Sunday, 20 March 2011

Raving About Ravens

The sun was shining, the sky was a welcoming shade of blue and despite the rather chilly wind it was a great day to be outdoors.
After a few essential chores, Jenny and I found ourselves at Neck Point where the stiff sea breeze and bright sunshine made a beach trek quite invigorating. Hundreds of gulls were wheeling around the area, and packs of sealions were porpoising close offshore. All the ones that we saw were California sealions, in contrast to yesterday's Steller's sealions just down the coast at Jack Point.
Flocks of surf scoter were passing over the waves, and a few harlequin ducks were feeding around the rocky bluffs. A small group of shorebirds included dunlin, black-bellied plover and black turnstone. A single wind-buffeted Anna's hummingbird whizzed by.

Later, once more important tasks had been tended to, I headed out to the Nanaimo River estuary. I arrived to find Lynne and John Thibault in the parking area, having come up from Victoria to look for short-eared owls. They had had considerable success, and as we were chatting the owl hunted over the fields in plain view.
Among the birds Lynne and John had seen were two scarlet macaws! I can only imagine that someone somewhere is regretting opening that window to let in a bit of spring air...
I had a good scout around the estuary area, but didn't see much more than the short-eared owl and a couple of northern harrier (male and female).
Ravens. as always were constant companions, and for once I decided not to ignore these amazing birds and took a couple of snaps of a pair on the marsh. Many of the ravens are now paired up and can be seen and, especially, heard all around the area.
Few birds have a relationship with people as deep-rooted and mythical as the raven. From ancient European and Middle Eastern fables to Native American folklore, these impressive and uncannily intelligent corvids have inspired humankind for millennia.

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