Sunday, March 9, 2014
While searching for the Baikal Teal that Russell Cannings found on the 7th of March, Bernard Schroeder and I found a first winter Iceland Gull about 200 meters from where all of the birders were standing in the rain waiting for the teal to return. It was a nice looking little gull, showing none of the Kumlien's/Thayer's Gull marks which can cause so much controversy with this species.
Other birds of interest seen while searching for the teal include;
American Black Duck: 5 at Quennel Lake, and Doole Rd, at Yellow Point
Tundra Swan: 3 near Yellow Point
Band-tailed Pigeon: 2 in Cedar
Northern Shrike: 1 near the parking lot on Raines Rd
Brown-headed Cowbird: 1 in a large flock of blackbirds along Raines Rd
As to the Baikal Teal, it was seen on the 8th until about 7:40. We arrived a bit later, and never saw the bird. Some that did see it, were suggesting that it may be a hybrid of some type. When I viewed the bird on the 7th, I did feel that the head markings were not quite the same as what I was expecting, but that overall, the bird looked good for a Baikal Teal. I assumed that the "slightly off" head markings were a function of age, if the bird were a first winter individual. While there are some photos on the web that show birds claimed to have been hybrids with odd head markings similar to this bird, they also show other features which are different than a textbook Baikal Teal. I'm not sure this bird shows any of those other features pointing to it being a hybrid. At this point, I'm not sure what to think, without a much better look at the bird. Keeping an open mind as to all of the possibilities and getting much better looks at this bird in the field, is the only way to approach the identification of this bird.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This morning we were at the Little Qualicum Estuary looking for the Northern Mockingbird. We found the mockingbird fairly easily, but while we were looking at it, a surprisingly aggressive Ring-necked Pheasant started following us around. It called, displayed, and would make short runs at us, approaching to about 2 meters away. A stunning bird, although I'm not sure how long it will last charging at humans!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Friday, February 7, 2014
This afternoon Donna and I were driving out to the Little Qualicum estuary to do some gull watching. While stopped at the intersection of Surfside Dr. and McFeeley Dr. a medium sized grey passerine with a long tail and white wing patches shot across the road in front of us and landed in a small holly shrub. Wow. Northern Mockingbird. The bird then flew over to 965 Surfside Dr. where it began feeding in a shrub loaded with red berries. The bird fed for about three minutes, before flying down the road and out of sight. It took about 10 minutes for us to relocate it in the yard of 1004 Surfside Dr. It was squabbling with American Robins in that yard. It eventually flew to the top of a fir tree at 998 Surfside Dr. where it sat for about 20 minutes. When we left the estuary about an hour later, it was back at the corner where we had originally spotted the bird.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
There are large numbers of California Gulls passing NW over Moorecroft right now. Probably due to the unsettled weather, they are passing quite low over the park and they are vocalizing continually, which is typical when these birds migrate at lower elevations in the dark. It will be interesting to see if this movement continues after sunrise.
Some years, we see massive numbers of California Gulls moving into the Salish Sea at this time of year, searching for the herring spawns which help fatten the birds for their long migration to the prairies.