Sunday, 16 October 2011

Seeing red

Had an early bimble around the Government House grounds this morning and found the place positively jumping with dark-eyed juncos. There were literally hundreds of them around the site, though I wasn't able to relocate the 'slate-coloured' bird that was there the other day.
Another obvious feature was the large number of American robins, and a significant increase in northern flickers. There were at least 9 flickers in the area including one very interesting bird. I have seen many intergrade red-shafted/yellow-shafted flickers on the island, but this was the first one that I've come across that had totally bright yellow underwings and under tail. As far as its head pattern was concerned it was certainly more in the yellow-shaft camp too. A pretty different looking flicker indeed!
Otherwise, it was ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets, fox sparrows, a Lincoln's sparrow, yellow-rumped warblers and such that kept me busy.

Later, I headed out to the Chinese Cemetery where the highlights included a moulding adult red-throated loon (actually my first in BC - ironic, as they're the commonest diver/loon back in Blighty). A couple of American pipits were feeding among the tombstones, and a few common sparrows were scrabbling around on the tideline.
Offshore good numbers of marbled murrelet, rhinoceros auklet, common murres and a few pigeon guillemot were seen along with red-necked grebe, common loon and lots of surf scoters. Bonaparte's gulls seem to be dropping off in number, though there are still lots of Heermann's gulls around.

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