Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Swallows and Warblers and Owls, Oh My!

After a busy weekend, where are combination of other priorities and some grotty weather prevented me from doing any birding of note, other than my very unremarkable Coastal Waterbirds Survey, I was delighted to get out for a bit today.

Following a necessary morning visit to Victoria, Jenny and I stopped off at Quennell Lake upon our return to Cedar. High water levels had caused most the dabblers to clear out and just 3 shoveler were seen, other than a handful of mallard. Diving ducks were slightly better, with a large raft of lesser scaup and a few common mergansers and buffleheads out on the main lake.
The regular American kestrel was showing well (pictured) and then I noticed a group of 30 or so hirundines, containing both tree and violet-green swallows, hawking distantly over the water.

Once I'd dropped Jenny off at home I headed to Holden Creek.

A mass of dabblers were in the farm fields, the majority being green-winged teal and American wigeon. A drake Eurasian wigeon was among them (pictured). A sub-adult peregrine came barreling through, and attempted a strike, but emerged from the panicking throng duckless.
Scanning through the 320ish teal just one intermediate 'common' was found.
A female northern harrier was hunting at the back of the fields and a northern shrike was patrolling the hedgerow.

The rain had fully stopped by now, so I continued on to the Nanaimo River estuary.

The river was running high and as a result few birds were on the water, just a pair of gadwall and a few bufflehead.
A short-eared owl was seen from the observation platform (pictured) and a Cooper's hawk drew unwanted attention from a party of ravens.
Walking the length of the long hedge, I came across my first yellow-rumped warbler of the spring - a spanking male Audubon's, accompanying a small flock of dark-eyed juncos.
A turkey vulture drifted lazily north.
Well, it certainly felt a little more spring-like this afternoon. Hallelujah!

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