Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Early Trundle Around The Parish

Started off the morning with a maiden visit to the Chinese Cemetery, just to check it out, following Ian Cruikshank's recent advice on the BCVIBirds forum.
It certainly has all the appeal of good vagrant passerine habitat! Unfortunately no on told the birds, and the place was conspicuously quiet. At least there was quite a bit of stuff off-shore to divert me.

The usual pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets (terrible pic attached!), harlequin ducks, surf scoters and pelagic and double-crested cormorants were all present in reasonable numbers, as were the expected gull species. The latter were augmented by 5 fly-by Bonaparte's gulls, looking smart in their summer garb.
I headed along the coast to Clover Point, ever mindful that I needed to get there in advance of the joggers and dog-walkers.
Talking of which, what is with the hound-lovers?
Do they set off from the house while it's still dark? It's almost impossible to find a bit of potentially decent birding habitat that hasn't got some old dear and her beloved yappy hooligans trampling all over it... 
Anyway, it was still early and the point car park had fewer than 6 vehicles parked up when I got there. Scanning the rocks I counted 21 black turnstone and 2 black oystercatchers.
A river otter was gamboling around and as I checked offshore I noticed a couple of porpoise and a sealion sp. breaking the surface.
Also out at sea were 19 brent, with another pair flying by. Again, the usual alcids and ducks were all visible and a further flock of 16 Bonaparte's gulls joined a throng of activity offshore, where I noticed another one of those very bleached out mew gulls.
On the beach there were 26 dunlin feeding along the tideline close to a bunch of harlequin ducks.
Just before 8am I decided it was time to go and look for some migrant songbirds, so I headed for Government House.
Highlights of a trundle around the garry oaks and woodland path included a neat hermit thrush and a couple of singing orange-crowned warblers, but no other obvious arrivals. The usual red-breasted nuthatches, towhees, Bewick's wrens, Anna's hummingbirds and such were all making themselves known.
I found a couple of active nests - as unalike as it's possible to get. One, the neat and delicate moss and web woven structure that is a bushtit's exquisite creation, the other a large bundle of precarious sticks and the handy work of a Cooper's hawk.    

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