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Top 3 Bird Photos of 2014 from British Columbia

Posted by Liron on Sunday, January 4, 2015
This was one heck of a year for me birding-wise. I did the most birding I have ever done in one year in BC. This year I birded the Okanagan Valley (133 species on a big day), Metro Vancouver area, Fraser Valley, Coastal Mountains and Manning Park, Southern Vancouver Island (Victoria area), Northern Vancouver Island (Port McNeil area and Malcolm Island), the Southern Gulf Islands, and I spent a total of nearly two weeks of the year cruising in BC waters in the Straight of Georgia, Johnston Straight, Hecate Straight, open ocean around Triangle Island (northern tip of Vancouver Island), open ocean around Haida Gwaii and more! I got 271 species in BC this year, by far a record for me.

On the photography side, this was also one heck of a year. I have never had such a hard to choosing a top three before, but I have settled on these:

Western Sandpiper
During the Summer when I was off school, I frequently visited Boundary Bay to photograph shorebirds. I had an absolute blast doing this, and these trips formed some of my best birding and photography experiences to date! By the later part of the shorebird season I had even begun leading shorebird photography workshops out there. I would bus out to Delta from Vancouver and bike to Boundary Bay and cover the area on bike and on foot, often multiple times a week. During this years shorebird migration I spent nearly 100 hours at the bay and walked and biked at least 290 kilometers during those visits. This shot was one of my favorite shots that I got during the shorebird migration. While common, Western Sandpipers like all almost the shorebirds at the bay are ridiculously hard to photograph and getting close to them takes tons of patience, which is one reason why I wanted to include at least one shorebird shot in my top three.


Pileated Woodpecker nest
I had a real thrill spending time with these birds in June. When I arrived at the location of the nest there were some other people there who said the adults had not come in for nearly an hour, so they were due any minute! Sure enough they came in in a few minutes. Unfortunately the light was horrible, and a couple hours later even though I had seen the parents come in a couple more times the light still was not good. Soon however, the sun went behind a large branch. The light was prefect now, but it would only be for 10 or so minutes. To our luck, both the male and female came in to feed the two baby woodpeckers during this time and we all got great shots! It was an awesome experience watching and photographing these birds.


Sooty Shearwater
During April, I organized a pelagic birding trip to Triangle Island, and Island off the tip of Vancouver Island. This island is a breeding location for literally millions of alcids including 90% of the worlds Cassin's Auklets, more than half a million Tufted Puffins, Common Murres, Storm-petrels, Rhinocerous Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots and BC's only Horned Puffins. It was risky booking this trip becuase the waters around the island are so rough and fog builds so often that less than 1 in 4 birding trips trying to go to Triangle Island have made it there. The group of us on board became some of the few people ever to see this amazing island, as we had a beautiful clear day with only 3 metre swells offshore (the week before they were up to 9 metres!). One of the most numerous birds offshore was the Sooty Shearwater, and I really liked this artistic shot I got of a bird and its reflection. Also, this picture was auctioned off for $500 to raise money for my school! For these reasons this photo is in my top three of 2014.


As I said it was nearly impossible choosing a top three. I narrowed it down to these images with the Bald Eagle in 4th place:

Thanks for looking and I hope we have some great birding in 2015! :)




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