Saturday, 13 March 2010

Hard work, but worth it.

Blimey, it was hard work down the Nanaimo River estuary this morning. Quiet? Not half!
There was a very low tide, and as such all the wildfowl and gulls were miles out. The hedgerows were uncannily bereft of birds, no finch/sparrow flocks, at all... just the odd house finch, towhee and song sparrow.
I could hear a western meadowlark singing in the fields somewhere, but couldn't locate it.
There was a bit of activity overhead, with numerous bald eagles kicking around. Up to 5 were soaring together at one point, plus a couple of red-tailed hawks were busy hunting around the area - much to the chagrin of the local ravens.
A northern shrike showed up, and posed beautifully while I rattled off a couple of crap shots. See attached.
Only 2 trumpeter swans were out on the marsh, and a further 4 were on the river.

Deciding that I wasn't likely to stumble across much more, I headed to Holden Creek to see what was there.
Just a few dabbling green-winged teal were on the wet marsh. A couple of bufflehead were in the creek. 10 trumpeter swans were in the fields, along with the regular Canada geese and mallards. A pair of killdeer were back in the field, the first time I've seen them here for a while.
Another northern shrike was hunting along the hedgerow at the back of the marsh.

Checking my watch, I noticed that I could just about squeeze in a quick check at Quennell Lake before going and collecting Jenny from work...
There was no sign of the juv snow goose amongst the depleted number of Canadas, though at least 1 cackling goose was still present. A rather impressive 62 northern shoveler were counted. A few pintail, GW teal, and mallard were around as was a pair of lesser scaup and 3 American coot.
Best of all though, were the 40ish hirundines that were feeding high over the lake. The ones that I was able to positively identify, were all tree swallows. Spring! Whoo-hoo!  

Adding to the feeling that things were definitely on the move, we had a turkey vulture over the highway near Jinglepot.

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