Sunday, May 31, 2009

NMT - May 2009

May 2009
Species list: 25 / Distance travelled: 194 kilometres

            This month started with a 40 kilometre ride to Nanaimo, which added 10 new species including Bullock’s Oriole, House Wren, Osprey and American Bittern. More birds turned up after that, though Lori and I took a little time out to explore the north island. By the 17th I was back on the road with another bird to peddle after. Guy Monty had found a Whimbrel at Nanoose Bay Estuary, which I very much needed, not only for the NMT challenge, but a bird I had yet to see on Vancouver Island. Another hours ride, and after a few frantic moments, I located it. Lori and I did, however, have family commitments that day so I stashed my bike at Guy and Donna’s house and headed into Nanaimo.
            The following day I got up early to drive back to Guy’s place in Nanoose to pick up my bike. En-route I made a detour and stopped in at the Englishman River Estuary to find three Blue-winged Teal feeding in the mud. Ten minutes later, I was at Guy and Donna’s house, I picked up my bike and relayed the news. Guy was out of his chair and heading for his own chariot, as I packed mine in the car. “See you down there." Another ten minute drive home, and then back on the bike. Will the madness ever end? As my ride was a lot shorter from Parksville than Guy’s trek from Nanoose I arrived first. Yep, teal were still there, good. Then I spotted something else. Behind the teal, feeding in the mud was a godwit! Any godwit on the island is a good bird. I quickly put my spotting scope together, focused and wow! I was not expecting this; it was a Hudsonian Godwit! The first confirmed record for this species in the Parksville and Qualicum checklist area! I snapped some record photos but the bird flew. It was a long fifteen minutes until I caught sight of Guy riding down the trail. He looked at the teal, then looked at me, my face obviously told the story. “What did you get?” he chuckled. I showed him the camera. “What!” We spent about three hours searching the estuary without any luck. We did, however, find a Short-billed Dowitcher. Luckily, Guy only had to wait a day to see the godwit; it was fortunately relocated at Rathtrevor Beach.
Hudsonian Godwit