Monday, 17 May 2010

Long weekend

Well, dear readers, I feel I must apologise for the lack of posts in recent days. I'm sure you're all devastated.
So, what have been up to?
Early Friday morning, my chum Adrian and I headed down for a trawl around the Nanaimo River estuary and Holden Creek. Highlights included a cracking drake blue-winged teal (my first here & a year tick), northern harrier, American goldfinch and the usual stuff at the estuary. We stopped at the marshy area on Gordon Rd and had two fab black-headed grosbeak (another year-tick) and common yellowthroat.
At Holden there were 3 dowitchers out on the marsh. Our perception was that they were 2 short-billed and 1 long-billed but I'd hate to put money on it! The 2 appeared paler bellied, and slightly smaller and shorter-billed than the darker bird. Silent dowitchers make me very unhappy..! Three spotted sandpiper were present.

Later we set off for a long weekend in Sooke. To cut a long story short, we did plenty of hiking and what-not, but the birds weren't terribly forthcoming. Adrian was pleased to see immaculate harlequins (having only seen one previously, a female on the Isle Of Lewis) and was chuffed when we went trundling into the forest to find the cause of a 'pinking' robin - a barred owl (pictured). Other stuff included rhinoceros auklet, pigeon guillemot, osprey, merlin, Wilson's warbler, etc etc...
To be honest, the table-football, food, company and cottage at Anderson Cove were enough to compensate for the lack of rare vagrants and seabirds. And we enjoyed the pot-holes.
On the way back we stopped at Swan Lake. Ridiculously, this was my first visit to this brilliant site. We had a quick look and got ace views of yellow warblers, Anna's hummer and a pair of purple martins. And I've never had as good views of marsh wren!
I met up with Chris Saunders to collect vols 1&2 of Birds of BC (cheers Chris!). Pity we didn't have time to join him for a spot of birding at Swan Lake, but 18 month old Isobella had set the agenda and we had to get back to Nanaimo...

Monday evening -  a quick visit to Holden with Jenny after work and there were four spotted sandpipers now present, plus 7 least sandpiper but little else of note. Later, Adrian and I had a look at Quennell Lake. Despite the northern lake area being all mud and shallow pools now, there were no waders to be seen. Looks promising though... A red-necked grebe was on the 'mid' lake, and 5 wood duck were near the northern end.            


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