December 22, 2017

Walking with the Winter Waterfowl

My Christmas break started a little early and I was very pleased to have glorious weather on my first day off. Since Kathryn was driving for the ferries, I decided to walk down to Granville Island, meet up with her for a ride east, and then have a long wander home. On the way out I had a close look at a Bufflehead, which are a common duck along the coast here but typically as shy as they are small. This male surfaced repeatedly quite close to the seawall and I was able to capture the lovely iridescence on his head better than ever before - typically they look black and white and I had no idea their heads were so colourful.
 This pied-billed grebe has been lurking near some fishing boats in False Creek for most of the winter and I have long wanted to get a few pictures. As I initially searched its territory I became concerned it had moved on, but just as I was giving up it swam around a corner and posed quite obligingly.
 Every year Vancouver gets huge flocks of surf scoters during the fall migration and a handful of them stick around for the winter. With their white-patched heads and big orange bills they are easy to identify and always a pleasing bird to see. This one was quite close to the shore in English Bay and in perfect light to catch its markings and clearly highlight its eye.

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