Hooded Merganser & Eagle

I was surprised by the number of visitors for a Friday when I arrived at Reifel, but it was a nice day. The breeze was on the cool side, but it was petering out. Unfortunately it was fairly quiet on the birding front.

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

I did find and spend some time with some Hooded Mergansers on one of the inner ponds in some nice light.

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

Managing to get both male and female,

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

… along with the male Hooded Merganser fanning its wings after preening. Towards the end of the day,

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

… this Bald Eagle spent some time in the trees across from the tower providing an opportunity for some¬†photos. The nice thing when they perch here and you are shooting from the top of the tower is the better angle, almost eye level.

Merganser, Eagle, Owl & Heron

Another winter migrant that has been spotted recently is the Common Redpoll. Good numbers were seen the other day at Reifel, so that is where I headed this afternoon. I started off down the east dyke trail, but no sign of them along there. On a diversion to the blind overlooking Ewan Slough and the Alaksen National Wildlife area,

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

… this Hooded Merganser was busy trying to position its catch to swallow it. On the far side of the slough,

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

… this Bald Eagle was basking in the sun on a log in the water. There were also four Pied-billed Grebe around as well, just not close enough for decent photos.

While continuing my search for the Redpoll along the centre dyke trail,

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

… I came across this Barred Owl roosting in a Birch tree. A favourite spot for it of late, just the first time I have managed to see and photograph it here. I ended up spending a fair bit of time here with my camera set up and showing the owl to other visitors.

It was getting late now and I resigned myself to the fact the Redpoll would have to wait for another day. As a consolation though,

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron

… one of the Black-crowned Night-Heron was roosting in the open with the last of the light on my way back to the parking lot.

Mammals, Birds & Reptiles

The afternoon started with some volunteer work at Reifel. A small group helping out to get the newsletter, Marshnotes, ready for mailing. Once this was done, it was time for a walk. While heading out the east dyke trail some movement along the edge of the path caught my eye.

Shrew
Shrew

There was a group of shrews busy foraging in the grass.

Shrew
Shrew

Some appeared to be juveniles and were fairly small.

Shrew
Shrew

To give you an idea how tiny they are, that dark blob in the upper left corner is a fly.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

In the north marsh this Heron was taking time to preen and look after that itchy spot.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

This particular post seems to be a regular roost for the Herons.

The outer ponds had some of the expected shore birds. Least, Semipalmated & Western Sandpipers along with the Dowitchers, Yellowlegs and Killdeer.

Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope

A pleasant surprise were these three Red-necked Phalaropes. Too far off for a decent picture, but nice to see. That makes both Wilson’s & Red-necked Phalaropes seen here in the last couple of weeks.

Another sign fall is coming, I am starting to see more Hooded Mergansers arriving.

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

This one with a small fish in there with the weeds.

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

There was about half a dozen this afternoon in the outer ponds. So that covers the mammals and birds.

Red-eared Slider Turtle
Red-eared Slider Turtle

The reptile for the afternoon was this Red-eared Slider Turtle. While seen regularly around here, they are not native to British Columbia. The population resulting from pets being tuned loose in the wild.