Sunday, 28 February 2010

Lincoln's Day

Left the we(s)t coast and its traditional rain mid morning, heading east back to Nanaimo. The weather was a bit drier from Port Alberni onward, and by the time we got to Parksville it was blue skies and sunshine!

By 1.30pm  I was itching to go down to the Nanaimo River estuary for a scout around, and I drove down to the patch while the rest of Cedar's residents were apparently sat watching some 'important' sporting event, or other.
Despite the sunny, Sunday afternoon, the parking area at the end of Raines Road was bereft of vehicles, and I spent the next couple of hours trudging around an eerily quiet estuary. There weren't too many birds around either - I expect they were as blissfully unaware of the Olympic hockey game as I was... I realise that mid-afternoon is probably the least productive time of day to go birding, but if given the choice of a couple of hours of crap birding or none at all, well, I think you know what I'd choose every time.
21 trumpeter swans were on the marsh and the usual large numbers of American wigeon, pintail, green-winged teal and mallard were dabbling around the water's edge. Good numbers of gadwall, bufflehead and common goldeneye were also present while further out there were a few red-breasted mergansers and greater scaup.
Gulls numbers continue to build, and many California gulls were amongst the numerous glaucous-winged.
A northern shrike was hunting from an isolated small hawthorn.
Passerines were thin on the ground, and it took quite a while to find 'the' finch/sparrow flock. The number of golden-crowneds had dropped to single figures, while there were no white-crowned sparrows amongst the group at all. Even the juncos numbered only 20 or so, and there was no sign of the white-throated sparrow. The Lincoln's sparrow put in rare sustained appearance, and I finally managed to get a couple of shots of the wee fella, as you'll see above.        

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