Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch at Iona

I got up early on Saturday morning (20 Nov) in order to get a head start on the day’s birding but when I looked out the window I found light rain mixed with snow falling upon the street. I went to Iona anyway as the forecast called for clearing skies; I only had to endure fifteen minutes of light snow as I made my way down the south jetty before the weather began to clear. It was freakishly cold on the jetty as Vancouver is in the midst of an arctic front; the low temperature combined with a light breeze quickly numbed my gloved hands. One would certainly not have wanted to lick their tripod.

Luckily my walk out there was worth it. Just before 1000 I found a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch foraging along the grassy edges of the road that runs next to the sewage outflow pipe. It was nearby the 3.0km mark when I first sighted it. Seeds form a large part of this species’ diet and this particular bird was quite adept at stripping what little grass and weeds there are on the jetty of theirs (1). The bird slowly made its way down the jetty as it fed and I followed it until we reached the 3.5km mark; here the bird turned back and I continued to the jetty’s end.

Around Vancouver Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch normally inhabit alpine environments but they may descend to lower elevations in winter; particularly during inclement weather (1). The snowfall on the North Shore Mountains combined with the frigid temperatures may have been enough to force this bird down from its mountain home.

After enjoying some smashing looks at a very handsome Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch I positioned myself at the end of the jetty for a bit of sea watching. There were quite a few birds out there; though most of them were quite distant. A group of three Common Murre was of note as well as good numbers of Red-throated Loon. My walk down the jetty turned out to be quite enjoyable; despite almost freezing to death.


  1. Macdougall-Shackleton, Scott A., Richard E. Johnson and Thomas P. Hahn. 2000. Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

1 Response to “Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch at Iona”

  1. 1 Springman November 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Wonderful shots!
    You would be welcome to contribute and help to begin a new endevour called “World Bird Wednesday” a chance for bird photographers to share and spread word of their blogs to others!
    Visit and check it out!

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