Sunday, 23 January 2011
Birding Out Of Area
Jenny was looking forward to some sunshine and a relaxing few days in good company. I, naturally was thinking about the handful of potential new birds I could possibly see without it interfering too much with everyone else's plans.
A very long day traveling to Tampa, involving the 5.15am ferry from Duke Point, Nanaimo and a 11.15pm arrival time meant that Saturday was a birdless affair, with the exception of a few northern harriers seen at Tsawassen and Vancouver Airport.
After a late night (early morning) catching up and imbibing a few ales, we awoke Sunday morning to bright sunshine. Following a leisurely breakfast we took a stroll along the beach to nearby John's Pass. On the way we encountered good numbers of ring-billed and laughing gulls, royal and Forster's terns, brown pelicans (pictured) and sanderlings. The occasional ruddy turnstones, willet, American herring gulls and black-bellied plovers also put in appearances along the water's edge.
Scanning over the channel at John's Pass, I added a few more species to the list including great egret, double-crested cormorant and, always a treat, black skimmer. Then I spotted a bird that has been eluding me for years - American oystercatcher. Somehow or another, this distinctive and common wader has managed to go unseen by me, until now. About time too!
We also encountered boat-tailed grackles and belted kingfishers, plus numerous Eurasian collared and mourning doves.
By a bird rehabilitation centre at Indian Shores, there were also gathered many wild birds, obviously tuned into the fact that easy pickings might be had. These included common species such as black and turkey vultures, great-blue heron, white ibis, black-crowned night heron (pictured) and snowy egret.
Later, near our temporary home at Madeira Beach, we were treated to views of loggerhead shrike, osprey, tricolored heron and green heron (pictured).
All in all, given that I wasn't really birding, I had a pretty good day, ave-wise. It was great to re-familiarise myself with a few species that I haven't seen for a few years, and better still, I got a world tick on day one!