Thursday, March 8, 2012

Slow, but sunny!

The weather thinks it is spring, the Bewick's Wren singing non-stop outside my window thinks it is spring, and I am beginning to believe it myself.

We are still short of our migrant influx, though swallows and warblers are starting to show up in very small numbers, a vanguard to the invasion that no doubt awaits us. I have managed to catch up with one swallow so far, a Barn Swallow at Swan Lake last week. Two other species (Tree and Violet-Green) have shown up since then, but I haven`t found either during my frequent checks. They can wait.....

Speaking of Swan Lake, my wife and I decided to walk the trail around the lake this past weekend, where we ran into Ian Cruickshank and the Sunday Bird Walkers. Ian and I chatted briefly about bitterns as we leap-frogged each other a few times on the trail, and were stopped dead in our tracks along the south end of the lake by a pumping call coming from the reeds. We have both been treated to these calls in the past, but to that date, neither of us had heard an American Bittern calling at Swan Lake! It was a treat to spend an hour or so listening as the bird would call occassionally, a few clicks before glunk-a-lunking away. The bird moved around a fair bit, never calling from the same spot twice, but also never seeing fit to cross one of the many small, open areas. We never did get a look, and eventually continued on our way, enjoying great numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Spotted Towhees, and the other lake regulars. At Tuesday Pond there was a small collection of ducks including Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, and Northern Pintails.

Elsewhere, my birding has been quiet. I headed over to Port Angeles on the Coho last Friday (first trip of the year!) now that they have returned to two trips a day. There were very few birds on the water, and only small numbers of alcids. I did see my first California Gull of the year, as well as 5 Brant out on the water, but my target birds were nowhere to be found. It wasn`t a total waste of a trip, as I did discover the Dungeness Spit Pale Ale, brewed up by Peaks Brew Pub (, as well as add Brant to my Washington State list (or so eBird tells me!).

Hopefully the weather holds long enough for a lightning Okanagan and Alberta trip at the end of the month.....

Good birding,


  1. I hope you have a great time birding in my home province, and see some great birds too. If you'd like to know about rare birds in Alberta the blog Birds Calgary has a weekly rare bird alert.

  2. Hi Jeremy,
    I am doing a big year, too! So far I have 125 species. I am a child, meaning I can't drive, so I have to stay in the Campbell River area. Do you have any tips? I know your first will be travel around, but I can't do that. Any tips are welcome!
    Wesley Greentree
    Campbell River

    1. Hi Wes,

      Get out lots, hit all the habitats, watch the weather, and go to the places no one else does! Rarities, and birds in general, are notorious for not knowing where the hotspots are!

      Oh, and if you are looking for Bitterns, take lots of coffee, and don't make plans for the rest of the day!