Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sanderling Sunday

This morning I spent about 2.5 hours around the Clover Point and Ross Bay area. For much of the visit I was joined by Lynette Brown, a keen birder who recently moved to Victoria, who I had arranged to meet for a spot of coastal birding.

Around the point there were the usual 20 or so black turnstone, a couple of surfbirds, 20ish dunlin (including several feeding on the floating kelp just offshore) and a single sanderling (pictured here with dunlin). There were plenty of ducks present, including good numbers of bufflehead and harlequin. A pair of stunning common merganser, (the male was immaculate, infused with that gorgeous salmon pink as shown by some drakes), were fishing close to the shore while a party of comparatively scruffy red-breasted mergansers foraged close by.
Further out, several surf scoters were seen and a pair of striking long-tailed duck were keeping their distance.
A flotilla of 30 horned grebe made for a spectacular sight, and smaller numbers of red-necked grebes were scattered around along with a few common loons and pigeon guillemots
The gulls at Clover Point were largely comprised of the expected raggle-taggle not-quite glaucous-winged/western variety, although one adult and a third winter showed signs of being dangerously close to pure western gull. A few mew gulls were kicking around close offhsore with many more larids way out, once again silhouetted in the low morning light.
Double-crested and pelagic cormorants were variously sat around on floating logs or fishing here and there.
Despite recent reports, I maintained my inability to locate any rock sandpipers. One of these days...

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