Saturday, 22 May 2010

Ruddy heck, a noteworthy duck!

Didn't really get any birding in today until early evening when an, ill-timed, visit to Holden Creek coincided with a spell of persistent drizzle. Nice.
Not too much to report, as a result. A single least sandpiper was on the creek, and at least 5 spotted sandpipers were chasing each other around. A couple of Wilson's warblers were feeding in the gorse.

As it started to clear, I headed to Quennell Lake to see if I could find anything interesting there. Again, a single least sandpiper was on the muddy ex-lake, as were a couple of killdeer with 1 chick.
A lone drake green-winged teal was with 5 mallard at the back and a drake wood duck was on the actual lake (ie the one with water). Tones of hirundines were feeding around the place - northern rough-winged, barn, tree, violet-green and cliff were all present in good numbers. I couldn't resist snapping a couple as they sat on the wires in the low sunlight. (For those not familiar with American swallows, the pic shows from left to right, violet-green, cliff & tree). A Vaux's swift came through and fed briefly before heading off north.
Something of a surprise was a female ruddy duck on the lake. I think they're pretty scarce 'round these parts... I think this is another species I last saw on vancouver Island back in the early 90s.

Glad to see such a good response the most recent mystery bird... answer, and a new one, coming soon!


  1. Dang! Great bird at any time in the Nanaimo checklist area, but in May??? Wow!

  2. Hmm - I didn't realise it was quite as big a deal as all that! Of course, we Brits immediately reach for the shotgun whenever we catch site of a ruddy stifftail...
    I do have a truly awful shot (photographically speaking, now) of this bird should evidence be required!