling. At this point I met up with some fellow birders who had also marvelled at what had just transpired. Then to top the afternoon off,
… we met another group that had just found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. It was flushed by one of the Peregrine before I could attempt to get closer. I tried relocating it without success, but still a great end to another wonderful day on the bay.
Despite the lack of activity of late, I was back out at Boundary Bay a couple of hours before the high tide. The shoreline and tidal pools were quiet once again, but realizing this might be the case, there was a “Plan B”. This involved scanning some of the dryer areas further out for a shore bird that prefers these conditions, the Semipalmated Plover. It was not long before I located a small flock about 200m out from the pilings. As they were the only game in town, so to speak, I took my time approaching. The final 20m of the approach was down on my knees slowly moving the camera on the tripod in front of me. It took a little time, but was worth it as I managed to get fairly close without spooking the birds.
After all that the first photo was not of a plover, but a Western Sandpiper with them.
Then the Semipalmated Plovers started to work their way in front of me.
I tried to position myself in the middle of the group,
… hoping to improve my chances of getting multiple birds going by.
Once in this close,
… you want to keep your movement to a minimum.
At times they would move away, but then come back towards me again.
Then the Western Sandpiper trekked by once more.
Both the Semipalmated Plover and Western Sandpiper are fairly small,
… so being able to get this close certainly helps to get better photos. It was just shy of an hour I spent with these birds. I think that qualifies “Plan B” as a success.