Birds at the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) foraging as the tide comes in at the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area in Crescent Beach, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

greater yellowlegs foraging at blackie spit

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) foraging at Blackie Spit (Purchase)

Earlier this year I visited two areas around Boundary Bay to try to photograph some wildlife. I made several landscape photographs as well, but I brought my 100-400 lens with me this time to try to see if I could photograph shorebirds, Bald Eagles, hawks and harriers, or any other subject I could find. When I visited Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach (Surrey) I found a small flock of Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) foraging in the wetlands of Blackie Spit as the tide came back in. I am not sure exactly what the tasty morsels they were finding were, but they did seem to find quite a bit to eat as they waded back and forth in the shallow water. They certainly don’t sit still and pose for a photograph!

short-eared owl asio flammeus flying at boundary bay

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) flying at Boundary Bay Regional Park (Purchase)

Another species I’ve been trying to photograph for a while along Boundary Bay are the Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) which can often be found hunting in the grass between the dykes and the intertidal zone. They often follow the same looping hunting flight routes, and you can anticipate where they are going to be next. Chasing them up and down the dyke, as I’ve seen birding groups do, is something I’ll charitably label as “counterproductive”. Occasionally you will see them dive down into the grass and then fly away (a miss), but sometimes they disappear and you don’t see them again for a while (meal time).

This Short-eared Owl perched in a tree next to Boundary Bay after a few failed hunting attempts. Soon after it seemed to have a bit of a territorial spat with a passing Northern Harrier. The Harrier moved on and this owl seemed to have a successful hunt on its next lap of the area. While there are not many trees in this kind of habitat along Boundary Bay Regional Park, the scattered tree trunks and driftwood, along with the grass and shrubs in this photo are pretty typical of the habitat here.

short-eared owl Asio flammeus perched at boundary bay

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) Perched in a Tree at Boundary Bay (Purchase)

A few areas along the dyke trail at Boundary Bay Regional Park have thickets of the invasive species Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus). They can be problematic in many ways but small birds such as this White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) can use it for cover, and many eat (and unfortunately distribute) the berries in the summer. This White-crowned Sparrow was with a flock of around 10-20 individuals, but they were quite active at that moment and group photos were a bit chaotic. They aren’t quite as exuberant and curious as Chickadees, but were not apparently bothered by my presence along the trail.

white-crowned sparrow at boundary bay regional park

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) at Boundary Bay (Purchase)

You can view more of my animal and bird photography in theAnimals and Wildlife Gallery.

Random Photos Volume II

I thought I’d share another batch of photographs here that don’t have enough of a story involved justify their own blog post.

Baby Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

baby eastern cottontail sylvilagus floridanus eating hawksbeard stems

Baby Eastern Cottontail (S. floridanus) Eating hawksbeard Flowers (Purchase)

I was testing out a new zoom lens in the backyard and had seen this baby Eastern Cottontail eating Hawkesbeard stems on the lawn. I sat down and waited for it to come back which it did after a few minutes. This was a rather small rabbit – the adults can be approximately 44 cm (17 in) long, but this little one was only about 15 cm (6 in)!

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Blackie Spit Park

Blackie Spit Park (Surrey, BC) is a favourite photography location of mine, and now that I’ll be occasionally photographing more birds I suspect I’ll be there even more. In July I photographed this Heron wading in one of the small canals in the park while searching for small fish and invertebrates. It was looking around a lot, so I was able to make photos of it facing both ways. I also made the photo below with a longer exposure, to try to get it looking both ways at once. I didn’t expect it to work out quite this well, but I like the result. I was also unable to really come to a conclusion as to whether I liked the Heron facing right or left, so I ultimately just published all three photos.

great blue heron foraging in water at blackie spit

Great Blue Heron (A. herodias) foraging at Blackie Spit Park

great blue heron searching for food and looking both ways

Look both ways before you cross the marsh (Purchase)

I also photographed this decorated rock sitting atop a fence post at Blackie Spit. I take it this sort of thing is not rare in the area, but it was the first time I’d seen one. The large yellow flowers next to the post are Fernleaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina).

decorated rock sitting on a post at sunset

Decorative Rock on a Crescent Beach Fence Post (Purchase)

Also at Blackie Spit I photographed this Hawksbeard (Crepis sp.) plant with some seed heads on it that were nicely backlit by late day sunlight. I’ve photographed a number of interesting small plant scenes in this particular meadow – which you can find in my Surrey gallery.

hawksbeard plant with seed heads backlit by sunset

Hawksbeard (Crepis sp.) Seeds at Blackie Spit (Purchase)

Water Lily Reflection

I’ve photographed these pond lily (Nymphaeacea) plants in the backyard before, but this time I was attracted to the reflection from this particular flower. I like finding subjects that are only a few steps from the back door!

water lily flower reflection

Water Lily (Nymphaeacea) Flower Reflection (Purchase)

More of my newer images can be found in my New Images Gallery.

Crescent Beach Pier at Sunset

Tourists and locals watching the sunset (and mountains on Vancouver Island) from the pier at Crescent Beach in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

sunset at crescent beach pier

Taking in the Sunset at Crescent Beach Pier (Purchase)

I recently made an evening trip to Crescent Beach for some photography. I was already in the area and hadn’t photographed the Crescent Beach or Blackie Spit area in several years, and thought I’d check it out again to see what has changed and make a few photos if I could. Places like Crescent Beach are locations I tend to prefer in the “off season” – there is less of a crowd and it feels more like being out in nature than it does otherwise. On this evening, a rare, warm evening in early April, it was much more crowded than I’d anticipated but everything still went well (only a few “yahoos”). I rarely photograph a sunset directly, preferring how that light reflects off of other things, but this sunset worked fairly well with the pier. Crescent Beach’s pier is much smaller than the White Rock Pier but still gives a nice view of Boundary Bay, the North Shore Mountains, and even the mountains on Vancouver Island (which you can see in the background on the above photograph). I think this is the first time I’ve photographed the Crescent Beach Pier itself, though I do have a photo of reflected light underneath it from a few years ago.

learning to sail at crescent beach

Learning to Sail at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

I’ve often photographed the view of Burnaby’s Metrotown area towers from Blackie Spit. They tend to provide a nice background with the North Shore Mountains’ Lions just above. While I was standing under the pier a number of small sailboats from the Surrey Sailing Club passed by with what looked like sailing class. The people in this particular sailboat seemed to be practicing leaning on one side which I think is called “hiking”. This had their sail at a near 45° angle to the water, which was would have seemed strange in this photograph I think. It took them several minutes before they were mostly upright and I made this image.

blackie spit and the golden ears mountains

The Golden Ears and Boundary Bay from Blackie Spit (Purchase)

These last two photographs show my other favourite landscape subject from the Blackie Spit area – the Golden Ears Mountains (Mount Blandshard). The Belt of Venus/Earth’s Shadow was not overly strong on this particular evening, but provides enough color in the northeast sky to make things interesting. The photo above shows a low tide at Blackie Spit. While not evident in this photograph at many times of the year once can see a lot of shorebirds running around in the area. The photograph below shows the Golden Ears as seen from underneath the pier looking northeast after sunset.

sunset golden ears at crescent beach blackie spit

The Golden Ears from Crescent Beach at Sunset (Purchase)

For more photographs of Crescent Beach and other areas in Surrey, BC visit my City of Surrey Gallery.

Winter at Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit

The tidal marsh at Crescent Beach (Blackie Spit) with the skyline of Burnaby and the North Shore Mountains in the background.

skyline of burnaby behind blackie spit and boundary bay from crescent beach

Burnaby Skyline in Winter from Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   New Years Day 2016 was rather chilly at about 1°C, but was a clear and sunny day so I thought it was a good opportunity to photograph Crescent Beach in a different season than I had before. I also assumed that since it was rather cold there would not be many people out on the trails and the paths near the beach. I was very wrong, it was more crowded than I’d normally seen it. I couldn’t argue with the conditions though, I had some nice light at sunset and earlier when I was photographing the shorebirds at Crescent Beach along with this skyline photograph of Burnaby from Blackie Spit. I’ve photographed this view of Burnaby, BC before, but it takes on an extra dimension at sunset with some snow on the mountains. I would like to photograph the tide marsh at Blackie Spit during high tide as well, but found during an earlier day that my favourite vantage point is not accessible at high tide! I do like how the foreground works here without water, and again with the photo of Mount Blandshard below. In the first photo above the mountains are (L to R) Mount Strachan, Unnecessary Mountain, The Lions, Brunswick Mountain, Cobug Peak, Beauty Peak, Dam Mountain, Goat Mountain and Mount Fromme. The ski area on the right is Grouse Mountain.

boulders in the green waters of gold creek at golden ears provincial park

Silhouetted Tree Branches at Blackie Spit (Purchase)

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   One of my favourite spots at Crescent Beach is the Blackie Spit Wildlife Refuge Area. At the entrance to this area there is a sign asking people to keep their dogs out and away from the wildlife. I find that there are often a lot less people in this part of the park. While I was photographing there on New Years Day my main landscape lens died and I started looking for scenes suitable for other lenses. This silhouette from a maze of tree branches stood out, and I made this photograph with my longer 70-200mm lens. Photographs are often stronger when they isolate the most interesting part of a scene, but in this case everything was so chaotic I made a photograph illustrating that apparent disorder. I’ve actually made a number of photographs purposefully of seemingly chaotic scenes, I should make those into a series one day after a shoot some more of them.

belt of venus golden ears from crescent beach

The Golden Ears after sunset at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   This photograph looks northeast from Blackie Spit over the tidal flats, the mouth of the Nicomekl River, and towards Mount Blandshard (the Golden Ears Mountains) and Mount Robbie Reid. I have usually seen the most pronounced Belt of Venus (Earth’s Shadow) effect while up in the mountains, but on this evening the blue to purple band was quite distinct at sea level. I had to make this photograph a number of times to avoid all the flying Canada Geese flocks taking off in the evening. I made another photograph with these Canada Geese in the photograph later on, though I had to experiment with shutter speeds to get the right amount of blur (while keeping them discernible as birds).

waves at crescent beach sunset

Waves at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   As I was walking back to my car I noticed the waves from a passing boat created these fairly evenly space waves on the shore at Blackie Spit. The pilings here are the remains of the Crescent Oyster Company buildings which were built on pilings above the water. The Crescent Oyster Company was bought by a competitor in 1957 after which the buildings were removed, but these pilings remain.

For more photographs of Crescent Beach visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

Blackie Spit Sunset in Crescent Beach

Late evening light from the nature trails at Blackie Spit in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

sunset at blackie spit showing boundary bay and the coast range mountains

Sunset at Crescent Beach’s Blackie Spit (Purchase)

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   Earlier this year I spent a fair bit of time exploring Crescent Beach and photographing the various views to be found there – many of them from Blackie Spit. The majority of these photographs included urban views such as Burnaby and the Northshore Mountains but the area does have a lot more natural scenes as well. I thought I would post this photograph made from Blackie Spit but this time with more of the natural view. There is an old dock or bridge in this scene but I liked that this composition had the lush grasses (or sedges, perhaps) in the foreground along with the mountains in the background. Some warm sunlight at the end of the day helped too.

For more photographs from this area visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.