Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Blues Are Still Blue

I managed to drag myself out of bed nice and early this morning, realizing that the overnight rain had stopped.
What transient goodies might be lurking undetected down at the estuary?
What amazing spectacle of migration might I witness in the first hour of daylight?
These are the sorts of things that rattle through my fugged brain as I contemplate resetting the alarm for another hour...
But no! You've got to be in to win it, as they say, and given that I have only a few days remaining as a Nanaimo resident, and I shall have to wave goodbye to my beloved, adopted patch, I headed off to the estuary full of my customary optimism.
As ever, it didn't quite work out as planned and I spent a good hour and a bit desperately searching for something of interest to cast by bins upon.
I eventually rooted out a northern shrike, who showed well for a while and even treated me to some weird buzzing sounds.
The regular female northern harrier put in an appearance, but no other raptors were seen, except the ubiquitous bald eagles. 
Good numbers of violet-green swallow were in residence, and as I scanned though in search of other hirundine species I only saw a few tree swallows.

common teal
Checking the ducks on the river, I noticed a drake common teal (pictured) among some green-winged teal, gadwall, American wigeon, mallard and common mergansers.
A gaggle of Canada geese came through low, and among them were 5 greater white-fronted geese. I presume these are the Holden Creek birds either out for a spin, or starting to head off north... 

On my way home from an exciting day in the office, I decided to drop by at the aforementioned Holden Creek for a wee nosey around.
It was pretty quiet, with very few birds on the creek or around the marsh. Checking the fields and fenceposts, there were at least 30 American robins kicking around and then I noticed something blue on the ground.
Was it a windblown wrapper from a chocolate bar, or a discarded crisp packet?

mountain bluebird
No. It wasn't.
It was a mountain bluebird, of course.
I expect it's the same one I saw here on Sunday, rather than a new bird.
Anyway, as it was again so far away, I only managed the poorest of pics - as demonstrated here. Through my 'scope it looked lovely and bright and sharp, but in the fading light with a compact digital camera held shakily in front of the eyepiece, it appears less so.
I think Mike Yip will sleep soundly tonight.


  1. Nice find on the MOBL Jon! Beauty!

  2. Cheers Rich - I'm really hoping for a Say's phoebe... but I'm running out of time if I want to find one at the estuary! I'm really going to miss that patch. Catch you soon, mate!