From Vancouver

The Boundary Bay IBA and Reifel Bird Sanctuary (Ladner) are great places for bird watching, year round.  They are particularly good for ducks and raptors, at this time of year. Without exaggeration, I easily saw more than 100 bald eagles a day, and more than 50 great blue herons a day.  In addition, there were very large numbers of swans (tundra), back-crowned night herons, harriers, as well  as some short-eared owls (Boundary Bay).

Northern harrier

Northern pintail

Wood duck (female) 

Great blue heron

Wood duck (male)

Juvenile bald eagle

Bald eagle 

Ring-necked duck

Northern shoveler

Eurasian wigeon 

Snowy Owls

After many days of snow, followed by freezing rain, it was nice to drive out in the country today, in the sun!  Managed as well to see four snowy owls, including a very white male! Still hoping to manage to photograph them in flight! (Wellington County, Ontario).

Florida Birds

January is a great time for birding in Florida. The following pictures were taken at Merritt Island NWR, Ding Darling, NWR, St. Mark’s NWR, the Corkscrew Sanctuary, the Viera Wetlands and Marco Island.

American bittern

Peregrine falcon attacking bald eagle

American white pelicansWhite ibis

Turkey vultures

(Little) Blue heron

Loggerhead shrike

Painted buntings 

Florida scrub jay

Snowy egret

Reddish egret

Juvenile red-shouldered hawk

Green heron

Blue-grey gnatcatcher

Great crested flycatcher

Anhinga chicks with mother

Burrowing owl

Juvenile bald eagle

Black-crowned night heron 

Nest Building

Over the last week, I have had the opportunity to watch anhingas, great blue herons and bald eagles build or enhance nests. It has been noteworthy that this is a shared activity, but that the female is apparently the “boss” and “accepts” contributions from the male.

Winter Hawks

Winter months are an excellent time to see hawks in both Southern Ontario and Kentucky, where I spend most of the winter.  Most of the North American hawks, tend to be short distance migrators (broad-winged travel further), and many species such as the red-tailed can be found year round.  The rough-legged, seldom seen in the summer is prevalent in the winter.  Today (in Kentucky) was a good day for Cooper’s hawks, red-tailed hawks, northern harriers and red-shouldered hawks.

Cooper’s hawk taken from front door of house

Red-shouldered hawk

Snowy Owls

Yesterday, it was cold and windy (-13 degrees Celsius, but much colder with the wind chill). But the cold weather had given me “cabin fever” so I decided to go looking for birds. It proved to be a good day, with almost 30 species seen, and a snowy owl as well.  I had hoped to catch the owl in flight, but it was content to sit on its post and watch the world go by.  I was finally too cold to stay. and so, I did not manage to catch the owl in flight. Maybe next time!

Another day……another owl. Still did not manage an “in flight” picture. It remained in the tree for more than an hour and it was -20 Celsius.

In the photo above, the owl is coughing up an “owl pellet”.

Looking for Owls

Today I went to my favourite location in Wellington County for finding snowy owls.  I have been very successful in this area in previous years, but this year I have struck out over three trips to the area. I did however see this short-eared owl, which is considered rare for the county.

Short-eared owl

Whooping cranes

This week, I was fortunate to see whooping cranes in three different counties in the Henderson area. The whooping crane is critically endangered and they survive in the wild today due to exceptional work by dedicated people committed to saving this magnificent species.  Sadly, most years,  some of the cranes are shot  in their winter homes (this has happened in Indiana, Kentucky, Texas and Louisiana) while others are killed in collisions with power lines. It is estimated that there are about 100 in the wild in Eastern North America. For more information visit the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (

Whooping crane with snake

Whooping cranes in flight