Monday, 4 April 2011

Cedar round-up

Early this morning, singles of both peregrine and Cooper's hawk were seen over the house.
After an essential visit down to Victoria this morning, we got back to Cedar mid afternoon.
Despite the persistent drizzle and grotty conditions, I found a couple of hours to go for a quick trawl around my favoured patches.
I started out at Holden Creek. Out in the fields, the usual party of 5 greater white-fronted geese were back with the gaggle of resident Canadas. Other than a few mallard, green-winged teal, common mergansers and a pair of bufflehead it was pretty quiet.
In the distance, a raven was mobbing a female northern harrier and a couple of juv. bald eagles were sat around, looking damp and bedraggled.
I then took off for the Nanaimo River estuary to see whether there were any decent soggy birds in residence. It was incredibly, incredibly quiet. The most interesting sighting concerned what was almost certainly the largest gadwall flock I've seen down here - 42 birds in total.  Otherwise, highlights included a Lincoln's sparrow among the golden-crowneds, 2 northern harriers (smart male included) and good numbers of violet-green swallows.
So, slightly dejected I headed for Quennell Lake for a spot of duck spotting. There were no unusual aythyas among the 40 or so lesser scaup on the main lake, the only other species being a couple of ring-necked ducks. In the shallower areas there were a few pintail, shoveler and a nice drake common teal among the numerous green-wingeds.
I couldn't locate any other species than violet-green and tree among the 100s of swallows feeding over the water. A northern shrike was hunting from fence-posts in the adjacent fields and a yellow-rumped warbler flitted through the nearby shrubbery.

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