Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mainland Trip - Part Two: Birds, Ducks, and a Surprise

Red-winged blackbird
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

On my way back from Vancouver, I decided to visit the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary before going to the ferry terminal.  It had been years since I'd last been there, and I'd forgotten how peaceful, beautiful and entertaining it is.  While at first there didn't seem to be a lot of birds in evidence other than ducks and geese, the scenery alone was enough to make the trip worthwhile:

The ducks and geese certainly weren't shy of strangers.  The sanctuary does sell bird seed, but with the camera and gear to carry, I chose not to buy any.  The ducks were not amused.  These two came running to greet me, fully expecting a handout:

Hey, hey lady!
Watcha got for us?

Whew!  We're here!

Hello, camera person....
I'll have my seeds now please.

And the female very nearly turned herself inside out in hopes she would be rewarded.

There, did that impress you?
How about this pretty pose?
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

But alas, even if I had seed to give, these two characters happened to be in a small area where feeding was not permitted.

I showed them the sign, but they feigned ignorance and continued to cosy up to me, showing off their beautiful feathers and their delightfully orange feet.

I'm very handsome,
dontcha think?

And I am just stunning!
Certainly worth a grain or two!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Do you like my orange feet?

I said goodbye to the pair and continued along  the trail.  Most of the geese and ducks were very social, but one pair of geese hissed at me as I moved to sit on a bench.

 I soon saw why.  On the ground near their feet, was a freshly broken, still moist goose egg.  I saw no chick, and wasn't sure (from the remnants of yolk on the egg) whether the egg had been destroyed by another bird or animal in the sanctuary or whether their newly hatched infant was tucked away in the tall grasses somewhere nearby.

I choose a different path, and soon saw and heard many smaller varieties of birds.  Their songs were everywhere, and often it took me a while to spot them in among the leaves and brush and reeds - photographing them was even more difficult as many blended in with their surroundings. But I did capture a few shots:

Little brown bird



The only baby duckling I saw all morning -
swimming all by himself in the middle
of a pond.

The best bird shots, without a doubt, were those of  the red-winged blackbirds. While the ones at home are somewhat elusive and hard to capture on film, these were quite unafraid and enjoyed talking to me in their distinctive, multi-toned clicks and trills and musical cong-ka-reeeee:

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

But the highlight was something completely unexpected - not a bird at all.  At first, I just saw a dark bump on the trail and feared it was a dead duck:

But then it sprang up, alert, and I saw it was a weasel....

who then dove into the brush and pounced back out with his (or her?) dinner:

I stood still on the path as Mr. Weasel tried to decide which way to go - he ran towards me, hesitated as if to dive into the brush, then must have seen the camera and decided he'd like to be a star......because all of a sudden he came running right up to me, just long enough for me to catch this image:

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Mr. Weasel, you made my day.  I'm just sorry Missy Mouse's day was ruined in the making.

All photos copyright Jean Ballard 2014.  Do not use without permission.


Caroline A said...

What a beautiful place to visit! And the pic of handsome Mr. Weasel was breathtaking!

Anonymous said...

That Mama duck is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your trip Jean. Must get out to the Reiffel soon.

Dawn said...

Jean, what an amazing photo of the weasel. Getting the opportunity to take such a photo is only half the battle. You have to have your wits about you to do what is necessary with your camera's settings, etc. Congrats!

Sheryl said...

Great photos!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful peacefully place to visit. You got some incredible shots, especially the one of the weasel with the mouse in it's mouth.
That's a once in a lifetime shot.


Phab Guy said...

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing so generously in all your posts.

Lee-Anne Currie said...

Hi I'm Diane Ronaldson's daughter from Brampton Ont. It gives me such joy to read your blog,mom and I can share where you take your pictures and I can picture mom walking the same area's.I love all the blogs and look forward to more.Thank you for helping a mother and daughter stay connected. Much love Lee-Anne from Brampton Ontario