Monday, 19 October 2009

Happy Monday

Jen and I behaved like tourists today, visiting two well know beauty spots in north Nanaimo - Neck Point and Piper's Lagoon.
The day was clear, sunny and warm - when sheltered.

At Neck Point we walked around the small headland and I was delighted to spot a western grebe close offshore. This was the first one I'd seen in a number of years and I'd forgotten just how large they are, for a grebe. A couple of marbled murrelet flew by but otherwise it was pretty quiet on the sea.

Piper's Lagoon is a lovely place, we'd visited here in spring when we were over for a couple of weeks. Not much doing bird-wise here today though a single western meadowlark was of note. As usual, wherever there are trees there are chestnut-backed chickadees, juncos, flickers etc.

I popped out for and hour, or two, at 4pm and headed once more for the Nanaimo River estuary. Upon arrival I met a young fellow toting a rifle, with a brace of wildfowl hanging from his belt, coming away from the site. I had a little chat with him and inspected his bag (so to speak) - one each of pintail and American wigeon. That explained why the place was a bit quiet when I got to the viewing platform.
I went trampling around a bit trying to find something worthwhile to look at... highlights included:
2 juv northern harriers, 2 peregrines, 1 sharp-shinned hawk, numerous bald eagles, hundreds of American wigeon, many pintail plus green-winged teal and mallard present in lower numbers.
The northern shrike was keeping sentinel in its favourite row of hawthorns, a couple of savannah sparrows were flushed from the marsh and 3 common merganser (goosander) flew upstream.
As usual, the lone trumpeter swan remained in place on the river.

Returning to the car I met a photographer, who it turned out was Mike Yip - a local birder whose superb photographs and website Vancouver Island Birds I am very familiar with. We chatted for some time and he kindly showed me how to access another section of the estuary area not visible from where we were that tends to be favoured by waders. In fact, a stilt sandpiper, amongst other things, was reported from there yesterday... I know where I'll be going tomorrow! Check out Mike's website in the links section on the left.

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