Monday, 25 April 2011

One Good Tern...

After a drizzly night I woke to find that it was still grey and overcast this morning, with lovely showers to entice me out. I had toyed with the idea of going to Oak Bay Marina to see if I could locate the rock sandpiper reported from there yesterday, but the lure of a few fallen migrants proved too strong and I headed off to the Government House grounds.

Well, what a poor decision that turned out to be! After covering the area as diligently as I could, and finding little more than a single Lincoln's sparrow, I started to think about that sandpiper... and by 8am I was heading home to get the car and head off to the coast.

It took less than 10 minutes to get there, and the rain really stepped up its game. I spent a good hour scouring the rocks to the north and south of the marina but failed to find any rock sandpipers. Three distant summer plumage dunlin momentarily caught my attention, and a group of 8 black turnstone did their best to compensate but frankly, failed.
Now, I'm not too prone to chasing ticks much these days, but I've never seen rock sandpiper and it's one of only 5 or 6 North American shorebirds that I haven't seen, so I was a little disappointed not to connect with it, but hey - it's not like I won't come across one sooner or later. Sooner would be nicer, though.
On the plus side, I did get a 'year-tick' while I was out there getting soaked. A pair of majestic Caspian terns came by, improving my mood a little... 

Me, atop Moss Rock - looking windswept and uninteresting.
Later, after I'd done my daily quota of work and washing up, Jenny and I decided to walk down to Moss Rock Park - just to check it out. The views are great; looking south across Juan De Fuca Strait to the US, and the impressive mountains of Olympic National Park, and north back toward Government House.
I can imagine it being a great spot for grounded migrants in the right conditions - for the first hour or so of daylight, after which I expect they would melt away or simply re-orientate themselves and continue moving in whichever direction they should be going.  

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