Saturday, 20 March 2010

Sprinkling of migrants...

Things looked good as I arrived at the Nanaimo River estuary this morning - there seemed to be robins all over the place. Had there been some overnight movement? I counted about 60 in the area around the big oak, plus a group of 30ish starling. There didn't appear to be anything associating with them though, and I was quickly distracted by a northern harrier hunting over the fields. It was an adult female, presumably passing through.

From the platform, it all looked pretty quiet - just the usual distant gulls. I could discern the regular glaucous-winged, mew and Californias only. Wildfowl continue to decline in number, the expected species were all present but with individuals. A drake Eurasian wigeon was still present, as can almost be determined by the accompanying photo. Not quite as good as last week's snow goose pic, but I'm trying. Now I come to look at it again, I'm assuming it wasn't someone doing a wildfowl puppet show behind that hump...
A sharp-shinned hawk flew through, briefly landing up in the hawthorns, and my first 'patch' turkey vulture passed over. Two tree swallow also came through. A western meadowlark was singing out in the fields and a northern shrike was hunting out there.

I squeezed in an hour at Buttertubs Marsh in the early afternoon but it was fairly unremarkable. Despite the profusion of yellow-rumped warblers that are around the island, I didn't find a single one! A lone male Anna's hummingbird showed well, and yet more tree swallows and 2 violet-green swallows were seen. Another 2 turkey vulture passed over.
The only waterbirds seen were hooded merganser, ring-necked duck and pied-billed grebe. Unless, of course, you count mallard and Canada goose, which generally speaking, I don't. Or 'The Heron'.
A few American goldfinch brightened things up and a group of 6 golden-crowned sparrow were by the feeders along with bushtit, chestnut-backed chickadee, etc.

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