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BC Bald Eagles (and rain)

June 2, 2010

I’m back! We just returned from a trip to Vancouver and the Gulf Islands (where it rained for a total of 7 out of 8 days, but such is life, and such are the thrills of West Coast living).

Sadly, I didn’t come back with a case of WN (warbler neck, fyi), but I did return to Toronto with a newfound appreciation for Bald Eagles. We spent four glorious (rainy, yet glorious) days on Denman Island and saw numerous bald eagles up close! In fact, we saw so many of them that I even stopped screaming “LOOK, IT’S A BALD EAGLE!” every time one flew by. Of course, I could have screamed “Haliaeetus leucocephalus” but I’ll be honest — I only looked up the Latin name a few moments ago. By the fourth day, the monumental bird became a mundane occurrence. Well, not quite. I’d call it a subdued thrill. (photo from here; I have yet to download my photos. spoiler alert: my photos are awful, since I never fully grasped where to stand in relation to the light, so enjoy this classy pic.)

We saw the Haliaeetus leucocephalus at rest, in flight, sleeping, eating, nesting, attacking a poor fish (or crab?), contemplating life, staring into space, flirting, cooing, hovering, “singing”, talking to himself, analyzing, engaging in just about any kind of activity (or gerund) you could possibly imagine. We saw it all.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I went on vacation without my binoculars. I suppose this is permissible, since I’m only a somewhat birder, but still. The upside to all of this birding negligence is that I got to practise my naked eye birding, and here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: I recognized much more than a robin! I’m pretty sure I saw a red headed woodpecker, numerous warblers, a spotted towhee (ok, I’m cheating slightly here; this particular towhee was identified to me), a heron of one sort or other. And about a gazillion other birds that weren’t robins, but I didn’t have a name for them. (Much to learn on the naming front.)

I’m now more convinced than ever that the BC Gulf Islands are as close an approximation to paradise as it gets. Especially Denman (well, minus the rain.) Woods, mountains, hiking paths, beaches, amazing coffee (at the Kaffee Klatsch Bistro), delicious multigrain bread from the Denman Island bakery, a lovely bookstore (Abraxas books) and total absence of city sounds.

Meanwhile, I made a very important discovery: BIRD eCARDS! (Thanks to my good friend IBIS). Check out Surfbirds! Now you too can send bird cards to your nearest and dearest! Just one click away. Who knew?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Fireweed permalink
    June 2, 2010 10:31 pm

    Glad you’re back, I was missing your bird updates. Very jealous both of your trip to the Islands and of the rain. We are in midst of drought while the rest of BC turns a verdant green due to fact they are hogging all our much needed rain. Our ducks would like some rain. The eagle are exciting aren’t they – I think bald eagles take SIX years to reach maturity!

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