After a birding-free weekend in Vancouver I was pleased to see that my old mucker Rich Mooney had been down to the Nanaimo estuary in my absence and got amazing views of 4 short-eared owls. He also bagged meadowlarks, northern shrike and harriers - as expected. See Rich's blog post at his brilliant birding blog.
Having got so used to only ever seeing chestnut-backed chickadees here on Vancouver Island, I was quite taken aback by the sight of a small flock of black-capped chickadees mucking about in some shrubbery on Granville Street, in the heart of downtown. I forgot they were the common tit on the mainland! The ferry back yesterday wasn't much to write home about - the usual surf scoters, common murres, rhinoceros auklets, common loons and the expected gulls and cormorants, etc.
Jenny drew my attention to a varied thrush by our feeders this morning, the first we've had in the yard this season. There were actually 3 thrushes, plus a Steller's jay, numerous juncos and the afore-mentioned chestnut-backed chickadees.
On my lunchtime stroll down to a bitterly nippy and drizzly waterfront, there was a flock of around 50 common goldeneye by the crabbing pier. Not much else though, a couple of red-breasted mergansers and a few bufflehead.