Monday, 27 September 2010

Easy ansers

Not a great deal going on down at the estuary this evening - the highlight was a flock of 35 white-fronted geese that passed over (pictured), heading south.
Another group of 13 followed some 40 minutes later, though this smaller group set down on the outer marsh. 
Other than a wisp of 4 Wilson's snipe and a hunting juvenile northern harrier it was altogether unremarkable.

On another note - those of you reading this back in Blighty, might be interested (or amused?) to learn that while British birders are marveling at the arrival of buff-breasted and pectoral sandpipers on UK shores, the locals here have been getting all twitchy over a ruff.
This bird has been wowing the crowds on the south of the island, at a consistently productive site called Whiffen Spit. Needless to say, I didn't go for it...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Weekend round-up

Been without broadband for a couple of days, for some reason, so here's around-up of events since Friday... 
An early morning pre-work amble around the estuary on Friday in search of migrant waifs and strays proved, sadly, fruitless.
The most noticeable thing was the arrival, en masse, of dark-eyed juncos, several of which had joined the sparrow flocks. Conversely, the continued departure of savannah sparrows continues, with just a handful being seen in the area. Lincoln’s sparrows are still very much in evidence, with at least 5 seen, while the white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrow numbers seem to have dropped off a bit with some having presumably just moved through. The only warbler I saw was a single yellow-rumped.
Common mergansers have built up to the 20ish mark, and 3 hooded merganser were also on the Nanaimo River.
A Cooper’s hawk was working the long hedge, must to the concern of the purple finches and towhees. The male American kestrel put in appearance, and was briefly mobbed by one of the local ravens.
Unfortunately, I had limited time for birding on Saturday, due to other commitments, and I decided to dedicate what time I had, to the estuary (just for a change). It was, perhaps, the worst idea I’d had for a while. I’d briefly toyed with the idea of a trip to Buttertubs Marsh (inspired partly, by local bird photographers Steve Large’s recent sighting of a green heron there). With hindsight, I should have done that...  
The estuary was super-quiet. There were very few passerines around, and I had to work hard to even find any significant numbers of sparrows.  Either the couple with two large dogs touring the area, or the Cooper’s hawk and merlin patrolling the hedgerow had contributed…
On the river there were around 40 common mergansers and a small group of turkey vultures and ravens feasting on the discarded skin of a butchered deer. Yum yum.
A single long-billed dowitcher flew over, calling, headed in the direction of Holden Creek. With that in mind, I took off there, dreams of ducks and waders on my ever-optimistic mind.
A group of 48 dowitchers were feeding on the sluiced creek, just by the path. Several flighty green-winged teal were also here, but no sign of the cinnamon. The marsh, and other creek areas were pretty quiet, though the family of white-fronted geese were still in the fields, despite the total absence of the usually omnipresent Canada geese. 
Sunday, Jenny and I took a stroll around Hemer. All the action seemed to be outside the park, with good numbers of American robins seen around the Cedar area, including another albinistic bird. This one was almost entirely white, with just a few dalmation spots. A pair of red-breasted sapsuckers showed well, and several Steller's jays were mucking around.
Later, I headed for Holden Creek for a post-tide amble. On arrival I met some remnants of the Nanaimo Birdstore Sunday Bird Walk crowd who mentioned that they had been watching a pair of short-billed dowitchers among the long-billed on the creek. 
Short-billed dowitcher - Holden Creek
Later, I saw these same birds, both juveniles, and got a few snaps of the brighter of the two, as you can see here. Now, I may well have overlooked these over the past few visits to the creek, or they may just dropped in. I counted a total of 54 long-billeds in total.
There were no other waders anywhere out on the marsh, and the only wildfowl were green-winged teal and a couple of mallard. A large sparrow flock was feeding in the newly ploughed field, though I couldn't find anything out of the ordinary with them. A flock of 20+ American pipits dropped in and started feeding in the fields. 
Out at the back of the marsh, 3 yellow-rumped warbler were in the hedgerow along wit yet more robins. 

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Falcon's rest

Once again, desperate to enjoy the last few days of post-work birding opportunity, I headed down to the Nanaimo River estuary this evening.
 It was clear and sunny, with great visibility - but there wasn't much to look at!
The majority of savannah sparrows appear to have cleared out, I only saw 3, while the increase in the number of white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrows was evident.
The only real things of interest were 2 yellow-rumped warblers and the off-passage, rather attractive, male American kestrel pictured here.

Given that it's only a couple of weeks until the shooting season kicks off (October 9), there are very few ducks around. I guess the coming days will see the steady flow of wildfowl from the north. Short-eared owls and northern shrikes should have arrived too, by mid-October.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sunset on the Creek

Jenny surveys Holden Creek
Jenny and I had an hour down at Holden Creek this evening.
The setting sun made the birding a bit tricky, as it got progressively lower, but it was just pretty lovely being out there.
There were plenty of savannah sparrows around, plus the usual house finches and a single Lincoln's sparrow.
At least 80 Brewer's blackbirds were roosting around the farm with around 30 starling.
The geese were too distant and the light was way too low to allow me to pick out any white-fronts among the silhouettes. 

Out on the marsh there was a feeding group of 66 long-billed dowitchers (at the least the ones I heard were long-billed, there could of course have been some short-bills in there, too) and what appeared to be 5 least sandpiper.

Male house finch - Holden Creek
Up to 50 green-winged teal were around the creek, but they were busy feeding in the wet boggy grass, thanks to the very high tide.
A belted kingfisher was rattling around, and an osprey passed overhead.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Last of the Summer - Whine...

A quick dash around the Nanaimo River, from the Raines Road end, after work resulted in the grim realisation that post-work visits are coming to a rapid close. The sun was setting quickly, and in another couple of weeks I'm going to be restricted to weekend birding. Boo.
While Jenny picked the last of the season's blackberries I trundled around looking for birds. Not too much doing, the usual sparrows and flickers etc. A greater yellowlegs was calling from out on the marsh, but I didn't see it.
The darker juv northern harrier was performing very well and passed close by numerous times. An SLR with a even a 200mm lens, would have given me some excellent shots but, alas, I no longer own such things.

It's a Mystery...

Now, I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed in the response to the last mystery bird pic. Perhaps I upset too many of you with that evil hummingbird shot, and you have decided to repay me by no longer joining in... let bygones be bygones and have a go at the new one. Go on, it's fun!

So, what about that last one?

It was clearly a warbler and one with bright yellow undertail coverts. All of our 4 contenders, could qualify. How about those thick pink legs? A clue there?
It pretty much rules out orange-crowned (which was the favourite with 50% of the vote) whose legs are darker and finer. It appears to be a more robust bird in general too, for that species.
 How about palm warbler? Well, no-one went for that - the undertail pattern clearly eliminates that species. Our bird has a plain concolourus undertail, while palm show distinctive white spots.
OK - MacGillivrays only received one vote. I would expect that species to have extensive yellow from the undertail coverts on to the belly and essentially be bright yellow on all the underparts. The bird in our pic has the yellow very much confined to the coverts.
So that leaves us with common yellowthroat. The posture, I think is a good indicator for this species too, showing the characteristic cocked tail.
As usual, complaints, other pointers etc, will be gratefully received!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Hawks and Doves

Spotted towhee - Holden Creek
Dropped in at Holden Creek (just for a change) for the rising tide. Arriving simultaneously, were Karen Barry, BC Projects Officer for Bird Studies Canada, and Eric Demers.
After introducing ourselves,  we headed down to the viewing area, from where we noticed that there were some dowitchers on the main creek.
It was a group of c30 birds, and nearby was a pectoral and a least sandpiper. As we scanned, 2 more pecs joined the fun, and a few more dowitchers were added to the tally.
A lovely male American kestrel was hunting from fence posts in the fields, where the family gaggle of white-fronted geese were hunkered down, initially making detection difficult.
As the tidewater rose, the pectoral sandpipers flew off the creek and into the field - revealing a 4th bird. Later, another passed over with 2 least sandpipers in tow.
A distant northern harrier was soaring over the estuary, and both red-tailed and Cooper's hawks put in appearances.
There were fewer teal around today, there was no sign of the cinnamon. A handful each of pintail and American wigeon were present.

Oh, and I keep meaning to mention that I've been seeing collared doves on Bluebell Terrace, off Bowen Road, and again in the Harewood area.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Teal for Two

Despite the promising overnight conditions there was little evidence of any significant falls of migrants around the Nanaimo River estuary this morning.
To be fair, having dropped Jenny off at work first, I wasn't able to get down there until almost 10am, so maybe the good stuff had all moved through... That said, I'd have expected a few remnants to be lurking in the hedgerows and what-not.
As it happened, the only passerines encountered included the expected sparrow species - savannah, golden-crowned, white-crowned, song and Lincoln's, a sprinkling of yellow-rumped warblers and a couple of common yellowthroat. Otherwise it was down to purple and house finches, and a single overhead American pipit, to keep me on my toes. Oh, and some flycatchery thing that actually looked quite like a western wood-pewee, from the brief look I got at it... but it shall go in the bin, uncomfirmed.
A pair of merlin and a Cooper's hawk, were doing their best to take advantage of the glut of sparrows.
Trampling the marsh, a pair of pectoral sandpiper passed over and a third was flushed from a small pool. A group of 12 dowitchers also came through, dropping down distantly on the marsh.
At one point, I heard the distinctive call of a snipe, and looking up saw a small flock of 7 Wilson's snipe passing over. They were swiftly joined by another larger group of snipe, bringing the total to a rather impressive 24 birds!

Having decided that I wasn't going to find a Siberian rubythroat today, I decided to head around to Holden Creek for a peek.
Again, the main channel by the path was teeming with teal.
'Scoping through, I couldn't see anything other than green-wingeds. Feeding alongside were a dozen long-billed dowitchers.  
There were, again, good numbers of sparrows around, including a single fox sparrow. At least 2 common yellowthroat were skulking among the gorse bushes.
The creek was hosting yet more teal, and couple of pintail, plus more long-billed dowitchers and a pair of pectoral sandpipers (both pictured).
A pair of killdeer were on the marsh pools, and a greater yellowlegs was among another group of dowitchers. In total, the number of dowitchers in the Holden area, was probably around 40 birds.

A juv northern harrier ( a 'new' bird, much more 'orangey' and generally brighter than the bird that has been present for a while), a merlin and peregrine were doing the rounds.
There were only a handful of Canada geese, and no sign of the whitefronts - so much for my prediction that they'd stick around for a bit!
Walking back along the flood bank, I noticed a small group of teal flying in and dropping into the creek.
One of them was the bird I saw the other day - blue-winged or cinnamon female/juv type.

They had joined a large group of green-winged teal on the main channel.
Keeping my distance, I 'scoped through, and eventually found the bird - pretty sure it's a juv male cinnamon teal (see pic).
Any comments to corroborate or argue against would be most welcome!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Dowitching hour

Spent the last hour and a bit of light at Holden Creek this evening. How depressing - it was getting dark by 7.15pm...
Anyhoo, there were a load of green-winged teal and a couple of pintail on the creek as I arrived. A considered check through failed to reveal anything else of note.
Newly arrived were around 40 Brewer's blackbirds, in with the starlings around the farm. Otherwise, there were very few songbirds, other than a couple of golden-crowned sparrows mucking about in the undergrowth.
Taking up my position on the viewing area (you guessed it, the tide was too high to allow a crossing - in fact I even tried to see if the 'winter' route was clear yet but the brambles are still too dense to get through, so I'll have to carry on crossing at low tide for the foreseeable future) I scanned over the marsh. A tight bundle of shorebirds were busy in a small muddy pool. I counted 34 long-billed dowitcher, and single greater yellowlegs and western sandpiper with them. They were quite a way out, but I got a bit of footage of the sewing-machinesque feeding frenzy. As you can see below.
A red-tailed hawk was keeping vigil in one of the dead trees and a lone pileated woodpecker came through.
The Canada geese were feeding in the furthest field, behind the hedge, thus preventing me from seeing whether the whitefronts were still around. While I was scanning through the waders, the steady honk of some Canadas implied a few were taking off, then I heard the lovely call of the white-fronted geese as they joined the airborne flock. I got quite nostalgic at the sound - used, as I am, to the calls of multitudes of grey geese. Lovely. The family party of five, headed out toward the estuary though I suspect they might well be back in the fields tomorrow.  

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Late nighthawk, early...

No birding, as such, today but I did see a single common nighthawk flying over the office in downtown Nanaimo around 4.45pm. Presumably a late migrant, it wasn't feeding but heading determinedly south.
Oh, and a red-necked grebe again, down by Mafeo-Sutton Park at lunchtime.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

What's Good for the Goose...

Managed a quick 40 minutes down at Holden Creek en route home this evening.
The creek adjacent to the main footpath was teeming with green-winged teal. Approximately 80 birds in total, plus a pair of pintail. I couldn't find anything else among them, but when they flew I picked up a female/eclipse/juv type blue-winged or cinnamon in among them. Unfortunately they flew out onto the marsh, after a couple of spirals, and I was unable to locate the bird from the viewing point. Darn it.
There were no waders to be seen.

A family party (2 ads, 3 juvs) of white-fronted geese (pictured) were in the cattle field, where just under 100 Canadas were also feeding.
The brush was quiet as far as passerine migrants were concerned though a flock of some 50 American pipits came in high from behind me, dropping eventually into the ploughed field.
The juv northern harrier was hunting out at the back of the marsh, and fields.
A hairy woodpecker was kicking around.   

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes...

Quite a bit quieter down at the Nanaimo River estuary this evening.
No American goldfinches, and just a handful of savannah sparrows - quite a contrast from yesterday.
Still good numbers of white-crowned sparrows, with a few golden-crowned, and a couple of Lincoln's sparrows around the large oak and platform areas.
Just the northern harrier (juv) and a merlin, raptor-wise. A single orange-crowned warbler was in the hawthorns, plus a couple of purple finches. Of course, northern flicker, spotted towhees, song sparrows, Bewick's wren and such were also seen, as usual.
A lesser yellowlegs and a belted kingfisher were on the river.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Bad weather - good birds

Well, it just about drizzled, rained and lashed it down all day Sunday.
But of course, that did little to deter me from getting out. Indeed, Jenny joined me as I did my almost birdless Coastal Waterbird Survey down to Jack Point. The only really notable waterbirds were a flock of 47 greater scaup which flew in and landed on the water.
Equally notable were the numerous yellow-rumped warblers moving through, along with a few orange-crowned warblers and many savannah sparrows, plus a few white-crowneds. A couple of barn swallows were keeping low to the path in the drizzle.

Later, I headed to Holden Creek for a soggy trundle. There had been something of an arrival of dowitchers, with a small group feeding on the near marsh, and latterly the creek (pictured) - all those I heard were long-billed, though one bird in the small flock looked like a short-billed.
Another group of 15 passed noisily over and later an impressive gaggle of at least 40 were flying high around over the marsh.
The only other shorebirds were a single lesser yellowlegs and 3 western sandpiper.
The juv northern harrier, a merlin and red-tailed hawk provided all the raptor excitement.
There were savannah sparrows everywhere - many hundreds in the area in total. Scanning the freshly ploughed field (thankfully sans hounds) there was a slowly moving carpet of savannahs, with good numbers of American pipits in there too. I couldn't find any Lapland longspurs / buntings or larks, though the field is pretty darned big and even the nearest birds were difficult to see well between the muddy furrows. A couple of Lincoln's and 2 golden-crowned sparrows were along the path, among 20+ white-crowned sparrows.

Today's news...

On my lunchtime stroll down to the waterfront I saw my first 'post-breeding' horned and red-necked grebes. Also a yellow warbler was with a handful of chestnut-backed chickadees in the park. 

I dropped in at the Nanaimo River estuary on my way home from work, pretty nice now that the rain and subsided. Again, there were heaps of savannah sparrows around plus good numbers of white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrows. A flock of some 30 American goldfinch were feeding near the parking area. At least 2 Lincoln's sparrows were seen.
A party of 6 American pipit were feeding around the edge of the 'kidney pools'.
A few purple finch were feeding on blackberries alongside the house finches. The big oak held a party of noisy northern flickers.  
Raptors were well represented with the juv northern harrier, a juv Cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk, merlin and an American kestrel was a great sight (my first here since spring passage).
A flock of peeps were flying around way out, and a lone lesser yellowlegs was on the river.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Calls of the Wild

The most notable thing about my morning trawl around the Nanaimo River estuary, was coming to the grim conclusion that, as utterly thrilling as autumn birding may be, it can also be extremely frustrating. In particular, as a relative newcomer to Vancouver Island, the unidentifiable calls of overhead passerines was really galling. No more meadow pipits and wagtails for me, now it's all, well, I don't know!
Despite my frantically scribing poorly rendered vocalisations in my notebook, I came out with nothing. God only knows what was flying over my head...
Equally frustrating was the golden plover sp. that I could clearly hear, but couldn't locate - it was obviously flying but could I find it? No. No, I couldn't.
Okay, now to the birds that kindly showed themselves to me.
A flock of 7 long-billed dowitcher were flushed from the river by a marauding sharp-shinned hawk, and a further pair were roosting on the marsh.
A single orange-crowned warbler, the first I've seen for ages, was in the bushes around the platform. Around 60-70 savannah sparrows were in the area.
The juv northern harrier, an osprey and a merlin were also kicking around, and numerous turkey vultures were moving through.
A cloud of barn swallows, incidentally heading north (huh?), contained a pair of late violet-green swallows.
Hoping that the tide would have dropped enough to allow access to the marsh, I headed for Holden Creek. The shrubbery along the path was quite lively - at least 2 Lincoln's sparrows and my first golden-crowned sparrow of the fall were among a group of savannah and white-crowned. A couple of common yellowthroat, several chestnut-backed chickadees, a Bewick's wren, northern flickers, red-breasted nuthatches and song sparrows were also in the 'hood.
A female pintail was with a pair of mallard on the creek. Out on the marsh a couple of large wet German shepherds were running around proving either that they'd already flushed everything, or that there was nothing much to flush. 8 green-winged teal were the only things that spooked.
The farmer's fields appeared to be alive with loads of sparrows and such, but the creek was still too high to cross and the dogs were slightly off-putting too, to be honest...

* Oh, I forgot to mention - there seemed to be Steller's jays all over the place today. It seemed like everywhere I went, I was seeing ones and twos.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Morning Glory

Got up at first light this morning, and headed down to the Nanaimo River estuary for a bit of a migrant-seeking session. 
It took some doing to be honest; the birds weren't exactly coming thick and fast, and it didn't really get going until after 7am. The light was lovely, and the view to Mount Benson was pretty impressive (see pic).
The distinct call of yellow-rumped warbler alerted me to 4 birds as they dropped from the sky and landed in the long hedge. They didn't stay long as a Cooper's hawk soon came skimming along and send them flying.
A common yellowthroat was in among a group of savannah and white-crowned sparrows, plus a lone Lincoln's.
The juv northern harrier put in an appearance, and stayed around long enough to allow me grab a snap.
A second, large juvenile Cooper's hawk, came through and landed briefly on the viewing platform.
A greater yellowlegs was calling somewhere out on the estuary.
A pair of yellow warbler then dropped out of the blue and fed briefly in a small hawthorn before taking of again.
Another couple of Lincoln's sparrows were in the brambles below the platform with 4 purple finch and several WC sparrows. Another 3 were similarly, with WC & savannah sparrows beneath the big oak.
16 American wigeon flew over, heading roughly south and a belted kingfisher was rattling away on the river. All in all, there was a bit going on, but not quite as much as I'd hoped for. Oh well, there's plenty of autumn left...

After work, Jenny and I had a walk down to Hemer Park. There wasn't a great deal to see, though I counted 30 American wigeon and 3 pintail on the pool, along with the obligatory wood ducks, mallards and 3 green-winged teal. A pair of pied-billed grebe were on the big lake, and we came across this striking partial albino American robin. Quite a looker!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

That Was The Weekend That Was

Crumbs - I've a bit of catching up to do...

So, Friday morning I headed off to the Nanaimo River estuary for a spot of pre-work spotting.
Arrived to find the place positively jumping with sparrows. I estimated around 100 birds in the area of the weedy field approaching the big oak, and the crab-apples and hawthorns beyond the tree. The majority were white-crowned and savannah, but I saw up to 8 Lincoln's too. There were also a couple of song sparrows and house finches loosely associating with them. By 8am, they'd all but melted away.
One each of willow and what looked like a Pacific-slope flycatcher were seen as were a number of cedar waxwings. A lone common yellowthroat also put in an appearance.
A number of mallard and a dozen or so green-winged teal were on the river, as were California, mew and glaucous-winged gulls.

Island Life

We headed over to Newcastle Island on Saturday, for a couple of days camping. Didn't really do a lot of birding but I did see my first 'fall' fox sparrow, and of course, plenty of black oystercatchers. Otherwise, I had to get excited about a lone black-throated grey warbler amongst a chickadee/nuthatch flock and not much else. I did, however, get a mammal tick. Black rat. Rattus rattus. Or roof rat, as I believe it is called in Canada. These things are pretty scarce these days in Britain, and only a few colonies on offshore islands guarantee sightings. I don't think they're very widespread in Canada, to be honest, and I was rather enchanted by this rodent. A lot prettier than the brown (Norwegian) rat, this fellow spent a good deal of time in our camp.

New Mooney On Monday

Popped down to Holden Creek after I returned from a damp Newcastle Island on Monday (a statutory holiday here in good old Canuckland). Bumped into Rich Mooney, who saved me the job of creeping out over the marsh, he himself having just done so. Cheers Rich! He hadn't seen a thing. Other than the handful of least and western sandpipers that were feeding in the sluiced creek right by the path. Well, that's not strictly true, he'd seen the usual merlin, red-tailed hawk etc.
So, we decided to head around to Raines Rd, and to check the estuary there.
It wasn't too birdy, but we had a decent trundle around in our search for avian thrills. Just as we arrived back near the big oak, we flushed a collared dove. Being naturally utterly unimpressed by this species, we didn't really look at it - just acknowledged its presence.
It landed in a weed-filled gravel area a short distance away, so while Rich went to photograph a Lincoln's sparrow in the hawthorns, I decided to check out the dove. With mentions by Guy Monty of hybrid dove species, I thought I might as well have a look at the thing, having only seen one collared dove at this site previously.
Unfortunately the bird flushed again, at distance. By the time I got my bins on it, it was almost over the river but I got the distinct impression of a scaley mantle and a diamond shaped tail. Buggar! Was this my first Vancouver Island mourning dove? I hadn't noticed whether it had dark primaries, or much else to be honest, and Rich couldn't recall noticing either when we first glanced at it with the naked eye. With mourning dove off my 'island radar', I didn't even consider it! That'll teach me for being sloppy... Good job it isn't a lifer.


A post-work wander revealed little this evening. The juv northern harrier was hunting over the flooded marsh, while up to a dozen great-blue herons searched for prey in the boggy channels. I didn't see a single shorebird.
I met another birder, by the name of Joyce, who was visiting the Nanaimo estuary for the first time. Hopefully, another pair of regular eyes down here will help add a few decent sightings in the coming weeks.         


Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Baird's Necessities Of Life Will Come To Me

Bit of a weird tide this evening - at its lowest it was still pretty high, making creek-crossing a rather tricky affair.
In fact, I couldn't get over when I first arrived at Holden Creek around 6pm, so I decided to scan from the raised viewing area. A willow flycatcher and common yellowthroat were mucking around in the vegetation and good numbers of American goldfinch were whizzing around.
At first, it looked pretty dead out there until a small flock of waders flew in. Eventually, they landed on the wet mud and I was able to determine that the group was made up of 12 least and 9 western sandpipers.
Scanning over the marsh, it seemed pretty birdless. Then I noticed a couple of shorebirds some 250 metres, or so, away. One was probably a least, but the other was larger... and feeding very slowly and deliberately. It was facing me head-on, appeared short legged and quite 'oval' bodied, but with the sun behind it and at that range, I couldn't really be sure what it was. Could it be the Baird's I've been hoping for?
After a while it turned to present its profile. It looked pretty long winged - surely a Baird's? That feeding behaviour, and profile all pointed to it.
Thinking 'Sod the water, I'm going to get closer.' I cautiously waded through the creek, the rank water about half an inch from the top of my wellies... then had to cross another equally deep channel before arriving, dry on the other side.
Creeping around the edge of the marsh, I finally got the sun behind me and relocated the bird. Bingo! At last! Juvenile Baird's sandpiper. What a cracking bird too.

Plenty of birds, too little time.

I dropped by at the Nanaimo River estuary (Raines Road) briefly on my home yesterday evening (Wed).
The juvenile northern harrier was hunting over the marsh, and a merlin was patrolling the long hedge. An adult bald eagle was cruising up and down the river. A couple of hooded merganser were on the water.
There were willow flycatchers feeding by the large oak, and again near the viewing platform. A common yellowthroat was lurking around in the brambles.
A flock of 28 pintail came over.
At 6.20pm, a common nighthawk flopped low over my head, and soon there were 6 hawking over the area.
Unfortunately, I was on a short leash and had to leave, but it certainly feels like autumn down there. Be interesting to see what movers through in the next few weeks.

* Again, a black swift was over Cedar later in the evening.