Yesterday, Jenny had to go up-island to deliver some pieces to Chemainus Theatre Gallery for an up-coming exhibition of her work. After which, she needed to go to Nanaimo for the afternoon on business -so, being the loyal husband that I am, I decided to accompany her. Well, when I say accompany her I mean on the journey - as soon as we got to Nanaimo, I dropped her off and went straight to Holden Creek. After all, if I'm going to take a day off, I may as well make it worth my while, eh? Oh, and on the way we saw an American kestrel hunting at Nanaimo airport.
I counted a total of 7 spotted sandpiper (pictured) and 3 killdeer. With every step I wondered what had passed through a couple of weeks ago, unnoticed and unrecorded...
I then paid a visit to the Nanaimo River estuary, where the undoubted highlight was a group of 17 Caspian terns out on the mudflats. Another couple of spotted sandpiper were present here, with a fine displaying male. Again, the regular swallows were all busy feeding over the river and turkey vultures and bald eagles punctuated the overcast sky.
A western wood-pewee was a nice surprise - in almost the exact same spot that I found one last spring! Common yellowthroat, white-crowned sparrow and more goldfinches added to the list.
Few birds were on the water; a few mallard, 3 hooded merganser and around 20 or so wood duck (drake pictured), including a female with a brood. A pied-billed grebe with 2 stripey headed youngsters was a nice sight. The vegetation around the pools was exploding with the constant sound of singing yellowthroats, marsh wrens and red-winged blackbirds while song sparrows and yellow warblers did their best to compete from the thickets. A male brown-headed cowbird posed nicely for a pic.
Meanwhile, an osprey was sat upon the nest-free 'osprey platform'. Other birds of note included California quail, cedar waxwings and a pair of highly vocal Eurasian collared doves.