Thursday, 24 March 2011

Nanaimo Estuary Springs To Life

Another fine morning, and another early jaunt down to the estuary...
It was quite hard work today though, and the saving grace provided by the impressive sight of the migrating swans and geese witnessed earlier in the week was, of course, completely absent.

nanaimo river estuary
I arrived at the end of Raines Road just before 7.30am, and other than a couple of American robins muttering away, it was all quiet. Over the next half hour it picked up only slightly, with Bewick's wrens and song sparrows adding to the morning chorus.
I had a good trundle around hoping to come across something interesting, passing through.
I didn't.
There were 3 northern harriers seen in total, the usual male and female plus a 1st year bird. There were no owls on show.
A couple of noisy belted kingfisher rattled around the area and a lone brown-headed cowbird represented the only 'vis' as it flew high over, calling. A couple of tree swallows twittered around the nest boxes.
Then suddenly, just around 8.10am things really picked up. A pair of western meadowlark appeared, and one started to sing, then it seemed as if someone had emptied a bucket of robins out, with several darting about the place.
Next up was a northern shrike, which appeared from nowhere - presumably another migrant, as there haven't been any in residence here for the last few months.
And finally, to really add a bit of spring magic, the sound of a greater yellowlegs emanated from the river, soon followed by the gangly wader itself, as it rose up and flew off over the marsh.
Despite the encouraging upsurge in activity, I had to leave and go and earn some rent money...

After work, I made a brief stop at the Nanaimo River estuary again on my way home. the shrike was still in much the same area, singing its little heart out. Sadly, the video below does little justice to its delightful, jumbled song.
The only other thing of note was a solitary short-eared owl.

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