I've been checking the Government House grounds over the past few days, and to be honest, there hasn't really been that much to report. Particularly in light of the superb birds being found by the birding elite of Victoria in the past couple of weeks!
For those not in the know, these have included British Columbia's 3rd record of lesser nighthawk (and only the 2nd one alive...), a Sabine's gull, a singing magnolia warbler, yellow-headed blackbird, and today, Ian Cruickshank located a Brewer's sparrow. Not bad going.
I'm only pleased that I don't 'need' any of these species, or I would have spent the last few days chasing rare birds, as opposed to getting on with work.
That said, I am rather keen to see something new, so I headed out with the aforementioned Ian yesterday evening to see if I could finally add sora to my life list.
I have never bothered twitching this species in the UK, despite their relative frequency, and I've been spectacularly unlucky on my various trips to this side side of the Atlantic, having never come across one. I heard one last year, but I will never tick a bird on call alone. So, aware that one had been showing at a local pond, I decided a mini-twitch was in order.
A drake gadwall was consorting with the local mallards and mallard-ish things, plus common yellowthroat and killdeer (pictured) were present. A foraging raccoon put everything into panic-mode for a moment, but failed to flush any rails...
While we were at the pond, Ian demonstrated once again his supernatural hearing and call recognition skills with occasional cries of 'western wood pewee' and 'black-headed grosbeak' as they called a mere 3 miles away.
Earlier yesterday I had found a very obliging western wood-pewee in the Government House grounds, but little else.
As it happens, Jenny and I were just out taking stroll around the neighborhood this evening and we came across what was presumably the same bird, feeding close by an olive-sided flycatcher, allowing for a lovely comparison.
Minutes earlier, a single Vaux's swift had passed over.