Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Panama Peregrinations

Our 16-year-old nephew Louie arrived in Victoria from England on Friday, so we spent the weekend keeping him entertained. Thankfully, our idea of entertainment included taking a few decent walks around the local area. 
On Saturday we strolled from Ogden Point to Ross Bay, and in between ice creams I managed to spy my first Heermann's gull of the year just off Holland Point. 
Sunday saw us taking advantage of the sunny weather as we headed up to Island View Beach and Saanichton Spit, picnic in tow. Again, we didn't see a great deal bird-wise but I did notice a couple of mourning doves and offshore a further 4 Heermann's gulls feeding in among a mob of commoner gull species. Great-blue herons, rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots and the like provided familiar fair.

Juvenile black-necked stilt
Louie was keen to take his board and try out Sidney skatepark (he's very much a 'Brit Skater in BC'), so Jenny and I dropped him off and headed for Maber Flats for an hour or so. 
All 11 black-necked stilts were still very much present, and I couldn't resist taking a few more snaps.
We also got good views of a sora once again, and a handful of least sandpipers were feeding at the water's edge while killdeer and spotted sandpiper families were much in evidence  Good numbers of mallard and their attendant broods were obvious, but I couldn't locate any teal.

Adult stilt - Maber Flats, Victoria
On Monday evening I squeezed in a visit to Panama Flats after work. 
There were around 50 or so peeps present with roughly 30 least sandpiper to 20 western sandpiper, at least 16 killdeer and 6 spotted sandpiper. A lone and silent dowitcher looked like a short-billed.
The highlight came when an adult peregrine zoomed in over the SW quadrant, causing mass panic among the swallows, crows, waders and wildfowl. It expertly grabbed a killdeer and took off rapidly with the hapless wader secured in its talons. 
Suddenly the falcon dropped its prey, and the reason became apparent as a piratical bald eagle piled in. The killdeer took off, pursued by the eagle which missed its first attempt at snatching its quarry. The wounded plover flapped weakly to the ground from where the eagle swiftly grabbed it and took it up into to a nearby tree, pursued by a murder of noisy Northwestern crows
Who needs TV when drama like this is playing out right on the doorstep!

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