I didn't go biking by the dyke again today. The weather was gorgeous, so I drove out to Sea Island and to Iona Beach instead. There was too many people and dogs last month when I was there on a weekend. So today was nice with fewer people.
Beautiful sky-watch day.
I came across many snakes sunning today along the trails. My first reptiles of the year! I believe this is a Northwestern Garter Snake (Thamnophis ordinoides) - also seen by Wanderin' Weeta when she was there last week.
On the west end of Sea Island, it was completely covered by Scotch Brooms, an invasive pea shrub, and on each shrub, there were at least two or more snails on it. Wanderin' Weeta wrote an interesting post on Scotch Brooms here.
A beautiful Scotch Broom flower.
Another Northwestern Garter Snake observed. A closer-shot this time.
Then it was time to head to Iona Beach.
Iona Beach is at a corner of Sea Island that it shares with the Vancouver International Airport and the Wastewater Treatment Plant. There are also field for horses and horseback riders. Seeing no cars in both direction, I stopped and took a quick photo of this beautiful animal.
During this time of the year, Blackbirds are one of the most common birds on Iona Beach. This is a female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) and it is quite different from the showy males.
Another resident of the beach is the Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus), the bird species that I was mainly after today.
It is definitely a beautiful bird. I think they are prettier than Red-winged Blackbirds, but that may be because I see Red-winged more often and yellow is my favorite color. To me, their call sounds like a mix between a cow mooing and a cat meowing, which is quite unusual itself.
Yellow-headed Blackbirds are mainly found on the plains of central North America, so this colony here is the only coastal colony found in our province. They were locally rare once when the Wastewater Treatment Plant was being built and their habitat (marsh) was destroyed. But a restoration project took place a few years later and now these birds have returned. What a good story.