Saturday, 3 September 2011

A Force To Be Reckoned With...

After walking Jenny to work early this afternoon, I strolled around to Ogden Point, enjoing the glorious sunshine.
There were a handful of black turnstone in the harbour area, and a 2nd winter ring-billed gull was on the rusty metal float just by the pilot boat dock.
I carried on along the waterfront to Clover Point where I had the pleasure of bumping into top BC birder and all-round nice chap, Mike Force. I had met Mike at Rich and Lori Mooney's wedding and we had a good chat about various things, though frankly, it was mostly birds. He'd been lured west from his Okanagan home by the northern wheatear found near Vancouver Airport mid-week and was spending a few days in the area. Seems odd anyone would twitch a northern wheatear, but then I suppose most North American birders would be astonished by the reaction the discovery of a savannah sparrow would get in the UK... swings and roundabouts, and all that.
Anyhoo, there wasn't much going on at Clover Point, unsurprisingly. Highlights included 4 black turnstone, 8 Heermann's gulls and, as it happens, a savannah sparrow.

Late afternoon I headed out to Oak Bay Marina. The big yellow rock was, as usual, the hotspot and I spent a good hour sifting through the birds. A rather irritating heat haze didn't help too much but nonetheless, I was able to count 84 black-bellied plover, 8 black turnstone, 3 dowitchers, a surfbird and a wandering tattler. The latter had me going for ages. I just couldn't quite get enough on it for some time, and was conflicted between tattler and surfbird (bill length just wasn't clearly discernible), until it helpfully stretched and proved itself to have plain wings and rump.
Just south of the harbour, there were 5 greater yellowlegs roosting on their favoured rock, alongside 3 black oystercatchers and 7 killdeer. 3 American wigeon were my first of the autumn. A single, very confiding, least sandpiper was feeding on the beach, so I took a pic. As you can see.

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