Monday, 22 August 2011

Bank Swallow Surprise

Unfortunately, the forecast rain today didn't really start until after 8am, a little too late to drop any nocturnal migrants. Nevertheless, I headed down to Panama Flats just in case any late moving shorebirds had stopped off for a probe in the mud.
It was seriously unbirdy! The total wader count comprised a pitiful 1 western sandpiper, 3 least sandpipers and 7 killdeer...
The good stuff however, was hirundine-shaped. In among approximately 50 barn swallows were single juvenile cliff & tree swallows and a bank swallow. Although a very common bird in the UK, (where it goes by the name of sand martin) this is the first one that I've seen on Vancouver Island.
The collected swallows alerted me to the arrival of a juvenile peregrine, which dutifully reduced the British Columbia European starling population by one.
A young red-winged blackbird was kicking around, as were several savannah sparrows and a couple of common yellowthroats.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a stroll down to the Government House woodland trail. In amongst a couple of chickadee flocks I came across 2 Wilson's warblers and a couple of orange-crowned warblers, plus brown creepers, red-breasted nuthatches, downy woodpecker, Bewick's wren and bushtits. Single juvenile chipping sparrow and white-crowned sparrow were also seen.
Best of all however were a couple of variegated meadowhawks (one pictured). 

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