Sunday, 17 October 2010

Benefits of jet-lag...

Still a little upside down from the effects of jet-lag I woke pretty early and decided, after an hour of tossing and turning, to go for a wander around the Nanaimo River estuary.
Naturally, I had the place to myself for the first couple of hours of daylight.
The various sparrow and finch flocks were rather small and scattered and consequently pretty difficult to go through systematically. However, a concerted effort revealed little among the juncos, house & purple finches and golden-crowned & song sparrows. There are very few white-crowned sparrows around now, all juvs, and the only other species seen were two Lincoln's sparrows, and singles of savannah and fox sparrow. The latter was singing.
Several parties of red-winged blackbird passed over, with a few dropping in. 
A pair of merlin and a Cooper's hawk were doing their best to disrupt my passerine search...
From the observation platform I could see a group of 8 adult snow geese out on the marsh to the west of the river mouth.
Good numbers of American wigeon plus a few mallard and common merganser were on the river, as was a single hooded merganser. 6 killdeer were gathered on the gravel bank.
A single Thayer's gull was among the many glaucous-winged gulls on the river.
I accidentally flushed long-billed dowitcher from the creek behind the long hedge.

Mid-afternoon, a quick stop at Holden Creek revealed a flock of some 90 geese, a mix of white-fronted and cackling plus a lone adult snow goose.
Better still, however was my first northern shrike of the autumn.

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