Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday, May 13th- Part Deux- Tsawwassen

So here I am almost a week later, with my map in front of me to ensure correct spelling of that "T" place, grrrrrrrrrr.

So.. after an hour at the Fen, I carried on to the ferry jetty at the above place, in search of those Black Oystercatchers, and initially I feared I was fubarred as this is what greeted me:

MEN IN HIP/CHESTWADERS WITH BIG NETS, possible scaring away my Target Bird, noooooooooo!!! Well, in fact, that was not the case, these guys were "crabbin'", or at least that's the response this burly fellow gave me. Dungeness Crab is what's going to be on their dinner tables tonight, and I suspect their presence when the tide is at this level is what allowed me to get as close as I did with my first Black Oystercatcher, thank you guys:

This stocky shorebird uses its bill to probe sand for worms and crabs (hey, just follow the guys in the waders, for crying out loud!!), as well as to hammer mollusks from rocks and break their shells. From the behaviour I observed for the better part of two hours (and 650 photos later), this one was doing the former. Until he got an itch:


Eventually, he moved into the "bad lighting" area, so I was quite dismayed, and even moreso when I heard this raucous bird flying in and then landing right behind me. I turned to snarl at it (kidding) and discovered it was a second Black Oystercatcher, in the "good lighting" area. The eye is yellow with a red surround, soooo striking against its black plumage and soft pink legs.

This is a view of the south side of the ferry jetty, which can be quite busy traffic-wise once the ferry from Vancouver Island arrives. I'm such a bonehead that at first I was hobbling along on the rocks on the beach, then looked up to see a dog-walker on this paved section on the right-hand side of the photo, so I tried to act casual, and moved up there to continue walking. Scanning the shoreline with my binos, though, I spied the first Oystercatcher, so I had to, I kid you not, crawl back over the driftwood you see here without killing myself to get myself back down to where my target bird was. It was worth it.

The other interesting part was once I was down on the beach/rocks/water with the bird, I was hearing this steady seeping noise of water from between and under the rocks I was standing on. Now being from back East and totally ignorant of these things, I was starting to wonder if there was going to be this Bay of Fundy thing with the tide that was going to end up sucking me into a vortex of kelp and who-knows-what-else, but I stayed the course (in other words, kept an eye on those crabbin' guys to see when they moved inland) and lived to tell the tale!

Eventually I decided to check the other side of the jetty for fun, so dodging my way through ferry traffic (my second bonehead move for the day), this is what greeted me, Ann:
In my research I knew there was a Great Blue Heron colony nearby, and planned to check it, but there were so many of them here, constantly flying in and out, this was probably the largest congregation I've ever seen of them. Also good for the Bald Eagles too, as entertainment to dive-bomb them:
Here's one of the Great Blue Herons coming in for a landing, beautiful!
Also found this guy on the same side of the jetty, along with a second one, so my final total for the day was four Black Oystercatchers (I would have been thrilled with ONE!):
As I left the jetty for the GBH colony, I saw this sight below.
I stopped counting at sixty.
I decided to NOT go to the colony as I figured no one would be home!

End of Part Deux!


Alison said...

What an extraordinary looking bird but how wonderful to find them at last and get so many good shots. Well done, yet again! You must be the envy of your birding chums! I'll be sorry to lose the BC postings but look forward to the cottage ones in due course. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us all.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you caught some Black Oystercatchers before you had to head back to Ontario! Beautiful pictures!