British Columbia birder and photographer Dave Kemp reports that many migrating bird species are arriving in the lower mainland two months earlier than normal. He sent along several great photos of some of the early-birds a couple of days ago and I am very pleased to show some in this spot. I'll blog some more of his pictures over the next day or so and hope readers enjoy them as much as I do. I'm especially fond of the photo above of a male Hooded Merganser. This duck has a splendid profile when it raises its unmistakable crowning crest and rises up out of the water, wings spread, and often with its tail cocked up at an angle. Immediately below, a male Northern Shoveller, with a open bill longer than its head, gives a glimpse of the comb-like teeth along the sides of its long, expanded beak. It eats tiny aquatic animals by straining water through those teeth.
Immediately above are a male and female Eurasian Widgeon which are still fairly uncommon visitors to North American but occurring on the east and west coasts. Below is a Black Oystercatcher, one of two species which breed in North America, with the 'Black' usually along the Pacific seacoast.
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