Saturday, 30 April 2011

Flycatchers and Deer and Racoons, Oh My!

I was hopeful, thanks to the overcast skies, that this morning might prove more fruitful than the past couple of days and I headed off to have a walk around the grounds of Government House at 7am.
A band-tailed pigeon was sat up in the trees near the back car park, indicating that there was at last some migrant movement. 

The deer photographed here was more intent on keeping its eye on the dog being walked past - I offered little threat, obviously.  
As I carefully and slowly made my way along the trails, stopping for the occasional bout of pishing, I soon realised that I wasn't going to find myself in the midst of an historic fall of epic proportions. A hermit thrush showed and a couple of skulking golden-crowned sparrows emerged from the brush but otherwise it was business as usual for the most part.  
I continued to pish, make pygmy owl noises and tweak my rustic 'Audubon Bird Call' as I made my way along the path and eventually got some response from a yellow-rumped warbler. I looked up, it was a female.
Then another bird caught my eye up on a snag. It was an empidonax flycatcher - nice, my first of the year. 
It flitted between a large fir and the exposed branches of an adjacent garry oak, keeping mainly in the upper reaches.
It looked like a Hammond's flycatcher, then it called, further confirming it. Phew. That was easier than it could have been!

As I was grilling this small empid, a rather cumbersome racoon (pictured) came along to check me out. I'm sure that long-time residents and natives of this fair land are ambivalent about these mammals, but I have to say I'm still very much charmed by them... 

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