Friday, 20 November 2009

Cut across shortie

Wow - a pretty dry day with just a few light showers! Can't remember the last time we had one of those...

Taking full advantage of this climatic rarity, I headed off to the Nanaimo estuary this morning.
The river was running high and the tide was up so once again the marshes were mostly underwater. Scanning through the assembled pintail, mallard and American wigeon I soon came across a drake Eurasian wigeon and a pair of gadwall.
A female northern harrier was hunting over the reduced saltmarsh while bald eagles and great blue herons were scattered around the area.
The flock of mostly female/juv type red-winged blackbirds numbered 73 birds.
Once again a Lincoln's sparrow was amongst a group of house finches, song sparrows and juncos near the viewing platform. A 1stw yellow-rumped warbler appeared in the riverside vegetation.
The usual number of trumpeter swans were feeding out on the marsh - later a pair flew over heading south east.
The first short-eared owl of the day appeared, soon attracting the attention of the local corvids. By the time I left I'd seen a minimum of 3 owls, though I suspect there may have been 4, and they put on quite a show. I was able to get these, not quite in Mike Yip's league, shots by holding my digi snapper up to my scope eyepiece.

The juv harrier made an appearance too as did, eventually, the male.
Only 1 northern shrike showed.
All-too-brief views of a couple of unidentified warblers in the hawthorn hedgerow left me frustrated and confused - a concerted effort to relocate them was unsuccesful. The options in late November must be surely limited? Perhaps I was hallucinating...
Having done little to satisfy my curiosity by consulting Sibley I decided I'd go and see if anything was happening over at Holden Creek.

The 2 cackling geese were still in the wet fields alongside a group of their commoner cousins.
The male northern harrier was now hunting over here and was busy upsetting the green-winged teal in the creek. The 1stw northern shrike flew by but other than a red-tailed hawk and a belted kingfisher it was pretty quiet.

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