Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Nighthawks at the diner

We witnessed a most amazing thing this evening, on our way back from Nanaimo, as we travelled along 'Old' Victoria Road. Just before we arrived at the petroglyph area, I noticed a mass of birds hawking low just by, and over the roadside.
Realizing immediately, that they were common nighthawks we pulled over.
There were approximately 180 of them all dining on something or other - presumably a hatching of flying ants or similar. It was an absolutely amazing sight - and mixed among them were numerous black swifts, and a few purple martins too. This was at 7.20pm. Brilliant stuff!

Prior to that wonderful spectacle, I'd done an pre-work creep around Holden Creek this morning from just before 7am to around 8.20am.
Fewer birds today but still good with 10 lesser yellowlegs, 3 pectoral sandpiper, 3 dowitchers (long-billed, by my slightly unreliable reckoning), a juv spotted sandpiper, 6 killdeer and approx 50 least sandpiper. Not too shabby.

I also noticed from my office window today, good numbers of, what I assume are, (by power of the naked eye) California gulls moving through - for the second day in a row. Mostly heading north in variable sized groups... mainly adults, with a sprinkling of immature birds. They pass over, intermittently, throughout the day.

One last thing - thanks to Chris for letting me know that the green beetle that alighted upon Jenny's leg the other day, goes by the rather marvelous name of a Golden Buprestid!


  1. Large, mixed flocks of insectivores seem to congregate around the Southgate area at this time of year annually. Probably a large hatch of field ants or something. Quite a sight though.

  2. Quite a sight indeed... I wonder how far these birds travel in order to gather here?
    Obviously swifts are prone to covering huge distances in order to feed, but I'd be surprised if a largely crepuscular bird as nighthawk would do the same? Are these, relatively, speaking, 'local' birds from within say, 2 or 3 mile radius?