Greater Vancouver, Lower Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, Hope, Lytton, Whistler, Squamish, Powell River, Howe Sound
A few days ago I took a walk out onto the mudflats to see what birds are out there.

Basically, the Shorebirds are now returning south and there were some large flocks of swirling birds. (There was also a Peregrine Falcon, a bird which stimulates flocking ball behaviour.) I wasn't trying to ID all the birds, but to (again) test the Sony RX10-IV. However, I noted some Least Sandpipers (with yellow legs) and some Western Sandpipers (with some nice orange and black feathering). These species will be present for some time.

However, the reason for this post is to note the presence of Semipalmated Plovers. These small Plovers behave differently than the other small migrants. They fly about in small, presumed family, groups. They are much more wary than the above two-mentioned species. And they won't be present for very long. I did hear some large Plovers calling and the small Peeps take their flight cues from the calls of these larger Plovers. Often the larger Plovers are out at the water line and the small Peeps scuttle around them. The Semipalmated Plovers are more often seen closer to the dyke, doing their own thing. So if a Semipalmated Plover is a Lifer for you, now is the time to search one out.
I took a second walk out onto the mudflats on Sunday July 29th. The tide was outgoing and that is not good for photography. When the tide is outgoing the wary Plovers often abruptly decide one's presence is unwanted and fly out to the waterline. If you follow them, they simply fly further out. However, when the tide is incoming. their choices are limited and it is much easier to obtain photos. Alas, the heat limited my tide choice to whatever it was early in the morning.

I did speak to another Birder upon arriving at the mudflats, this time carrying my large lens. He had been there an hour or so and had surveyed the typical hotspots. He said he had spotted a Ruddy Turnstone near 104th and between 72nd and 88th, a Bar-tailed Godwit.

I entered the mudflats at 96th and, being a photographer, wanted the sun behind me as I searched. So I headed west toward The Mansion and 88th Street. On this occasion I saw no Semipalmated Plovers. They are early arrivals and also depart southward early. Most are likely gone.

However, about 1 kilometer out from the dyke and parallel to The Mansion, I finally spotted a flock of Plovers and Peeps (small Sandpipers). I approached slowly with the sun behind me, taking very distant photos. When I was about 100 meters from the flock, they took to the air and flew out to the waterline, about another half kilometer further out. I didn't follow them, but headed shoreward instead.

Later, when I looked at my photos, I found this bird. "Just call me 'Bar'". Very distant photo. A brown dot enlarged.


I expect more Godwits to arrive shortly and possibly additional uncommon birds as well.
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By zwest
I’ve been in the area quite a bit recently as well. Yesterday (July 31) there was a single Semipalmated Plover very close to the dike, where that dense group of pilings is west of 104th. It was in a good place for a photo but I was in a hurry to make it farther west before the tide flooded everything.

I spotted a couple of Caspian Terns closer to the (old) mansion, but had no luck finding the godwit or turnstone.
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