Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Walking In A Whimbrel Wonderland

The wind had turned a little too much to the west for my liking when I got up this morning, but I headed down to the grounds of Government House nonetheless - just in case.
Passing the solitaire's hangout, I noticed that the holly was almost completely bereft of berries, and that the bird was nowhere to be seen. Not so surprising.
As I trawled the Woodland Trail, I was increasingly aware of the apparent lack of new birds and the only migrants noted were a couple of Wilson's warblers and a hermit thrush, along with the regular orange-crowned warblers. Both adult Cooper's hawks came out to play, but otherwise it was pretty quiet and I found myself at home by 8.45am.

Later, after some work and a few more job applications dealt with, Jenny and I took a walk down to the waterfront and followed Beach Drive, through the golf course (no whimbrels, but lots of golfers) up to Oak Bay Marina. While sat on a bench enjoying a cup of tea at the evocatively titled Turkey Head, we watched as a bald eagle flew across from one of the islands clutching a nearly fledged gull. Lovely.
Soon after, the distinctive call of a whimbrel alerted me to a single bird flying by, heading due south, low over the water. I believe that may well be the first I've seen on the island, and certainly the first hudsonicus I've seen anywhere for a few years.
Used as I am to seeing the nominate race back in the UK, it was great to see this bird in flight, showing the diagnostic features of this distinctive form. It made the considerable walk back along Oak Bay Ave to Rocklands that bit more bearable!

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