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!

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