Monday, 2 November 2009

No 'owls of joy

Had a weekend over on the mainland (no birding, but I did notice a flock of snow geese in a field north of Tsawwassen and again a small skein over Vancouver airport.)

So, Monday morning I was straining at the leash and legged it down to Holden Creek as soon as I got the chance. Despite my enthusiasm, the birds were a bit lacking..!
16 long-billed dowitcher were feeding in a muddy pool on the saltmarsh alongside around 50 green-winged teal. And other than the usual house finches, starlings, juncos, ravens, bald eagles etc there wasn't much doing.
A good trawl around the estuary from the Raines Rd end was really hard work - lots of seeking and very little finding.
Highlights included the eventual arrival of a juvenile northern harrier and a northern shrike. A red-tailed hawk passed lazily over.
The few passerines seen included a mixed finch flock in the hawthorns which comprised of juncos, golden-crowned and song sparrows plus a single 1st winter white-crowned sparrow and a couple of Bewick's wrens.
On the river, small numbers of mew and California gulls were amongst the numerous glaucous-winged and Thayer's gulls.
14 common merganser were on the river while a large raft of bufflehead was offshore with good numbers of pintail, American wigeon and mallard also present.
16 bald eagle were sat around and for the second time at this site, I saw an adult bird carrying a large branch...
Despite 3 having been reported on Saturday I didn't see a single short-eared owl! Were they on passage or was I just unlucky today?

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