Sunday, 23 May 2010


Had a quick late morning scan over at Quennell Lake today. Couldn't see the ruddy duck, but there were a few boats on the water, so maybe it had moved to a quieter part of the lake.
A Cooper's hawk caused some consternation amongst the swallows and Brewer's blackbirds, who mobbed it relentlessly until it scarpered. At the southern end of the lake, 6 purple martin were feeding among the commoner hirundines.
What was presumably a cedar waxwing flew by, identified as such only by the sight of yellow tail tips and absence of white in the wing.

Later, Jenny and I had a walk along the Cable Bay Trail. It was pretty birdy, with lots of stuff calling and singing - very frustrating for a Brit birder such as me with a lot of aural learning to do! Of the things I did recognise, or see, were black-headed grosbeak, Swainson's thrush, Wilson's warbler, western tanager, brown creeper, hairy woodpecker and pileated woodpecker and peregrine.
Best of all however was the Cassin's vireo that kindly responded well to my pishing. My mate Adrian had found the nest site of a pair here last week, and having thoroughly embedded the song into my head picked up on it immediately as it sang from up in the canopy. I got great views of the male as it came down to investigate the curious psshhh noises below. Now, as it hard as it may seem, this was actually a world tick for me, and certainly the commonest Vancouver Island bird I'd not seen. Yippee!
We also came across a fab little masked shrew, which allowed us close approach as it scoffed an unfortunate beetle. Jenny's undoubted highlight of the walk...

Late afternoon, spurred on by my first tick in 5 months, I decided to go the airport and see if I could add Vesper sparrow to my BC list. I eventually found a single bird (pictured), and as I looked at it I had the horrible feeling that I was looking at a vesper sparrow for the very first time. Somehow or other, I'd got it into my head that I'd seen this species before, but after I got home and checked through some notebooks it would appear that I had gained another tick! How the hell did that happen? Idiot.

No comments:

Post a Comment