Monday, 9 May 2011

Neat Townsend's...

Following three rather hectic but extremely enjoyable evenings (The Pixies on Thursday, and Olympic-qualifying ale swilling on Friday and Saturday nights) I needed a bit of a lie-in this morning.
Rising just after 8am, I just got on with work. By midday Jenny and I decided a stroll down to Thrifty was in order and we trolled off, finding it pleasantly mild and overcast.

Townsend's Solitaire - no, really...
On our way back, we came eye-to-eye with a Townsend's solitaire on Joan Crescent - it showed exceptionally well, just a couple of metres away from us. It was in the very same garden that the recent cedar waxwing flock had favoured, and the fruiting holly bush was the apparent reason for its current location.
The photo here is pathetic even by my usual poor standards, and is helped even less by the fact that I forgot to take it off black and white mode before shooting. Genius. 
Delighted with this unexpected year-tick we headed home where I was rather surprised to spot a hermit thrush under, then in, the apple tree outside the kitchen window. It then struck me that perhaps I should have been out early...
Half an hour later, and I couldn't concentrate on my work for thinking about what other grounded migrant might be lurking in the neighbourhood. So, I set off to the Government House grounds in search of avian delights.
Now, by this time it was mid-afternoon and quite possibly the worst time of the day for finding birds. Add to that the Crufts-esque parade, the walkers, the cyclists and what-not and my expectations lowered significantly as I set off along the trails. Almost immediately, I located a Hammond's flycatcher and watched it at close quarters as it sallied from the garry oaks just below the car park. 
Along the lower path I caught some movement high up in a tree and was, let's say, a little disappointed to see a female house sparrow busily nipping buds. But then I noticed another bird, and got my first Townsend's warbler for the year, swiftly followed by a second. What cracking birds!
The rest of my amble was comparatively dull, with little else on show. I couldn't help but wonder what I may have encountered had I been down here at 7am...
Oh, and walking back around 3.45pm I was pleased to see that the solitaire was still present in the same spot.

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