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Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Visitors - Photo Gallery

My July column in The Flying Shingle, Summer Visitors, is about the birds that come north from Central or South America to breed on Gabriola or that pass through on their way from another northern breeding location. Since the paper publishes only one photo per column (space issues) I thought I'd post photos of all the birds mentioned here. The photos are mine unless credited to another photographer. To read the column, go to:

Turkey vultures can sniff carrion from two miles away!
Photo by Brie McInnes.

Rufous Hummingbirds arrive in March. Many have already started their return migration.

The Varied Thrush song reminds me of a far-off referee's whistle.

Although less striking in appearance than its cousin (above), the song of the Swainson's Thrush
is a beautifully haunting series of ascending notes. Much prettier than a whistle!

Violet-green Swallows nest in the eaves of the FolkLife Village
boardwalk, near the library, every year.

Tree Swallows nest near the water.
Public domain photo. Author unknown. 

American Goldfinch breed when the thistles bloom.
They use the down to line their nests.

They also like sunflower seeds!

Red Crossbills.
Image courtesy Elaine R. Wilson,

Male Black-headed Grosbeak.These birds are one of the few species that eat Monarch butterflies
while wintering in Mexico because they can tolerate their toxins.

Unlike most species, the female Black-headed Grosbeak sings.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, rare in BC.
Photo by Mike's Birds. CC license.
Western Tanager in the front yard last year.

Olive-sided Flycatchers sally out to catch insects on the wing.
This one's song is said to sound like 'Quick! Three beers!'.
Photo by Dominic Sherony. CC license. 

One islander has been enjoying the aerial acrobatics of the Common Nighthawk.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy the birds!!


Pierre Cenerelli said...

Beautiful photos of beautiful birds!!! Varied Thrushes (and their eerie, almost human whistles) are one of my favourite birds... Where I live on Vancouver's North Shore, we know spring or fall have arrived when we start seeing them (they "migrate" from the forests on the nearby mountains). And I would love to see a Black-headed Grosbeak some day.

Anonymous said...

For the Black Headed grosbeak come to Langley/Aldergrove/Fort Langley each summer. They are plenty if you have a bid feeder and sing through the woods at dawn and dusk much like our Canadian Robin's song.