Thursday, October 30, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ross's Goose

Sandy McRuer reported a Ross's Goose in Port Alberni on Friday, and since it was raining so hard in Nanoose I thought, what the heck, it can't rain any harder in Port Alberni...
That was sarcasm, in case you missed it. At any rate, I made way across the hump and through the storm and found the Ross's Goose very easily near the corner of River Rd and Josephine Rd. This is the second record of this species in Port Alberni this fall, where there are no previous records.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Steller's Jays

Today while doing migration monitoring from Vesper point, I was joined by seven Steller's Jays who were doing their very best to eat each and every acorn still left on the Garry oaks growing along the point. They were also keeping a close eye on me. Whether they thought that I might be stealing their acorns, be some type of threat, maybe have some food of my own to share, or perhaps they just couldn't figure out what the hell I was up to, I don't know. I sure did enjoy them though. Few birds have as much character as Steller's Jays.

Heerman's Gull-A-Palooza

Last week Victoria birder Daniel Donnecke reported 100 Heerman's Gulls from Flora islet near Hornby Island. I assumed it was a typo, and forgot about it, as even one Heerman's Gull in these waters is noteworthy. Others then began questioning the sighting. One hundred Heerman's Gulls in the Salish Sea? Really? Well, yes, really! Daniel not only accurately reported what he had seen, he also took photos of large groups of Heerman's Gulls roosting on rocks. Wow! What a sighting!
On Friday the 26th, Donna and I had some time in the morning so we checked all of the spots around here where Heerman's Gulls have been seen in thee past. We were not disappointed. And had we searched on a better tide, and on a day without driving rain, I have no doubt we would have seen more. The numbers up here right now are unprecedented.
In 4 hours we saw 108 adults and 9 immatures,  for a total of 117 Heerman's Gulls.

Rathtrevor: 2 ad.
Englishman Estuary: 1 ad.
Parksville Bay: 0
French Creek Marina: 2 ad.
Columbia Beach: 3 ad. 1 imm.
Beach Creek: 5 ad.
Brant Viewing Stand: 22 ad. 2 imm.
Little Qualicum Estuary: 3 ad.
Big Qualicum: 0
Qualicum Bay: 0
Nile Creek: 54 ad. 6 imm.
Bowser Rd. 0
Jamieson Rd: 0
Shoreline Dr: 16 ad.
Deep Bay: 0

Today, I noticed an adult Heerman's Gull feeding in a large flock of California and Bonaparte's Gulls off Vesper Point. This is the third sighting of a Heerman's Gull for Moorecroft Regional park. There seems to be an amazing number in the central part of the Salish Sea right now.

Mystery Underwing Moth

On the night of September 14, 2014, we surprising large numbers of a very large moth fluttering about the porch light here at Moorecroft Regional park, in Nanoose Bay, BC. Watching them for a few moments, I felt that it was a species that I couldn't recall having seen before. Later in the evening, I realized that several must have come in when I had the door open, and were now noisily bumping into lamp shades around the house. As large as they were, it didn't take long to capture them and release them outside. Curious as to the species, I photographed one, thinking I could identify it later. Well, I should have known better. After sending the photos to quite a few different people, there was no consensus as to what the species was, although Catocala semirelicta and Catocala unijuga were the most commonly suggested species. Reading about the abundance,  distribution and habitat preferences of the two moth species, it seems that semirelicta is more likely. Next time, I'll make sure and wait to release the moth AFTER it has been identified.