Saturday, 15 January 2011

Not-so-great-blue heron

My only window of birding opportunity today coincided with the onset of rain, early afternoon.
I headed first to Holden Creek.
Among 300ish American wigeon dabbling in the wet fields by the farm was a single drake Eurasian wigeon. A small group of 7 trumpeter swans were also here along with several Canada geese. Further out in the fields were more wigeon and a couple of hundred green-winged teal. I couldn't locate any common teal among them.
Other than a handful of gadwall, the only birds out on the flooded marsh were a few mallard and pintail. Then I noticed an American coot on the creek - certainly the first I've seen here.

The Nanaimo River estuary was calling, so I headed down to Raines Road.
A couple of brace of dogless hunters were out on the marsh, but there was little actual shooting going on, just one failed attempt at bringing down a passing bufflehead.

Late blue heron
A more convincing dead bird concerned a deceased great blue heron (pictured), strangely found under a small tree.
It was a fairly fresh corpse, and there were no obvious signs of cause of death. It did appear to rather emaciated, so perhaps it had starved?   
The estuary was pretty quiet, and I trudged around vainly in search of interesting birds.
A single female northern harrier made a brief, and most welcome, appearance.
I spent a fair bit of time scrutinising both the large dark-eyed junco and golden-crowned sparrow flocks, but I couldn't find anything of note in with them. Just the attendant song sparrows, towhees and a couple of chickadees added some variety.

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