Saturday: With just a small window of birding opportunity open to me today, I squeezed in a brief visit to Holden Creek and the Nanaimo River estuary.
At the estuary, I could find no sign of interesting passerine migrants, and so contented myself with picking through the large numbers of violet-green and tree swallows in search of other hirundine species. I didn't locate any.
The only new bird I came across was a female American kestrel, which was hunting distantly in the adjacent scrubby fields (pictured). A female northern harrier was cruising around the marsh, and good numbers of thermaling bald eagles and ravens were joined by a couple of red-tailed hawks.
Sunday: Once again, other commitments (and something of a fuzzy hangover) meant that my birding time was limited. And, once again, I headed for the estuary in search of avian goodies. However, it was absolutely dead down there, with no evidence of any passage birds.
After a good scan around, I eventually located a peregrine perched up on a stranded log, and a female northern harrier floated by.
Disappointed, I decided to try Holden Creek. Just about the first bird seen here was a smart yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon's) - well, that was at least more encouraging!
Scanning the creek, I could only see a few green-winged teal and a couple of bufflehead. A couple of turkey vultures sailed by and a male northern harrier was circling high over the marsh.
Before heading home we dropped by at Quennell Lake, passing the regular male American kestrel, sat on a telegraph pole, as we drove along.
The numbers of northern shoveler had gone up slightly and 18 birds were feeding in a frenzied huddle.
A flock of 62 lesser scaup and 2 ring-necked duck were on the main lake while a few mallard, teal and pintail were dabbling in the shallower vegetated edges. A Virginia rail called, but kept well hidden.
Well over 100 swallows were feeding out over the water and a northern shrike was hunting from fenceposts in the fields by the road.