Saturday, 10 April 2010

Bluebird morning

Boy, that breeze was a cold one this morning! The radiant sunshine didn't half take time delivering some warmth...
Anyhoo, one of the first things spotted down at the Nanaimo River estuary was yet another mountain bluebird. Again, this 'fresh-in' male was favouring the posts, close to the stranded logs. I then noticed another bird further along the posts - this turned out to be a female, and I had no sooner seen this when another female appeared! A 3 bluebird morning. As I was watching these, Ralph Hocken arrived and he was soon getting shots of the birds. One may assume that his pics will be somewhat better than mine here...
I headed off, leaving Ralph with the bluebirds, and headed up along the hedge in search of, let's say, less obvious migrants. As it happens, it was a bit of a waste of time, as the best I could find were 2 purple finches.
Walking back a pair of barn swallow passed me, low to the ground - my first of the year.
Then, as I scanned ahead I noticed a female American kestrel hovering distantly over the marsh. Cool.
Hoping that Ralph had also picked it up, I watched it as it attempted to hunt, before being bothered by a raven. Then I noticed ANOTHER bluebird - a male again. Was this the same bird as earlier, having moved a way? It looked a lot brighter than the bird before...
When I caught up with Ralph he mentioned that the kestrel had spooked the bluebirds and sent them scattering. Oh, well, I thought - that answers my question!
A male rufous hummingbird whizzed past, making the species' debut on my estuary list. Not that I actually have an estuary list as such, but you know what I mean...
I went to check the river and river mouth, and coming back round I noticed that the bluebirds had returned to the original spot. Then I noticed the really bright male and the earlier male were both present, and there were in fact 4 birds in total. Excellent stuff.

I headed round to Holden Creek for a quick recce.
3 killdeer were on the creek itself, and 3 turkey vultures (pictured right) were cruising up and down. Scanning over the marsh I noticed an American pipit feeding. As I checked the area, I soon located a further 7 birds - another year-tick!      


  1. Be on your toes out there at this time of year Jon. This has traditionally been the best period in Spring for rarities. Several years ago my Grandson Nolan and I, had a Say's Phoebe, two Mountain Bluebirds, a Sage Thrasher, and a Western Meadowlark in a single crabapple tree!

  2. Maybe you should tell me which tree it was and I'll just camp out by it!
    I certainly don't expect to be able to repeat your mega discovery, but I have to say that the area does have the feel of a rarity hotspot about it... I'll just keep bush bashing, and keeping my fingers crossed that I'm down there when the next 'big-one' turns up! I'll just have to hope it's a scarlet tanager and not some really tricky, skulking thing...!

  3. Jon

    Will you be producing a map of your new patch, such as the excellent one of Aldcliffe? It helps us back in Blighty who follow your blog get an idea of where stuff is - the long hedge? stranded logs??

    All the best Greg