Mrs D and I decided we’d get out of the house no matter what the weather today, and it turned out to be a pretty fine day! We went to the George C. Reifel migratory bird sanctuary in Delta BC. While it’s about 45km from the house we let the GPS navigate our way. Boy did it choose some interesting roads. It was a nice drive for a Sunday. We passed many Bald Eagles and Red Tailed Hawks sitting in the trees and on the power poles as we passed the various cranberry and other farms along the way. It was a nice warm up for what we were about to see when we got to our destination.
At the sanctuary there were a tonne of people, and it WASN’T RAINING. As a matter of fact the sun was out! It wasn’t exactly bright sun, but there was some to be seen.. It brightened up the day! Upon our arrival the gentleman at the front told us about 2 great horned owls up the trail. Mrs D wanted to spend some time with the mallards, and got some good shots. I was itchin’ to get up the trail. I’ve actually NEVER seen a wild owl before. We worked our way along the trail, seeing wood ducks, widgeons, towhees, blackbirds and chickadees. We finally got to the end of the trail, and there they were. Two HUGE owls. COOL!
On top of that we also managed to have someone point out to us a small saw whet owl that was sleeping in the holly nearby! Coool. Two new species almost side by side.
We spent some time feeding the chickadees by hand and generally enjoying all the bird noises around us. It was very relaxing. As we got out toward the southwestward edge of the sanctuary we could see some harrier hawks hunting in the tidal rushes. Obviously lunch was down there somewhere as they were pretty intent on finding it.
On the outside rim, while we were walking, we came across the sandhill cranes. They are big beautiful birds! There were two pairs, and a solo one further down. They were VERY obliging in letting us take all sorts of photos and closeups.
We wandered the grounds for about 2.5 hours and then headed back home.
It was a great outing, and although the buffleheads, scaups and other birds were not in high numbers it was, as always, a fun and educational trip to see the birds!
I have the photo gallery up at: http://www.slacker.ca/brian/webpics/showpix.aspx?20080113Reifel