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.

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