By late morning I'd decided that while songbirds were likely going to be hard to find today, I could at least go out and see what watery aves were to be had. I used my new-found knowledge of the area's top spots and chose to explore Panama Flats a little bit more than I had when I was out with Ian last week.
I started off scanning, in the pouring rain, from the vantage point off Carey Road. Again, the place was alive with literally hundreds of hirundines. Among the numerous tree, violet-green and barn swallows were several cliff and handful of northern rough-winged swallows.
Out on the water I could see 5 northern shoveler, 8 gadwall, 4 green-winged teal, 6 bufflehead and 2 pintail, as well as several mallard.
|Dunlin & long-billed dowitcher|
After a while I decided to head round and check out access from the other side.
Parking up on Roy Road, I soon found an access point and walked in through some promising looking mixed habitat, until I found myself on the western edge of the waterlogged area.
The rain was easing off slightly and visibility was considerably better from this side.
I could even be sure about the identity of at least some of the dowitchers now as they could be heard from time to time. All those that called were long-billed dowitchers.
I could also see the smaller calidrids too, and there were 5 least and 10 western sandpipers feeding alongside the dowitchers and the lone breeding plumage dunlin.
A sudden deterioration in the weather at least brought a couple of Vaux's swift down and they briefly joined the hawking swallows over the water.
A common yellowthroat was singing in some waterside vegetation and a female appeared alongside a ditch at the southern edge of the pools.
I was quite surprised to see a late female common goldeneye; she didn't hang around to long and flew off north.
|Pectoral sandpiper (left) & western sandpiper|
Unfortunately the crappy weather prevented me from getting any decent shots, but the pic here should at least confirm its identity!
I found a few of these last spring, up island at Holden Creek (including a couple of males in breeding plumage), but I'm aware that they are pretty scarce down here at this time of year.