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Reifel Bird Sanctuary - January 27 2013

Posted by birder on Wednesday, January 30, 2013
On Sunday afternoon I headed to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island in Delta, BC. I was hoping for some Northern Saw-whet Owls. When I arrived, the regular Sandhill Cranes were preening by the entrance. Even though these birds are always at the sanctuary (up to 40 induviduals during some times of the winter), I took some photos including this one:

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I proceeded into the sanctuary, and scanned the trees by the entrance for the Black-crowned Night-herons that are usually in them. I spotted two, but they were hidden deep in the tree so I didn't bother taking any photos. There was a Bald Eagle in a tree though, so I took this photo:

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I continued walking and came across many Wood Ducks. I snapped some photos of this pair:

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After photographing the Wood Ducks, I began my Saw-whet Owl search. Ahead on the trail, I saw a man looking at something in the trees. Sure enough, it was a Northern Saw-whet Owl! It wasn't in a good spot for photos, but I took some anyways. I didn't know that I would be getting some great photos and seeing 4 more birds, so I watched the bird for a while and took this photo:

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Not longer after seeing that owl, I was told there was a second in a holly bush. In the holly bush, sure enough, there was a second owl (very hidden though):

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After more walking, I came across this owl, and took the best Saw-whet Owl photos I have taken to this date. This owl was perched in some low hanging branches under a meter above the ground. When I was walking I couldn't see the bird, but I when I went down on my knees the bird was visible.

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More walking yielded a fourth owl:
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I now took a break from the Saw-whets and walked up to the blue viewing tower. In the pond by the tower was this male Northern Pintail as well as many other ducks:

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From the top of the viewing tower I could see 6 swans on the ocean beyond the marsh. Only these two were close enough to ID, and I identified them as Trumpeter Swans:

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Being at the top of the viewing tower also brought me to almost eye level with these four Bald Eagles:

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When I came down from the blue tower and began to walk through the sanctuary again, this Ring-necked Duck showed up:

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Around the Ring-necked Duck were three more Sandhill Cranes, as well as many ducks including these ones:

Hooded Mergansers:

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Northern Pintail:
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Northern Shovelers:
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Bufflehead:
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Lesser Scaup:
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A cool bird to see that I have seen in this area of the sanctuary in the past was this Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrid:

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By all the ducks was this Great Blue Heron. The bird was perched on a log in the water, but then the heron flew over to the path where I took more photos of it before leaving it:

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After birding for a while I came to the entrance and checked for birds around there. One of the Black-crowned Night-herons was awake now and more out in the open:

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A bird I saw by the entrance before heading back deeper into the sanctuary was not the usual American Wigeon, but this female Eurasian Wigeon:

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Back in the sanctuary I went to see the Northern Saw-whet Owls again. While watching one of the owls I turned around and was face-to-face with this juvenile Great Blue Heron. It must of silently walked up to me without me noticing!

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I now saw the fifth Saw-whet Owl I got to see at Reifel on the 27th:

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I had been a great day of birding, with major success on one of the Saw-whet Owls.


Thanks for looking!



 

 

 

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