Sunday, 6 June 2010

Waxwing lyrical...

Had a pretty bird-free weekend, as it was Jenny's birthday, and we spent the weekend gorging ourselves on fine food and damaging our, already battered, livers down in Victoria. I did manage a year-tick in the form of an olive-sided flycatcher in Beacon Park, but otherwise I wasn't really make an effort...

Got back home with time to blast round the Nanaimo River estuary for an hour or so late this afternoon.
A cedar waxwing was perched up on wires along Raines Road.
As a Brit, I'm amazed how common these birds are here, having always associated waxwings (albeit Bohemian) with winter. In the UK, these eruptive birds only show up when poor berry crops, or severe weather, cause them to move from further north. In some years they're very scarce, while in others they can arrive in massive numbers. In fact, I along with many hundreds of other birders twitched the only English cedar waxwing that was found among a huge flock of Bohemian's in Nottinghamshire back in 1996. A Scottish record pre-dated that one, and recently the species made its Irish debut when a Cedar waxwing was discovered last October.
Later, I came across a single bird (pic) and then a pair nest building.
I saw my first western wood-pewee of the year, it was flycatching from the small trees near the large oak.
The usual supporting cast of goldfinches, assorted sparrows, purple finch, 2 ospreys, spotted sandpipers, cowbirds and what-not were in evidence and kept me busy.

Of note: I found a swathe of common camas in a more likely looking spot, and discovered one with white flowers (pic) - quite scarce, from what I believe...        

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