Although it is only Wednesday, it feels like it has been a very long week already! That’s why last night I decided to go to Robert’s Bank in Ladner to watch the sunset and clear my head. I also hoped the dunlins (little shorebirds that often fly in a huge rhythmic flock at sunset) would put on a show for me. I have seen photos of the flocks of dunlins, and they are true art. I had a pretty good idea where they would be, so I set out with my camera and tripod.

One of the neat things about going to slightly out of the way places is how friendly the other folks you run into can be. There was a man with his tripod and camera set up, spending time appreciating a heron who was perched on a piling, he smiled, waved, and carried on. There were a few people out walking their dogs, they let their dogs stop for a visit, and chatted themselves for a few minutes. Everyone acknowledged each other’s presence, that’s not something that happens in my day to day travels, so it’s special when it does.

I found the spot where the 1000s of dunlins were gathered on a sandbar just off shore. They are hard to see, until a small portion of the flock disturbs, but they are easy to hear! They are pretty loud!

I set up my camera and waited. While I waited the almost full moon rose,

I don’t think this is quite a full moon, but it was nice to watch while I waited for sunset!

and the sun began to set.

Evening on the delta1
I think the sky is so interesting when there are light wispy clouds at sunset.

As the sun lowered in the sky the dunlins became very active. They grew louder, and as time passed, they did take to the air. Unfortunately, they took to the air in disorganized batches of a few hundred or so, not in the flying ballet I was hoping for! In small groups the majority of them flew away over about a 20 minute period. With one group, a heron joined the flight.

Evening on the delta
Not quite the display I was looking for, but a great representation of evening on the delta, nonetheless.

Once the majority of the dunlins were gone, I packed up my gear and started back down the trail. Even the walk back was nice, and although I didn’t get “the shot” of the dunlins, I did get a shot of these two lovebirds, so all was not lost!

Sunset trail
The sky really was on fire last night. Great reds and oranges. Combine that with the hazy mountains in the background, and it’s quite surreal.

What’s Not to Love about Spring?

Today I awoke to a sunny Sunday. After a busy week, and just as busy weekend full of errands, socializing, and even some fantastic theatre last night, I was ready for a more peaceful approach to the day today.

I gathered my camera gear and some snacks and headed down to the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary. I have mentioned before, it’s best to get there early, when it’s just me, the birds, and a bunch of guys dressed in camouflage with extraordinarily large and expensive lenses. If you dawdle, the quiet paths fill with strollers, screaming kids, and hissing geese demanding free lunch, and some of the magic is lost. Not all, but some. You can still make your way out to the lagoons that are less “stroller friendly” and reclaim the quiet.

This morning was my first time there in about a month, and the difference was remarkable. Aside from the leaves and all the new growth, the geese were nesting, the birds were moulting, and everything was bustling around building nests.

Canada goose
The goose kept a close eye on me as I passed by it’s carefully chosen spot. I liked the lines with the thick reeds in the shot.

There are nesting geese everywhere, they don’t seem to be too choosy about where they set up shop. I can’t wait for all the fuzzy little goslings to emerge!

The swallows were working hard at building nests, some in the provided little nesting boxes that are all around the sanctuary, but also in all the typical places you would expect swallows to nest, under ledges and overhangs.

I really love the tree swallows, with their iridescent blue feathers. On a sunny day they are sort of striking, for such a little common bird.

This tree swallow took a break from fussing around a nesting box, to pose in the sun for me!

Not being a birder, I often have no idea what type of bird I’m looking at. That was the case with this fluffy little fellow, who on closer inspection looks like he is moulting. He was certainly all puffed up about something!

Moulting must be serious business, this guy looks a little stern, fluffy, but stern!

All in all, it was nice to get out and be reminded of the renewal that is going on all around us right now. I hope you can get out and have an appreciation moment of your own!