Thursday, 19 November 2009

Ten feet high and rising...

Having dropped Jenny off in central Nanaimo this morning, I decided to head north and see what Parksville could offer before the rain set in.
I tried the Plummer Road area, for the first time, but the tide was rather too high for there to be many birds of note around the Englishman River estuary. The most noteworthy birds I saw included a northern shrike, 2 red-tailed hawks and a very smart little marsh wren.
Offshore, however, there was lots going on. Pretty much the same species as seen off Yellow Point, but in differing numbers. Red-necked grebe in particular seem numerous here and a group of greater scaup were good to see plus a single long-tailed duck whizzed through. A group of 4 brant geese flew south.
A couple of black oystercatcher flew by while 4 black turnstone and a dunlin were feeding on the beach.
A single western gull was loafing around on the surf while the usual other gull species searched the water's edge for tasty scraps.

After an hour of trying to seawatch in the rain I headed back toward Nanaimo and finding myself with an hour to spare thought I'd see how water levels at Buttertubs were getting on. Well, they were doing very well indeed and access was severely limited to a stretch of path at the Buttertubs Drive end of about 10 metres in length!
Seeing absolutely zero on the water, I went round to the Jingle Pot parking area and snuck in through the taped-off entrance. There was slightly more unflooded path here but for obvious reasons the parks guys had decided to close it to the public. Despite the amazingly high water I still couldn't locate any forced out rails... just 1 hooded merg, a pied-billed grebe and a coot were on the water. At least 8 varied thrush were feeding in the leaf litter at the flood edges.

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