When retirement made the leisure time available for us to visit and enjoy the natural beauty spots around the lower mainland, we soon found that birds were attracting a lot of our attention. We also found many experienced birders who were more than happy to generously share their enthusiasm and knowledge with us. Photography followed naturally. It provided a record of what we’d seen and, importantly, a means of pestering those experienced birders with questions like “Can you help us identify this one, please?”
Digital cameras came along about that time, and we’ve used a series of Canon DSLR’s, from the 20D to the 7D. All the photos shown below were taken with one of those cameras and a Canon 100 mm – 400 mm f4.5 – 5.6 lens.
These photos were all taken either at Burnaby Lake or Colony Farm Regional Park. Those are the locations we’ve come to visit most frequently, both because of the variety of birds we find and because the parks are a great pleasure to visit.
These Sandhill Cranes told us they were coming long before we saw them fly over at Piper Spit, Burnaby Lake.
The Belted Kingfisher also often announces its arrival. This one hovered over the boardwalk at Piper Spit, searching for prey.
Other birds seem to value their privacy. Virginia Rails can be quite noisy, but this one was silent as it came into view for just a few seconds, also at Piper Spit.
This Sora seemed unbothered by us, but usually we could only guess at its presence when reeds and grasses moved in the pond at Colony Farm.
Even familiar species take on a new interest when they’re nesting or raising young. This Killdeer was nesting in gravel near the Freeway Trail at Burnaby Lake, only a few metres from noisy traffic.
Courting behaviour is also interesting. These Cinnamon Teals were at Piper Spit one April.
Feeding behaviour can be difficult to capture, but this Great Blue Heron at Colony Farm was very cooperative. The prey is a Brown Bullhead catfish (a non-native species introduced from eastern America, now locally abundant).
We came across this Northern Saw-Whet Owl on the Conifer Loop Trail at Burnaby Lake. It had its next meal, an unfortunate mouse, held tightly in its claws.
It’s always exciting to find and photograph birds not usually seen at our favourite parks. This Indigo Bunting was at Colony Farm in 2007, and we thought it might have mated with a Lazuli Bunting there.
These White-winged Crossbills and a flock of their friends were a rare sight having a winter feast on the trail leading to Cariboo Dam.
This photo shows a good comparison between the frequently seen Greenwinged Teal and the seldom seen (at Burnaby Lake) Common or Eurasian Teal.
There were seven Greater White Fronted Geese at Piper Spit on the day we took this picture, the only time we’ve seen that many there.
Sometimes we’ll take a picture of a familiar species just because it poses nicely for us, like this Fox Sparrow, seen at Piper Spit.
And sometimes we’ll take a picture just because it’s fun. This one’s at Colony Farm.