Thursday, 6 March 2008

Vancouver Island - Out and about

The forecast was for blue skies and hopefully more good birds, an 8.00 start with Bill again. First call was at Swan lake nature reserve, within the city of Victoria but you would never guess it!

I'd seen several Northern Flickers and they looked pretty ordinary in dull light. The combination of sunlight amid the wonderful bark of an Arbutus tree was something special though - I took the chance and here are my favourite shots. A superb male with red malar stripe and what you don't see here is the brilliant red underwing (see that tail) of this Western race.

Added American Tree Sparrow to the 'Sparrow' list, then.....

Another great find here were some overwintering Yellow-rumped Warblers and if you want to get technical - both Audubons and Myrtle race - quite distinct and they may be split. Only got a decent pic of Audubons (with yellow throat)

Marsh Wren are more frequently heard than seen but here was a little beauty clinging onto the reeds, singing his heart out!

Crows are crows wherever you go and the sound of frenzied calling and mobbing is usually bad news for the raptors. Here, a red tailed Hawk was being given the missile treatment...

Brewer's Blackbird is a pretty undistinguished 'Black' bird but interesting to watch the female calling back to the male and putting on quyite a display!

Distant views of Pied-billed Grebe were followed by the stunning sight of two Violet-Green Swallows overhead, quite special indeed. Later on I managed the first Barn Swallow of the year too.

Blenkinsop lake was next which was pretty quiet. Almost anything can turn up in the hedgerows here but on this particular day - anything didn't!

There was however a fantastic flock of Ring-necked Duck, at least 40 with most of them adult males. When you aren't used to them - an awesome sight!

Oh, couldn't resist another Song Sparrow - singing!!

A search (yet again) for Pileated Woodpecker drew a blank although piles of wood chips and largte oval holes everywhere proved it would just be a matter of time?

Decent views of House Finch and Pine Siskin kept the photo-list growing!

The day ended with some good raptor views - first a Coopers Hawk, a Bald Eagle thermalling overhead and finally another one at the nest.

New birds for the day, getting much harder with only 5 - bringing the overall tally to 93 - the 'ton' is in sight......

Ring-necked Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow

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