Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Swan-ee River

Spent the first 40 minutes or so of daylight down at the Nanaimo River estuary this morning.
On the way to the parking area, I pulled over for a quick look at a group of 18 Barrow's goldeneye, new in on the river.
Going through the many, many glaucous-winged gulls on the shingle banks, I picked out a 'decent' herring gull. Small numbers of Californian gulls were floating around over the marsh.
From the viewing platform, I could see large rafts of American wigeon at the estuary mouth, while green-winged teal, mallard, pintail, common merganser and hooded mergansers made up the remaining wildfowl.
A small flock of cackling geese passed over, and the large white blob floating on the sea turned out not to be my first wild swan of the season, but a mute swan. Pah.
3 different northern harriers made appearances, and the ever-singing northern shrike kept me entertained while I scanned the marshes.
A noisy greater yellowlegs, eventually showed, and flew off in the direction of Holden Creek. 
I couldn't locate anything out of the ordinary among the small flock of chestnut-backed chickadees, or various sparrow groups.

After work, I returned to the estuary. In the half hour of fading light, I clocked a single juv northern harrier, and the short-eared owl emerged just after 6pm. It showed well again, and even treated me to views of effortless vole catching.
My disappointment at finding that crappy mute swan this morning was eclipsed by the sight of 13 trumpeter swans flying over, heading south.

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