Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Calm After The Storm

The rain overnight, and throughout the early part of the morning, had the desired effect and Clover Point was relatively people/dog-free when I got down there. 
Even so, the birding was pretty unremarkable. There were no shorebirds bar a lone black turnstone around the rocks and gulls were thin on the ground. The water was where the action was, and scanning around I could see good numbers of common murre, pigeon guillemot, harlequin duck and surf scoter. Scattered among the more numerous species were several red-necked and horned grebes, marbled murrelets, bufflehead, rhinoceros auklet, common and Pacific loon, a pair of white-winged scoter and my first long-tailed duck of the autumn.

Moving along the coast, my next stop was at Harling Point and the Chinese Cemetery. Here things were even quiter disturbance-wise, and as a result there were good numbers of shorebirds present.
On the nearby rocks were 28 surfbirds, 22 black-bellied plover (pictured) and 11 black turnstone, plus a couple of black oystercatchers.
Offshore, it was much the same as from Clover Point. A flotilla of some 14 Pacific loons in various state of moult was a lovely sight.
I made the short stroll round to Trafalgar Park, but it was pretty quiet. The same waterbirds could be seen and a peregrine was sat out on Trial Island.
The total absence of Bonaparte's gulls was notable and I only picked up 3 or 4 Heermann's gulls along the whole stretch of shore.

McMicking Point was my next, and final, port of call. Once again, the birds offshore were much the same as seen from elsewhere. A group of cormorants roosting up on the rocks behind the golf course contained all three common species: Brandt's, pelagic and double-crested (pictured).

Early afternoon, I went to the Government House grounds in search of feeding sparrow or bushtit flocks. There were few juncos and sparrows around, but I did locate a very active group of golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets. Among the throng were the expected chestnut-backed chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches, brown creepers and a downy woodpecker but nothing out of the ordinary.

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