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Iona - January 18 2013

Posted by Liron on Monday, January 20, 2014
Yesterday afternoon I went to Iona Island. The main reason I went was to try to track down a bird my biggest nemesis bird of all time: the Canvasback, a duck that has managed to elude my eyes in about 8 years of birding.

I arrived at the ponds and began birding. First up was Peregrine Falcon, perched fairly close to me, posing! It was awesome! I took lots of shots. My only complaint is that the perch the falcon was on is not a natural one, however I am still happy with the photos.

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All of a sudden, the bird took off and took a dive at the ducks in the pond below, and I fired away like crazy. I had been shooting at a shutter speed of 1/640, so I was in no position for flight photos, especially of the fastest animal on the planet! With that in mind, I you can imagine how happy I was when I looked at the images to find that I had gotten clear, sharp photos of the falcon in flight! The falcon was unsuccessful on its hunt and came back to the perch where it had been before.

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I now began scanning through the ducks in the first pond. There were hundreds of them, mainly Northern Pintails, Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teals, Ring-necked Ducks, and Lesser Scaups. Many scaups were flying into the ponds, adding to the number already present:

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I had no luck with any Canvasback in that pond, so I moved on to the next one. Many Great Blue Herons were up on the path (as many as 11 in just a small area of the path!):

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I again scanned through all the ducks in the next pond for a while. Still, no Canvasback, so I went on to the next one. Again no luck. Now I came to the fourth pond, and began scanning. It didn't take long for me to spot a larger white duck in the middle of all the others: a beautiful male Canvasback! It was a lifer (#583), and it felt so so good to see a bird that I have been searching for unsuccessfully for years. His white colouring stood out really well among the other ducks, and if I had known how bold he would be I probably would not have spent so much time scanning through the ducks in the other ponds trying to pick one out. Here are some shots of the bird:

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On my way out, the Peregrine Falcon was still up on its perch:

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It had been a great day of birding! I had finally been successful in finding a huge nemesis, the Canvasback.


While driving out along the Iona Island Causeway, I pulled over because I saw a Red-tailed Hawk with a wing tag. Its tag read "N7":

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I reported this tagged bird, and got lots of info back about her. She was banded as a third year bird at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on 17 November 2013 and was released the next day in Chilliwack, BC, as part of a program to prevent raptors from being struck by aircrafts. This hawk returned almost immediately back to YVR. She has been seen 6 times since on the airport in a relatively small area south of the north runway and west of the new post office. My sighting of her along the Iona Island Causeway was surprise because she hadn't been seen at that location before.

If you see any wing-tagged raptors in southwestern BC or northwestern Washingon, you can report the sighting to Bud Anderson (falconresearch@gmail.com) and Gary Searing (gfs@airportwildlife.ca), who likely tagged the bird that you saw. Include the tag number, date, location (coordinates help), and photos if you have any.



Thanks for looking! :) I hope you enjoyed the photos.



 

 

 

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