Sunday, 9 May 2010

Weekend round-up...


Went to Holden Creek for a scout around in the morning. Not too amazing - a spotted sandpiper, a greater yellowlegs and about 20 least sandpiper were around the creek. A group of 5 dunlin and 7 western sandpiper flew in briefly. Had the mystery surrounding the killdeer disappearances illustrated by a Cooper's hawk as it snatched the last remaining chick from the marsh, and pulled it apart in a nearby hawthorn.
The cliff swallows were mud-gathering again, and allowed some rubbish pics to be taken, as evidenced by the attached photo.

A quick check of the Nanaimo River estuary revealed little of note, just the regular stuff.

Went for a very swift visit to Buttertubs Marsh on my way to retrieve Jenny from work and the place was jumping with my first dazzling yellow warblers of the year. An osprey was sat, conveniently, on the osprey platform.    


Jen and I went for a walk to Hemer Park and back along the Mordern Trail. Pacific-sloped flycatchers were calling throughout the forest, and one even bothered to give us ace views as it fly-caught from a branch at eye level.
We had an osprey pass low over the pool, and circled a couple of times in search of prey.
Along the Mordern Trail, we had views of a couple of warbling vireos which were an 'almost' tick, in as much as I haven't seen one since 1993!
Other stuff we spotted along the way included California quail, rufous hummers, yellow-rumped and orange-crowned warblers, rough-winged swallow and my first chipping sparrows of the year.

Later (roughly, Hockey O'clock) I went for a look at Holden Creek.
2 spotted sandpiper, 1 killdeer and 14 least sands were the sole representatives of the wading fraternity.
A fine adult peregrine came through upsetting everything.
A frustrating flock of 40+ American pipit kept getting up and flying around, landing only in the choicest, most distant, furrowed and undulating ground with the deepest vegetation... sods. Particularly in light of the red-throated pipit discovered today amongst its yanky congeners further down the island. Not, of course, that I am suggesting that such a rare bird would have been in the Holden flock - but it goes to show how rarities will latch onto common carrier species and by checking every flock of common birds, you significantly improve your chances of discovering that mega!
Now 5 white-fronted geese in the fields. It's a bit crap when, in the first week of May, a common goose species is still making the top 10 of birds seen at a site...                


  1. OK, I give in... what IS Hockey O'clock?
    Actually, I think I can guess what it is.
    While we are on the subject, or not, you mentioned your "shop list" from the Willow lane spar shop... what are the exact rules for thislist... do you actually have to be in the shop, can you be in the car park, what? We need to know here in this dump you have left behind.
    Best wishes from Ray in the cold cold North.

  2. Well Ray, it's the play-offs for the Stanley Cup over here. Ice hockey's FA cup if you will... and as the Canuck's (Vancouver's team) are still in it, one can guarantee quiet roads and no dog walkers etc during a match.

    As for the shop list, it's a bit bendy. Basically, anything I saw or heard walking to the shop and back could technically qualify. I didn't count anything that I knew had gone over the shop, if I saw it from somewhere else though (honey buzzard from my yard, osprey from Aldcliffe etc).
    Glad to day it's bloody lovely over here at the moment and we are awaiting a visitation from Adrian 'Ziggy' Dawson and family, who are due to be with us in a couple of days.