Managed to drag myself out bed this morning and got a good hour of birding in before heading into Nanaimo for work.
It was sub zero and once I'd de-iced the car, I headed down to the Nanaimo River estuary for a scout around.
Practically the first bird I saw was a rather miserable looking female northern harrier, complete with a veneer of ice on her mantle. From the viewing platform, I could see the male harrier too - equally hunched and thawing out. As usual, a few eagles were cruising around, or sat loafing on tideline logs or in the riverside trees.
There were reasonable numbers of pintail and American wigeon around, plus smaller numbers of other common species of duck.
Heading back toward the big oak, I finally found some sparrows. A flock of around 30 golden-crowned sparrows and approximately 15 dark-eyed juncos were feeding together. In among them were a couple of song sparrows and a very neat little Lincoln's sparrow - the first I've seen here for quite some time.
As I was leaving, the intentions of the owner of the truck that was in the car park when I arrived was made clear, as I heard shots out toward Holden Creek. The wildfowl season may technically be over, but for some it just never ends...