Monday, January 11, 2010

Nanaimo River Estuary

American Tree Sparrow
Today has been a good day! Luckily Lori took the kids to get a hair cut in Nanaimo and dropped me off at the Nanaimo River Estuary. I was very glad to be out and looking forward to  relocating two sparrows found by Jon Carter recently. I arrived at the estuary at about 10:00am and made my way down the hedgerow. A Bewick's Wren scolded me as I made my way along then a Northern Shrike flew from its perch, flying high across the estuary. About half way down  I bumped into a few Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows. Eventually I located a Dark-eyed Junco flock of about 40 birds, mixed in with them were Song Sparrow and House Finch. I watched this flock for a while, feeding on the ground when a very pale sandy bird flew up into a tree. I raised my binoculars and bang! American Tree Sparrow! About a minute later a second bird arrived. I took a couple of photos when I heard "oi!" I looked around and Jon had arrived. We followed the flock for a while getting wicked looks at the American Tree Sparrow.
We then walked back to the viewing tower to try and locate the other sparrow Jon had found. A White-throated Sparrow. We spent about an hour searching without any luck. Jon had to get back home and I stuck around with Mike Ashbee who had arrived.
Mike and I checked all of the small flocks of sparrows but came up empty-handed. With the weather looking a little gloomy we decided to walk back down the hedgerow as Mike had yet to see the American Tree Sparrow.
Ryder Lynch checking out the swans
En-route we met up with my brother-in-law Justin and my nephews Ryder and Oliver. They joined us on our quest for a while but we decided to hang back and let Mike go ahead to find the sparrow. While Mike was searching, Ryder and I enjoyed watching the Trumpeter Swans that were down near the water. Soon after, Lori, Nolan and Emily arrived with spiffy new hair-cuts and we all headed back to the viewing tower.
With the day slipping by we started to head back to the car when I spotted the White-throated Sparrow! It was all alone, perched for a few seconds opposite the viewing tower before disappearing. A big thanks to Jon Carter for finding and posting these two great sparrows.

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