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I was out on the patio again this afternoon - this time for almost an hour before it got just too cold. I managed a couple more for the list.

Not in sharp focus, but I could barely feel my fingers at this point!
ImageRed-breasted Nuthatch (Female) by Jewill on Flickr

The female to go along with the male I posted the other day.
ImageDowny Woodpecker (Female) by Jewill on Flickr

We have the Black-capped Chickadee, so here's it's cousin.
ImageChestnut-backed Chickadee by Jewill on Flickr

And a male flicker to complete the set. This one appears to be an intergrade, with the red nape, and I've been seeing more and more of these lately.
ImageNorther Flicker (Male) by Jewill on Flickr
The bright mid-morning light and positively balmy -1C temperature drew me out for a walk along the river between London's Landing and Gilbert Beach. Quite a lot of activity, birdy and otherwise. The dredging of Steveston Channel is underway, with the shovel barge and crane anchored just off London's Landing pier today. I expect this dredging barge activity to continue for a few weeks as they move around the channel. Many many ducks of all kinds along the river along with quite a few Canada Geese, plus some shorebirds - Greater Yellowlegs, Dunlins, Long Billed Dowitchers, and a couple of Bald Eagles that occasionally herded the ducks around. This post is to provide a better photo of the Long Billed Dowitcher - I had a good 20 minutes with this one, who was snoozing about 5 meters away from me as I crouched down and pretended I was a piece of driftwood.

ImageLong Billed Dowitcher16 Jan16_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr
Had a bit of cabin fever today, and after the chores were done, I saw that it wasn't raining, a bit foggy, so what the heck, let's take a sloppy, slushy, slippery walk along the river to Gilbert Beach here in south Richmond. Lots of ducks, gulls, and quite a few shorebirds moving around. I found a nice wet log to sit on and then stayed still, pretending I was just another piece of driftwood. Had some Killdeers forage within 2 meters of me, along with some Song Sparrows. Then a small golden beige bird flew in, right in front of me - ooooh, an American Pipit! Cool. So we can add the American Pipit to the Challenge list now:

ImageAmerican Pipit05 Jan20_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr

ImageAmerican Pipit06 Jan20_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr
Finally, a break in the monsoons and grey weather. No rain, somewhat bright overcast conditions, and had to get some steps done and shake off some cabin fever. I went out to check out Terra Nova Park in Richmond, and managed to find a couple new birds to add to the Challenge list. First one up - there was a Pied Billed Grebe making a good dent in the Stickleback population of the North Pond. The pond still has a pretty good load of that duckweed that covers the surface.

ImagePied Billed Grebe05 Jan26_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr

ImagePied Billed Grebe09 Jan26_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr
And the ever present Barred Owl (actually a pair of them) hanging out in a tree along Westminster Highway right across from the entrance to the Community Gardens there. A good test of my steadiness - shooting at very low shutter speeds, using a monopod, in a dark, backlit location. Good enough for a record shot, and a typical portrait of an Owl on a Stick:

ImageBarred Owl02 Jan26_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr
In spite of the breathless weather people predicting an atmospheric river with flood warnings, the day dawned fairly bright, even glimmers of sun in the morning. Some errands to be run and then off to Terra Nova Park in Richmond, as the bright overcast with glimmers of bright spots hinted at a rain-free afternoon. Wherever the atmospheric river was, it didn't seem to hit our area. I did have a few minutes with a Brown Creeper gleaning and doing Creeper stuff, but in so-so light, in a shaded area. It was a challenge - a quickly moving bird had me shooting at between 1/400 and 1/500, with ISO's up in the 4000-6400 range. But at least a few record shots were made. Add the Brown Creeper to the Challenge list:

ImageBrown Creeper08 Jan29_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr
I had some errands to run this morning, and all the while watching bright spots appearing from time to time in the overcast (where are those atmospheric rivers anyway?), and by early afternoon I went out to the West Dyke in Richmond. I saw a group of paparazzi up the dyke and started to head over to see what they had cornered, likely a Short Eared Owl (saw two flying as I got to the dyke). Just as I got there, sure enough a Short Eared Owl perched on a log about 50 meters out there, and it started to sprinkle rain. I had enough time to blast off a bunch of low shutter speed photos in hopes of getting a few keepers. I wrapped my camera in a plastic bag and beat feet back to the car, not willing to test how effective Canon's "water resistant construction" was. Anyway, a new bird for the Challenge - a Short Eared Owl:

ImageShort Eared Owl04 Jan30_2024 by GMcD2008, on Flickr
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