Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fancy a Chat?

After driving Jenny up to Swartz Bay to catch the 8am ferry over to the mainland this morning, I got back home with enough time to squeeze in a quick trundle around the Government House grounds before starting work.
As has been the case for several days now, it was pretty much the domain of the local breeding birds. Along with good numbers of fledged bushits, the chestnut-backed chickadees, Bewick's wrens and downy woodpeckers seem to have done reasonably well with family parties busily feeding all around the site. Lots of pine siskins around too (including a flyover flock of c40 birds), indicating a successful breeding season.
Cooper's hawks were patrolling the woodland, both nests seemingly still active. A very showy warbling vireo was singing his heart out by the parking area.

After a day's scribing, I decided to spend the evening birding and thought I'd go and check out the place by Prospect Lake Road where the yellow-breasted chat has been hanging around for several days. For those reading this back in dear old Blighty, this species is a major rarity in these parts.

Somewhere in that lot, there's a chat...
I found the place easily enough, but was rather over awed by the size of the area!
So, I've got try and locate a an extremely skulking warbler which has occasionally been betraying its presence by letting out bursts of song, often keeping hidden while doing so. Marvelous. 
Oh well, it was a great, birdy place to spend a couple of hours, chat or no chat. Another couple of birders eventually came along, one was trying to see the chat for the 5th time, the other for the 4th. Kind of put things in perspective.

I got ace looks at several of my all-time favourite American warblers; MacGillivray's warbler. I even managed a crappy snap of a cracking male, as you can see here. There were also rufous hummingbirds zipping about, willow flycatchers catching flies, northern flickers and a pileated woodpecker, Swainson's thrush, California quail and all manner of obliging common species. But no sight or sound of the chat.
After 2 hours, I gave up (I'm not overly bothered, it's not a tick - but a wonderful bird to see, nonetheless...) and decided to pop by Charlton Pond, as I was driving right past it.
The water levels were way down from my last visit, and the vegetation had grown considerably making viewing slightly less than convenient. A pair of killdeer with a well grown young 'un were present, and common yellowthroats were seen and heard. I also spotted a couple of Virginia rails feeding in a corner - 2 well grown, adult-sized juvs., though no sign of the parent birds.

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