Today I took the opportunity to do a little NMT birding. I did a 17km round trip to Columbia Beach from our home in Parksville. My target birds were Ruddy Turnstone and Surfbird, neither of which I managed to see. There was a good number of shorebirds including; 120 Black-bellied Plover, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 10 Killdeer, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 30 Black Oystercatcher and 150+ Black Turnstone. As I was just about to leave a bird flew over me and landed 200 meters down the beach. It turned out to be a Mountain Bluebird. These birds are annual here in spring and fall but are always a joy to see.
Silly o'clock and a drive to Summerset + a 2 1/2 hour watch at Ham Wall RSPB Reserve produced good looks at my first British P ied-billed Grebe. We turned up just after eight and just in time to miss this North American mega by minutes! Little Grebes kept us on our toes but we had to wait it out until about 10:40 am when it appeared from the corner where it had disappeared. There was a nice crowd here, all remaining hopeful and humorous during this very cold vigil. This little beauty made a b-line to open water, affording all great views. Bonus bird at this site was a Great White Egret .