Saturday, June 25, 2016

Google Street View Birding VI: Canada

O Canada!
Birds' Home and Native Land!
Loons, Crossbills, and Doves in all thy bins command!

That doesn't make a lick of goddamn sense, sorry, but it's a great anthem anyway.  Canada is a marvelous place, and millions upon millions of birds make their way up to breed each summer.  Also making their way up in the summer, apparently, is the Google Street View crew, who unwittingly managed to capture a number of those birdies in their jaunts.  And I, during slow moments of my days, have been able to track a few down.

For those interested in previous installments of Google Street View Birding, check here:

OK, back to Canada.  Let's go birding, and start out West.

The West Coast of Canada has a bunch of gulls that I don't usually see out here on the East Coast.  Gulls are great for Street View Birding because they're big, often sit in conspicuous places, and let people and cars get relatively close. Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest have a couple of fairly easy-to-identify gulls that I thought I could find in Street View.

The trouble with gulls is that they hang out by the ocean, i.e. not where Google Street View cars are driving. Thankfully, cars aren't the only way Street View gets images.

I found this gull resting on a dock from which the Street View guy was leaving on a boat trip at the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, south of Vancouver. Not a great view of the head, but a big gull with very light wingtips? Looks like a Glaucous-winged Gull to me. 

Here's another one I found, somewhere in the same park. This one's tougher, because of the light, but it looks darker and with dark wingtips. Maybe? It's possible that it's a Western Gull, but ... I dunno. Hard to say, so I won't call it for sure.

Nearby, the Street View guy straps on a backpack and walks down a big tidal spit. Very cool.  Along the way he or she passes this group of dark shorebirds. Black Oystercatchers! What, ten? We should eBird that!

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