Sunday, February 21, 2010

Northern Shrike

Though I was a little restricted for time in terms of birding this weekend, being on call for my company, I did take the opportunity to get out. With clear blue skies I headed down to the Englishman River Estuary to see what was around. There was a good selection of birds to sort through both on the estuary and on the ocean. On the Plummer Road side I was greeted by an adult male Anna's Hummingbird, singing and displaying. There was a mixture of Pine Siskin and Purple Finch feeding in the alders and two Ruby-crowned Kinglets scolding me from the thickets.
At the beach access the seas were calm, giving me a good view of the ocean. Surf Scoters were the only birds moving around, moving in groups of 20-30 birds, heading toward Rathtrevor beach. Common Goldeneye, Common Loon and Horned Grebe were bobbing around in front of me preening along with two Black Brant. Way off sure was a long raft of approximately 380 Pacific Loon.
On the Shelly Road side of estuary I bumped into Christopher Stevens who had found 4 Western Meadowlark closer to Parksville Park. I was unable to relocate them but did find a Northern Shrike, hunting the open grassland.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Ring-necked Duck
Today Lori and I played hooky from work to go down to Victoria and pick up my son Conor from the airport. As his plane didn't arrive until 7:00pm we decided to check out a few areas. Our first stop (excluding Tim Hortons) was the fields on Mount Sicker Road near Duncan. There were 126 Trumpeter Swans and one with a blue neck collar which I could read! Next we stopped at Quamichan Lake where among the usual suspects were 17 Canvasback. Another stop at Elk Lake produced 48 more Canvasback. Our next port of call was Bow Park as 3 White-throated Sparrows had been reported there. It only took about five minutes to locate one of the birds which was exactly where we were instructed to go. Thanks to Ian Cruickshank who posted this sighting on the Vancouver Island Birding Forum and gave great directions.
Cooper's Hawk
With time ticking away we went and checked out Swan Lake. We only had about 20 minutes but managed to rack up 28 species, best of which were 15 Yellow-rumped Warblers! Our last stop was at Kings Pond where we tried and failed to locate the long gone Rusty Blackbird. No complaints as we got killer looks at Ring-necked Duck, Snow Goose and Cooper's Hawk. This bird was banded though I was unable to read any of the numbers on the band.