Saturday, January 21, 2012

A new one!

Due to the weather and work, it has been almost a week since I have added a new species to my year list.

Today, I took advantage of a break in precipitation (in the case of today, rain) to head down to one of my favourite local patches, Albert Head Lagoon. Albert Head Lagoon is a gem, and during migration features many shorebird species, including Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, Western, Least, Pectoral, and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and has hosted American Golden-Plover. This small park is also a great location to pick up Spotted Sandpiper in almost any month of the year. Today my aims were to find my first Turkey Vulture of the year, as well as add Spotted Sandpiper.

My first target was no problem. As we approached Duke Rd, the turnoff for Albert Head Lagoon, a large raptor flew over the road, displaying the upturned wings, and eventually the pink head, of my first Turkey Vulture of the year. This species is found consistently during the winter in the Metchosin area, usually over the Gravel Pits, and anywhere from Latoria Rd to Witty's Lagoon. This bird is number 125 for the year, and officially puts me ahead of my January, 2011, species count. This with several "easy" species still missing.

The lagoon itself was another story. There were only three other people there, all on the ocean side. This was a nice change from good weather days, when the parking lot can fill up quickly. Luckily, most of the surf-gazers and dogwalkers prefer the beach vs. the lagoon. Today, the birds were few and far between, and the rain came on with a vengeance when I was halfway down the trail. I managed to see the resident pair of Mute Swan, a pair of Gadwall, and good numbers of Bufflehead, plus a few others, but nothing spectacular.

Either way, it was great to actually get out and spend some time birding. Tomorrow will be a day of birding, as there is a Slaty-backed Gull up in Mill Bay that is just begging to be refound and photographed.

Fingers still crossed for good weather in Westport next weekend!

Stay Tuned,

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