Popped down to the Government House grounds this morning in search of passage migrants. Didn't discover anything too thrilling, but there were certainly numbers of birds present.
In among a couple of bushtit flocks I came across at least 8 Wilson's warblers, 1 very grey-headed orange-crowned warbler (without a tail), 2 willow flycatchers and a drab female western tanager. Of course, the regular chestnut-backed chickadees, brown creepers, red-breasted nuthatches and what-have-you were all in attendance too.
Otherwise, the other highlight was a very noisy young racoon (or racoonlet, as I like to call them) that was clambering around in an oak, while its mother kept watch below. It wouldn't keep still enough for a good pic, so here's the best I could manage.
In the evening I nipped down to Clover Point to see what was going on. Gulls. That's what was going on. Thousands of gulls. The rocks below the point were covered with glaucous-winged and California gulls, with about half a dozen Heermann's gulls thrown in. Offshore, birds simply carpeted the water. Among the large rafts of gulls were good numbers of rhinoceros auklets, common murres, a few pigeon guillemots and at least 5 marbled murrelets.
As the tide continued to rise, a moulting adult black-bellied plover flew in, joining 4 black turnstone on the rocks.
Thursday Coastal Birds
In between various bits of more important stuff, I managed a couple of hours of coastal birding yesterday.
Starting off at Clover Point, I just about managed to check through the roosting gulls before the rock-jumping hordes and cavorting canines did their best to rid the area entirely of avian life.
Heading along the coast toward Oak Bay I made a few stops at likely looking spots, but found little more than I'd seen at Clover Point.
At Oak Bay Marina things picked up a little. The big yellow rocky island, so beloved of roosting shorebirds, was once again the focus of attention. 'Scoping from Turkey Head, I counted 83 black-bellied plover, 1 dowitcher, 14 black turnstone and a surfbird. At one point the plovers all took to the air, showing a full complement of black axillaries, ruling out the presence of any attendant golden plovers.
Although I take killdeer totally for granted these days, it's not all that long ago that had I received a call telling me that one was running around on Heysham Golf Course, I'd have been off like a shot to see it. With that in mind, here's a nice pic of one of the Oak Bay birds, just to remind myself of just how smart they really are (and to rub my Brit birder buddies' noses in it a bit...).