Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sunday service

Jenny joined me for my Coastal Bird Survey jaunt down to Jack Point, on the eastern edge of the Nanaimo River estuary this morning.
The weather was kind, bright and just a little cool. There weren't too many birds to count, unfortunately. Perhaps the usual rafts of dabbling ducks that I've seen off here were safely feeding around the estuary edges and in the creeks now that the shooting is over. As a result, the count was restricted to a few greater scaup, red-breasted mergansers, common goldeneye, buffleheads, loons, horned grebes and the like.

Later, I took a stroll down to Hemer Park. On my way along Hemer Road a dazzling male evening grosbeak flew across the road in front of me, only to disappear into so trees. I heard it, or another grosbeak, call a couple of times but I was unable to relocate it. There were good numbers of juncos also flitting backward and forwards, so presumably it was visiting neighbourhood feeders with other common garden birds. Having had a couple of grosbeaks fly over my yard about 3 weeks ago, and noticing that there was mention of a local sighting on the Nanaimo bird forum recently, it was good to know that there are some hanging around the Cedar area. Thus far, they've stubbornly refused to visit my feeders...
There wasn't much going on in Hemer itself. On the pool, there were 26 trumpeter swans, plus several ring-necked ducks, and hooded and common mergansers.
While there, I had a chat with a couple who mentioned a large number of swans in nearby fields. Cue, a leisurely walk home followed by a dash to Adshead Road is search of said Cygnus.

I soon found the swans in question, not too tricky given that there were approximately 300 of them in a roadside field. I pulled into the farm driveway and positioned myself so that I could comfortably check through them all (tundra swans and ringed/collared trumpeters on my mind...).
Unfortunately, within a few seconds a pair of boisterous hounds appeared, either by unfortunate coincidence or mean-spirited design. Anyhoo, the result was the same; a swan exodus ensued. And, while the sight of multiple airborne birds can be thrilling, it was bloody irritating in this particular instance. Among the large white throng, was a flock of 26 greater white-fronted geese. Oh, and a cock pheasant did its customary panicky dance running for cover to a nearby hedgerow. 

I returned home via Quennel Lake. Not too much out on the main body of water - the usual common mergansers, buffleheads, common goldneye and lesser scaup were all present and correct.

Scanning through the dabbling duckies, of which the majority were pintail, I noticed my old friend the intergrade drake green-winged/Eurasian teal. Then I noticed another, curious teal with no white vertical stripe and only the faintest hint of a horizontal stripe (both birds together, right, in the pic). And then I saw a pure, classic drake common (Eurasian) teal, complete with striking face pattern (also pictured).
The ABA doesn't recognize this form as a 'species', but the BOU does. And I know which one I side with...!
With that I headed off home, reasonably pleased with the day's events.
Birding; it's not always exactly amazing, but it's always rewarding and a couple of surprises are often waiting to be discovered.

No comments:

Post a Comment