Monday, 1 August 2011

Farewell to Friends, Hello to Solitary Sandpiper!

On Saturday Jenny and I headed up island once more. Our good friends Rich & Lori Mooney, along with son Nolan, had finally booked their flights and were heading off to a new life in Surrey, England within a matter of days. We had to say our farewells!
Somehow or another (!) Rich and I managed to arrange one last bit of birding and spent some time scouring Holden Creek, while Jen and Lori walked to Jack Point.  

Jenny, me, Lori & Rich
To be honest, it was pretty dire. A killdeer and 4 least sandpiper were the sum total of our shorebird finding efforts.
Other stuff included a purple martin, peregrine, red-tailed hawk, osprey, American goldfinch and a pair of Eurasian collared dove (cor!).
To be honest, it wasn't strictly about the birding, but the opportunity to spend a bit of time together before they left for old Blighty... Bon voyage Rich, Lori & Nolan - and good luck in the UK!

Today (BC Day as it happens), I got out for a couple of hours to Panama Flats, late morning.
Quite a contrast to my last visit a few days ago.
The pools were notably busier with waders, and there were 7 lesser yellowlegs, 11 greater yellowlegs, 5 western sandpiper and 29 least sandpiper present, along with 13 long-billed dowitcher.
A couple of killdeer were in the grassy area on the eastern edge and at least 4 spotted sandpiper were seen. 

Best of all, however was the solitary sandpiper that had so far eluded me.
This is the first I've seen in Canada and as such, makes it on to my BC list!
At one point the obliging bird even had a good stretch, showing off that distinctive rump that clearly separates it from green sandpiper, a species I am very familiar with. Lovely!
So lovely, in fact, that I've included two photos here for your delight...

Once again the many swallows were on good form and went into a twittering panic when a peregrine came by. It was interesting to watch the least sandpipers, in particular, respond to the hirundines' alarm calls.
They would assume a crouching position, flattening themselves low in the mud or water while watching out for the overhead predator.

Later in the day, Jenny and I had a walk down to Ross Bay, Victoria. A drake white-winged scoter was swimming around close inshore, while we also spotted the usual rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots and what-not.

1 comment:

  1. Wicked! Glad you got the bird! Awesome! Thanks for a really cool day, it was great to hang out with you and Jenny. Looking forward to doing it again on the other side of the pond and doing some birding! See ya soon mate!