Merlin Chasing Sandpipers

August 23rd, 2014
Merlin chasing a flock of Western Sandpipers

A Merlin flushing a flock of Western Sandpipers at Iona inner pond. Yes, he did get one for lunch.

Second day at Iona

November 4th, 2010

A pair of Hooded Mergansers in a channel on the way to Iona

Some days you can walk the Iona south Jetty to the end and back, and although you’re almost in the middle of the sea, just like one of the ducks – the other birds keep their distance. And I haven’t yielded yet to some birds’ demand that I should carry a scope.

Only a few Surf Scoters, Horned Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers were close by. Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs? I should have seen them right on the jetty with me! They were saving their grace for more experienced birders.

Things picked up once I descended the jetty. A Northern Shrike skewered the birdless gloom, closely followed by a magnificent Western Meadowlark. Both species were in the immediate vicinity of the single building at the center of Iona Island Regional Park.

I went to the ponds. There I was dazzled by the shear number of Northern Shovelers, males now in breeding plumage. When I returned from the ponds I was granted a second look at Shrike and Meadowlark, this time finding that there were at least four Western Meadowlarks around. The Meadowlarks made soft calls. The Shrike was singing a little; always perching on conspicuous branch tips in order not to miss a photo opportunity. He was my 150th bird.

Northern Shrike

A day in Iona

October 2nd, 2010

Epic day. Took my bicycle on the skytrain to the airport and from there – a ride to Iona Island – where I spent the rest of the day (8 hours).

Walked about half the jetty. Blue sea on four sides below, blue sky above.

A Peregrine Falcon gave me and a few other passersby a good show on the jetty, sitting and having a bird for lunch.

Dozens of Surf Scoters in breeding plumage, some in very close range.

I was surprised by a female Varied Thrush on the middle of the jetty. Hope she’ll find her way to some trees soon.

Had a nice view of a couple of Caspian Terns, a lone Snow Goose flying overhead and four Ring-necked Ducks.