Images from Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

heron in water, fall colors behind

With fall migration well under way we are seeing a lot of feathered visitors to the area. I went out three times in the last couple of weeks to Reifel bird sanctuary, on the coast just south of the city of Vancouver, BC. The first visit, the sanctuary was crawling with shorebirds, mostly Greater Yellowlegs and Dowitchers, more than 30 Sandhill cranes, and off in the distance, feeding along the intertidal flats, were the first tens of thousands of Snow geese who had flown in from Wrangel Island in the Siberian arctic. I’ll be featuring snow geese images in a future post.

On the second visit, there were not quite as many Snow geese, tho still a huge number, and a large number of them were resting in one of the fields just outside the sanctuary perimeter. The ground was white with geese. I was excited because I spotted a lone white headed, dark goose among the masses…at one time called a Blue Goose, but now known to be a Snow goose with one different color gene. Like the adult white geese, they have pink legs and bills, vs the grey legs and bills of the dark juveniles, so they can be definitively identified as the blue version. Since these blue colored geese are not common (I presume it is a recessive gene ie, needs two alleles to express the gene) I was pumped that I had spotted one among so many white geese. In the sanctuary proper a fair number of Northern Shoveler ducks had arrived…I love watching them, with their wide, goofy bills attached to birds that are really quite similar in appearance and color to Mallard ducks, tho somewhat smaller. Lots of Mallards, as usual, of course and the Pintail duck numbers had increased quite a lot too. The Yellowlegs had presumably moved on as their numbers were considerably lower than the week before.

Then last week when I arrived, the field outside the sanctuary had a mass of Snow geese, but smaller numbers and very fidgety…perhaps with cause as there was a hunter with two dogs walking along the road nearby. I have to say, I find it quite unsportsmanlike to hunt birds across the road from a migratory bird sanctuary… It was interesting to find that a much greater number of geese, great hordes in fact,Β  were hunkered down in three largeΒ  fields -inside- the sanctuary, along with a relatively small flock of white fronted geese and two relatively small flocks of Canada geese, and there were Mallards in enormous numbers -everywhere- at that end of the sanctuary. There is a slough that parallels the entry road into the sanctuary, I guess it’s about a half mile? and it was wall to wall ducks, mostly mallards. And more of them in the fields with the geese, too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many mallards in one place before. The Dowitchers were still hanging around, a handful of the cranes too, probably the mostly-resident ones. The American Widgeons have started to arrive, a few green-winged Teal, things are heating up. A Sawhet owl had been reported several times, but I failed to locate it. They are hard to spot, considering they’re the size of a tennis ball it’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack… Lots of herons this time, but too far off for most of them with my 250mm lens. But at the end of the day, I came across one perched above the trail in a pine tree. I brought home a considerable number of images of this bird, but altho I waited for nearly an hour for it to lift off and give me a great in flight image, it didn’t happen and I had to leave because the sanctuary gates were about to be locked…


22 thoughts on “Images from Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

  1. Hi Katrina – a few days ago we had a discussion about the ‘how to’ of your art treatment. You asked about what I use for editing and offered to make a couple of suggestions… I am coming back to haunt you now! Being a beginner to photo editing, I am simply using Elements 9. Still learning heaps and have yet to explore everything it can do, but lately I have been wondering about whether to upgrade to a later version or move to Lightroom. I use PSE9 for basic editing and cataloguing. Any thoughts or suggestions? Re the app, I have SketchGuru on my iphone – funny enough I never thought about using this for applying artistic effects on photos as part of my workflow… I used it for quilt designs ideas! Thanks again for your thoughtful comments. Chris


      • Oops, sorry Chris, getting back to this later than intended. The quick answer to this would be – IMO as a Lightroom 5.6 and Elements 10 user – to keep using Elements 9 and add LR5 unless you have a generous budget. I’ve considered upgrading to more recent Elements and don’t feel there’s anything in the more recent versions to really warrant moving up. I say that as a user of the most up to date version of Lightroom, which I love and which I use not just to catalogue my images, but also pretty much all of my basic editing. I used Elements to catalogue my images for a very brief period before buying LR, and felt I preferred the LR system. I don’t remember why, and because I’d used Elements for so short a time at that point I may not have had a realistic reason for my preference. LR requires full control over where my images are, some people don’t like that thinking they have no control over their stuff, but that’s not the case. I just tell LR what to do with the images from within LR, where to put them, etc., and LR takes care of it.

        LR5’s basic editing capabilities I am told are at least as good as PS CS6 and infinitely better IMO than Elements 9 or 10 (can’t speak for PSE 11-13). It has some more advanced editing abilities too such as content aware adjustment brush and cloning tools and others. Well worth looking into.

        What LR5 doesn’t have is Layers, masking, blend modes, filters, etc. That’s what I use Elements for, and LR5 and Elements interact very nicely and neatly.

        Before I get into plug-ins and apps, what operating system are you using, OS X or Windows? Version?

        And yes, mobile apps for artistic effects can be a very affordable option. I have several on my iPad. Some of them will spit out high res images, some not, but since I tend to use them only as effects, such as overlays or textures, the absence of hi res in some of the apps isn’t an issue. I send an image from my desktop to my iPad, pull it into one of the apps, apply whatever, spit it out and transfer it back to my desktop. It’s a bit of a pain but I’m on a tight budget, and the painting software I would like for my desktop is way beyond my finances! Plus some of those apps are awesome!!

        Okay, let me know what OS you’re using and I’ll do Part 2. πŸ™‚


      • Thanks for that Katrina. I use win 7. Funny, I thought LR would have been on top of layers and masks… What is the latest version number? We’ll keep looking into this. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Chris


      • I run a Mac, and the latest is LR5.6. LR6 is supposed to be coming out in the spring. I believe LR started out primarily as image management software with editing on the side, tho I could be mistaken. The editing part has really become a lot more sophisticated now, but unfortunately layers and masks aren’t included. Having said that, LR does preserve layers that are imported from PS and PSE, you just can’t work on them in LR. But you can re-export from LR and edit the layered file in PSE again and everything is still intact and accessible.


    • At this time of year it is, Nick. Especially if one has a long lens, I only have a 250mm, which isn’t long enough much of the time.But I still like to get out there and see what I can get. Some of the Sandhills are pretty cooperative, the mallards of course always are, and from time to time one of the herons will allow me to get close enough.
      Thanks for the kind comments. I like the heron too. πŸ™‚


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