Tuesday, 31 August 2010

All quiet on the western front. And semi-p front... and everything else front.

All day, I was looking forward to a post work visit to Nanaimo's Holden Creek, convinced that last night's and today's rain would have dropped, and held, some waders.
Things looked relatively promising as I arrived, noting a group of 14 least sandpiper feeding in the channel. A quick scan along the creek however, suggested otherwise. Other than a juvenile great blue heron it was birdless. It's hard to believe that this site was once one of Vancouver Island's premier birding sites, as far as migrant waders are concerned. Perhaps it's just a particularly quiet year, or maybe the habitat management simply hasn't benefitted passage shorebirds.
I crossed the channel and made my way along the flood bank, scanning the empty marsh. The rain had done little to raise the levels in the dry pools and other than a fly-through pintail, there were no birds of note to be seen.
Of interest, was a large flock of 20ish white-crowned sparrows of mixed ages, along with a single very recently fledged cowbird among them. Later, I encountered similar numbers of savannah sparrows. A couple of common yellowthroat were in the brambles.
Other than a small group of 5 least sandpiper at the upper end of the creek, there were no other shorebirds on site.
Back on the channel later, a merlin came through with intent, scattering the sandpipers.

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