2016 June Crofton and Saltspring Island Birds

GSB_Canada_GBX_1502_160608_SaltspringThe ferry ride to Saltspring often requires a short wait at Crofton where there are often a few Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) trying their luck fishing in the tidal flats. These are great birds to photograph as they are huge (up to 1.4 m tall, with a 2 m wingspan), slow flying, and quite photogenic. This time of year there seems to be quite a lot of immature Blue Herons (distinguished by the lack of plumes at the back of the eyes and on the lower neck) – there are often a half dozen or so Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) on the beach at Crofton as well. Once on Saltspring, Burgoyne Bay is worth a visit. Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada located on southwestern Saltspring Island near Fulford Harbour and facing northwest to Sansum Narrows, which is the channel between Saltspring and Vancouver Island. It is fairly easy to spot a variety of birds in the bay (including a large colony of Great Blue Herons).  I was also lucky enough to watch two Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) diving for fish – they hover above the water, then “tuck” their wings in and dive steeply before catching fish with their feet. I also saw a couple of Turkey Vultures  (Cathartes aura) circling above – apparently they are fairly common near heron colonies where they steal eggs or go after small chicks. In Crofton, I used a handheld 300 mm F4 and in Burgoyne Bay I used the same lens with a 1.4 X teleconverter, but on a tripod – I wasn’t successful in tracking the diving Osprey, and probably needed to use a faster lens (e.g. 400 mm f2.8). A few shots of the day can be seen by clicking this link, or the photo to the left. A quick shoutout to the Saltspring Island Ales company which is located near Burgoyne Bay – for relatively small micro brewery they make an excellent (and award winning) selection of beers, with an increasing amount of organic hops being grown on the Island.