Friday, 29 January 2010


I don't know, what with all this working for a living, my Brit Birder in BC claims are looking a bit weak in the absence of any recent posts...

Well, the most exciting thing that happened, bird-wise, this week was also (without doubt) the most frustrating thing, bird-wise, that has happened since I got here in October.
I nipped out the deli in my afternoon break for some much needed Batchelor's Marrowfat peas (sad, I know, but we were having hot-pot for dinner and you can't have hot-pot without processed peas... I'm a Lancashire lad, I should know) and I looked up to see a very bulky raptor sat on the top of a nearby church. Now, the first thing I thought was 'bloody hell, that's a big peregrine!'. I looked at it again. Seemed pretty uniform colour-wise, except for glaring pale undertail coverts and very lower belly. And it looked way too long tailed for a peregrine... surely not a gyr? In oldtown Nanaimo?
Unfortunately, they're pretty strict about breaks at work and I had to race back to the office with every combination of what it could be going round in my head. Back at work, I managed to quickly leg it to a window with my bins (always keep 'em with me, just in case...). I could see the bird about 200 yards away. It really was big - pretty much buteo sized. Very hunched stature, and seemingly con-colourus and I couldn't discern any moustache. Admittedly the light was crap, it was getting on for 4pm, but even still surely a peregrine looks extremely contrasty at that range in poor light!
Anyway, the upshot is that I think it probably was a gyr, but I can't confirm that, so...

While we're on the subject of raptors, a juv Cooper's hawk was scaring the starlings in the car park on Wednesday and a (ordinary sized) peregrine has put up the numerous pigeons a couple of times this week.

I've obviously been keeping my eye out for any huge falcons as I go on my lunchtime walks but to no avail, so far. It's not too bad though, as I get to see harlequin ducks, buffleheads, Barrow's goldeneyes, bald eagles and such on a daily basis.

Well, it's Saturday tomorrow so I should be able to squeeze in a visit down the estuary at some point. Be interesting to see how it is post-hunting season.

1 comment:

  1. I know we are used to obesity here in't north of england, but what an earth is a " very lower belly?"
    I think we have a few of these around the lancaster streets, usually with a can of Stella in one hand and a 22 going on 72 partner in the other. Their upper belies aren't much to admire either.
    Outside as I write the only surviving song thrush in Lancashire is singing merrily. Anyhow, best wishes from Ray.