As expected I just wasn't able to get up early, but I still managed to get to Lighthouse Park which is at the northern tip of the bay the becomes Vancouver Harbour. This was my final shot at Pacific Slope birding, hoping to eke out a couple more species before I had to leave in the afternoon. I probably arrived mid-morning, and it was already busy with walkers but I found a couple of quieter paths and was into birds immediately with Townsend's Warbler high up in the pines, and lower down Hutton's Vireo and Western Tanager, both of which responded to some urgent pishing. I enjoyed a very pleasant few hours here, with Hummers, loads of Spotted Towhee, and various other regular birds.
I had one more stop before I was done, which was the Reifel reserve south of the city, and thus conveniently closer to the airport. I slogged it through downtown and back towards the US border, taking the 17A towards Ladner. It was slow going and I didn't get to the reserve until about two thirty in the afternoon. Predictably for a Sunday it was heaving (it's like a WWT reserve), and was a duoculture of lazy Mallards and Canada Geese. I was here for breeding Sandhill Crane though - wild birds that have decided that life on the reserve is too good to bother migrating. One pair is breeding, and there are half a dozen others that seem to spend the summer. I eventually found them interacting with a group of Japanese tourists, who when they saw my lens gave up on the birds and instead crowded around me. I thought Japan was where they were made?! Once I had batted them all away (including one looking down the lens whilst I was trying to use it....) I had about thirty seconds to grab a few shots and high-tail it to the car as I was now in serious danger of missing the flight. I have to say that the birds didn't feel particularly wild, highlighted by the fact that the most useful lens to have brought with me would have been my 16-35mm, but I managed to find enough space to retreat for a head shot.
Made it to the airport and through security with approximately fifteen minutes to spare before the gate closed, just enough time to buy a new shirt and have a sink shower in the lounge in deference to fellow passengers. It had been an excellent trip, ending on 158 species and various other bits of wildlife. A few misses of course, but not bad for a solo effort with no guided birding and no knowledge of the avifauna of the area. This is of course exactly how I like it!
Jonathan, I always love to read your foreign trip accounts, mainly because it's the sort of birding I can only dream about, but I think this one is the best yet. Some absolutely fantastic birds/photos there. Well done, and thanks for the effort you make to write everything up on your blog.ReplyDelete