Sunday, 19 February 2012

Flats Life

With the benefit of a dry, if overcast, morning Panama Flats was today's destination. I met Lynette Brown at the parking area around 9.30am and we headed off to see what we could see.
This was Lynette's first visit to the site, and I was happy to be able to pass on the same kindness shown to me by local birders when I first arrived in Victoria by showing Lynette around.
It was immediately apparent that were fewer birds here than on my last visit, with the larger areas of water almost devoid of ducks. In the marshier sections we could see reasonable numbers of pintail, shoveler and green-winged teal as well as a few American wigeon and mallard.
A marsh wren was singing, unseen, from a clump of vegetation by the path as we walked toward the main raised bank. This was soon followed by the unmistakable sound of a western meadowlark, and we soon located two of these wonderful birds.

Badly posing, dodgy-scoped gadwall
A female ring-necked duck was out on the larger pool, along with a handful of buffleheads, and small numbers of the commoner dabblers. A single American coot and a few gadwall were paddling around, their subtle beauty almost overshadowed by the comparative gaudy pintail, teal and shovelers.
We walked around the perimeter path to the grey building where we briefly checked through the sparrows. The usual Lincoln's and song sparrows were present, but there was no sign of the tree sparrow. 
We bumped into a couple of birders who had found a swamp sparrow further along the path, and we stopped and chatted about the future of the Flats. After a while we headed off in search of ol' swampy, but despite our best efforts we could only dig out more Lincoln's and song sparrows plus another singing marsh wren (this one actually showed).
A red-tailed hawk was being harassed by crows and gulls as it moved around the area and a couple of great-blue heron were stalking the shallows.
Even though we didn't see anything out of the ordinary, we had a great morning's birding and I was reminded once more just how different every visit to Panama Flats can be. It will be interesting to see what drops by at this brilliant site as spring starts to gather pace.

No comments:

Post a Comment