With one thing and another, I didn't get out birding 'proper' till mid-afternoon, but Jenny and I did manage a mid-morning stroll around the Government House grounds in between rain showers.
A few yellow-rumped warblers were seen and heard, and ruby-crowned kinglets were still present in reasonable number. A hermit thrush showed nicely, as did a couple of Lincoln's sparrows. A pair of adult Cooper's hawks were chasing one another around the area, much to the consternation of the local golden-crowned sparrows and dark-eyed juncos. And talking of juncos, a smart 'slate-coloured' bird was seen among the 30 or so typical 'Oregon' birds.
Once I had deposited Jenny at work in the afternoon, I struck out for Clover Point. Silly, I know, to expect there to be much around on a public holiday, post-turkey dinner. The place was not as packed as it would have been had the weather been glorious (like yesterday, for example), but a few hardy souls had still managed to get out for a bit of bird bothering.
The combination of high tide and copious rock hopping humans meant that shorebirds were practically absent. Just 6 black turnstone and couple of black oystercatchers were braving the conditions.
Offshore there was quite a bit going on, with a notable increase in surf scoters. Common murre, rhinoceros auklet, pigeon guillemot and marbled murrelet were all present in varying numbers.
At least 4 common loons, 8 horned grebe, and several harlequin ducks were busily feeding in Ross Bay, while dainty Bonaparte's gulls skimmed the surface in every direction.
|Misty Marbled Murrelet|
I was rather hoping for a Lapland longspur or two, but I could only find a couple of savannah sparrows.
I walked round to Trafalgar Park, to see if anything was lurking there. I came across a covey of California quail and a couple of fox sparrows, but that was about it. Scanning the rocks below, I caught a glimpse of the back end of a departing wader, as it headed to Harling Point. Great, I'll be going back there then!
Just after I came through the perimeter fence a small sparrow popped up from some tangled weedy corner (pictured). To be honest, I didn't really know what it was right away. A very distinctive face pattern, dark forehead and streaky dark crown, with a paler median stripe, white throat, bright rufous wings and... it's gone. After a few minutes of grinding cerebral cogs, the penny dropped and I was sure it was a swamp sparrow.
|Where the Wild Things Are - Sparrow Central|
Back at the car, I consulted Sibley, and I was left with no doubt as to the bird's identity. Lovely. My BC list just went up by another 1.
Also in this weedy area, were at least 7 white-crowned, 2 Lincoln's and 3 song sparrows, plus a couple of towhees and a Bewick's wren.
Oh, and I did relocate that shorebird - it was a dunlin. In fact, there were two in winter plumage.