Monday, 26 September 2011

All Wind & No Substance

I've had a very busy few days, and as a result my birding has been limited to occasional strolls down to the Government House, Ross Bay Cemetery and Clover Point.
None of which, I hasten to add, have been terribly productive. 
After last night's howling gales and torrents of rain I was giddy with the prospect of finding an interesting gull, tern or similar down at Clover Point this morning. As it happens, there were lots of birds around - hundreds of gulls feeding at the turbulent water's edge, as the surf hit the Ross Bay beach. Scanning through, I was just waiting for something odd to stand out.
It didn't.
There were loads of mew gulls, many glaucous-winged gulls, good numbers of California gulls, around 30 Heermann's gulls and at least 3 Thayer's gulls.
The only shorebirds seen were 23 black turnstone, 3 black oystercatcher and a lone black-bellied plover. A small flock of savannah sparrows were digging around between the rocks; the only passerines of note.
Offshore, I couldn't see anything interesting between, or above, the heaving troughs.
Extremely soggy, and somewhat dejected I went home for a cup of tea and a change of clothes.

Norther flicker
Later, once the rain had eased up (slightly), I went for walk to the Gvt House - just in case some amazing migrant had been grounded and was busily feeding up before continuing south.
It wasn't.
I saw a total of 3 birds - all golden-crowned sparrows.

As for the past few days, my other various attempts at finding birds have been similarly unrewarding, although a flock of 20+ very active yellow-rumped warblers kept me busily searching and listening for several minutes in Ross Bay Cemetery on Saturday.  The only other highlight involved 3 hermit thrushes in the Gvt House grounds on Friday.

Song sparrow
At least the sun was out on Saturday and I was able to relieve the tedium by snapping a few common birds, as you can see here. 

So, now that it's rained a bit, and the wind has dropped, there might be some muddy pools worth investigating over at Panama Flats in the next few days. I've just got to try and find the time to get out there...

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