It was back out to Boundary Bay again this afternoon with the intent to look for the Little Stint and Snowy Plover again. I started off as I usually do heading west from 104 St. along the tidal flats. There were a few groups of Baird’s Sandpiper which I passed on this time. On approaching the pilings I noted a group of birders on the dyke watching something. Rather than flush anything, I made my way in to speak to them. I learned there was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper in close to the dyke and a Red-necked Grebe just out from the pilings. They also let me know the Little Stint had not been seen since this morning. Prior to moving into position for the Buff-breasted,
… I got a picture of the Red-necked Grebe. It is unusual to see one sitting on the mud flats like this. While it seemed alert, it was not moving at all and I could see no obvious signs of injury.
The Buff-breasted was in close to the dyke along with some Baird’s.
It was actively foraging for food along the high water line,
… and as I have found in the past, not adverse to you tagging along.
Providing the occasional distraction were some American Pipits.
After finishing with the Buff-breasted Sandpiper and meeting Dave, who photographed the Little Stint the other day, we headed out to check the plover and peep flocks that had now shown up. No where near the number of peeps as on previous days and unfortunately no Little Stint.
Of note, on my way back the Red-necked Grebe was gone. Hopefully it was alright and moved back out to open water where it belongs.
There have been recent sightings of Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Iona recently, but that is not my preferred spot for photographing shorebirds. So when one was reported yesterday at Boundary Bay, I made my out there this afternoon a couple of hours before the high tide. On starting my walk west along the tidal flats from 104 St. I noticed some activity right away fairly close to the dyke.
Along with Western and Least Sandpipers were some Semipalmated Plovers.
I am used to seeing these little plovers further out on the flats,
… but was certainly not complaining as they were being quite cooperative. While watching the Semipalmated Plovers,
… the main goal for the day was spotted a little further to the west.
The Buff-breasted Sandpiper was moving around a fair bit,
… but did not seem to mind myself and another birder/photographer tagging along. It has been a few years since I have had a chance like this with a Buff-breasted Sandpiper and it provided plenty of great photo ops.
Odd birds out this afternoon,
… was a small group of Sanderling. Not usually a spot I would expect to see them. All this was happening between 104 St. and the pilings, so I did not have to go very far to have a great afternoon photographing these shorebirds.
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.