Stilt, Wilson’s & Pectoral

After the morning showers I headed out to the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. On starting down the east dyke trail I noticed several warblers. Unfortunately they were staying in the tree tops. An unidentified fly catcher also remained elusive amongst the branches. Near the end of the trail I came across half a dozen Brown Creepers.

Brown Creeper
Brown Creeper

They were working the trees on both sides of the trail. These little guys can be tough to get as they forage for insects while moving up the tree trunks.

Brown Creeper
Brown Creeper

At least with that many in the area I had a chance for a couple of shots.

After checking the inside trails and still not finding any cooperative warblers I headed to the outer ponds. I was not expecting to find much as the tide was out and there likely would not be much around. While scanning a few of the usual peeps, Dowitchers and Lesser Yellowlegs I noticed something different.

Stilt Sandpiper & Lesser Yellowlegs
Stilt Sandpiper & Lesser Yellowlegs

It was a Stilt Sandpiper.

Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper

I followed it along and waited for it to come in a little closer.

Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper

This is the first Stilt Sandpiper I have seen with this fall’s migration.

Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper

Seen every year, they are not as common as some of the other Sandpipers. While watching the Stilt, something else caught my eye,

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson's Phalarope

… a Wilson’s Phalarope.

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson's Phalarope

Another good shore bird to see considering I was not expecting much here. After these pleasant surprises and a brief break I headed out to Boundary Bay. The bird I was wanting to get there were Pectoral Sandpipers.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

While walking along the beach I located one small group.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

They were a little wary at first,

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

… but I took my time moving in and they soon settled and continued foraging.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

I have found that Pectoral Sandpipers are fairly approachable. And then poof,

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

… they were gone thanks to the Peregrine Falcon. It looks like the only it manage to get so far was some seaweed.

While trudging back along the beach I came across the bonus bird of the day.

Horned Lark
Horned Lark

A Horned Lark.

Horned Lark
Horned Lark

I think this is the first time I have seen one in this area of Boundary Bay.

Horned Lark
Horned Lark

A nice find to end the day, but why did it have to pick a piece of styrofoam to perch on?

Sandpipers & Falcon

Late this afternoon I headed out to Boundary Bay for the high tide. I was a little late as when I arrived the tide was already up to the dyke. Then I was greeted by a group of birders already there who promptly joked how I could turn around and go home as there was nothing there. Not exactly the way you want to start. We chatted briefly and some left to check out other areas.

I decided to stick around and headed west along the dyke. Only a few minutes in to my walk I noticed something brown in amongst the Ring-billed Gulls.

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

It was a Whimbrel. I had seen one fly by about three weeks ago, but it did not land. This was a good start considering nothing was around earlier. While watching and waiting to see if the Whimbrel would move in to a better spot,

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

… a Peregrine Falcon swooped in and flushed everything including the gulls. So much for a better shot of the Whimbrel.

Further along the dyke I noticed a few different species of sandpipers around the old pilings. I slowly worked my way down to the beach and set up.

Baird's Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper

The first to wander in fairly close was a Baird’s Sandpiper.

Baird's Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper

These were the first Baird’s I have seen this season.

Baird's Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper

And so far, so good with the birds not being to concerned with my being there.

Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper

Next up in this group were some Least Sandpipers.

Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper

They have been frequenting the bay for awhile now.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

Another first for this season in this mixed group were some Pectoral Sandpipers.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

They were also quite cooperative and unconcerned with me.

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone

The bonus birds,

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone

… were three Ruddy Turnstones.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

While watching the Turnstones, this Pectoral Sandpiper wandered by in front of me.

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone

Then it was back to the Turnstones,

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone

… for a couple more shots. It was nice being a little closer to them than last week. This was turning into a good afternoon when,

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

… the Peregrine Falcon made another pass along the dyke flushing everything again.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

At least I managed a couple of flight shots. After this I started back as some plovers were starting to land in that area. I met up with a couple of other birders still around and we managed to spot a Godwit amongst the plovers, but it far too distant for any photos. While continuing to scan the beach area I saw the Whimbrel fly by and land back in the area I had just left. Wanting to try for some better shots of it I headed back.

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

Once again it started off amongst some Ring-billed Gulls,

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

But soon moved off on its own,

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

… while foraging along the beach.

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

It was a little leery of me,

Whimbrel
Whimbrel

… but did not mind providing I did not push the boundaries. This is something you have to watch and get a feel for with each bird.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

While taking these last shots of the Whilbrel I wandered right into to some more Pecs.

Pectoral Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper

The light was fading now and it was time to head back. Considering initial indications were that nothing was around, it turned into a great afternoon and fairly lengthy post.

Peregrine & Mink

I started off this morning at Reifel. On entering the sanctuary I could see there was something roosting in the usual raptor snag.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

This Peregrine Falcon was scanning the nearby ponds in some nice morning light. I mention the light as there was not much else going and I happened across what was likely the same bird in the same tree on my way out just before noon.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

This time it was stretching and fanning its wings. Some great action to catch, but as you can see the light is all wrong. The sun is above and behind the Falcon. The other reason for bringing this up was another couple present at the time. He was carrying a tripod and wearing a back-pack with his camera gear inside. While I was catching the action, he was scrambling for his gear.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

I could hear the mumbling while he was still fumbling with his camera that never made it on to the tripod and the Falcon flew off. The point, or question being, why would you be in a target rich environment with your camera gear packed up? Opportunities like this can be hard to come by and are fleeting moments at best. You have to have your gear ready. Now if only this bird had done that first thing this morning with the nice light.

I then headed home briefly for a bite to eat and then returned to the sanctuary to help out on the trails for the remainder of the afternoon. Not much had changed on the bird front, but while checking the shore birds on the outer ponds a mink scampered out on to the trail, saw me and went back into the bushes. I backed off a little and waited.

Mink
Mink

It was not long before it emerged back on to the trail.

 

Mink
Mink

This time it did not seem to mind my being there,

Mink
Mink

… and actually started sauntering toward me. That was until some other people came along the trail and it disappeared again. It was nice this one was relatively dry and fluffy, not dripping wet or swimming which is how I usually see them.