Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Fast and the Furious, Migrant Edition

Well, the migrants are showing up too fast to keep up with!

We now have our first reports of Common Yellowthroat, Townsend's Solitaire, Osprey, Caspian Tern, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and others!

But, I digress.... The 19th Annual Big Day for the Brant was held this past weekend in Parksville, and the Steller J's were at it again, albeit with a lineup change, owing to a couple of certain someones being off galavanting in Alaska.....

We still managed to have fun, and placed third overall after leaving Victoria at 2am to ensure our arrival at the owling grounds by the 4:30am start time. We quickly picked up Barred and Great Horned Owls in Errington before making our way to Cameron Lake, our annual surefire spot for both Northern Pygmy-Owl and Ruffed Grouse. Cruising the usual spots, we dipped on both, but did find an incessantly calling Northern Saw-whet Owl. Travelling back down the logging road toward the highway, we made a last-ditch turnoff, and almost ran over a male Ruffed Grouse that was brilliantly illuminated in the headlights! Later, we did find Northern Pymgy-Owl at Hamilton Marsh, where up to three were reported during the day.

The four owls being the highlight, we spent the remainder of the day cruising the Parksville area, tallying 93 species to the winning 117 ticked by Guy Monty's "No Egrets" team, and the Old Country Twitchers' 103. By the looks of the post insanity gathering at Deez Bar and Grill, everyone had a great time, big thanks to Rhys, Sandra, and Tim!

Back at home, I have been trying to keep up with the arrivals, but I must be the only one who still hasn't seen Rufous Hummingbird in the Victoria area this year. I have heard the buzz of many, but haven't yet managed to lay eyes on one for the tick.

I have also been checking the Osprey nest at Colwood Corners every day, and was finally rewarded yesterday, when a single bird was perched on it. Following that, I found two of the three Caspian Terns that Mary Robichaud had reported from Esquimalt Lagoon.

This is where the birding starts to get fun, and more passerines and shorebirds should be showing up soon (such as Sandy Bowie's 3 Long-billed Curlews at Whiffin Spit!!!).

Time to go find some flycatchers, good birding!

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