It's always nice to pick up a bird that I missed last year, it gives me a bit of hope that maybe there is still hope to hit 252 this year! So far this year, I have seen a couple of regular/semi-regular species that didn't end up on my Big Year 2011 list, including Common Redpoll, Lazuli Bunting, and Ruddy Turnstone. Another such bird decided to show up yesterday at Swan Lake, courtesy of a visiting birder named Jose.
Green Heron is a bird that I have only seen once on Vancouver Island, and that was 13 years ago at the Duncan Forest Museum Pond. I have had no problems seeing them anywhere else from here to Ontario to Arizona to Costa Rica, but they have always eluded me (and most other local birders) right here on my own home turf.
Ann Nightingale sent out a text yesterday morning that an individual had been discovered near the south end of the bridge at Swan Lake, and by some happy coincidence I was due to be passing through the area between meetings with clients, so I figured I might as well drop in!
When I arrived, everyone there had seen the bird, but it had dropped out of view as I stepped on to the bridge. Go figure. After about 5 minutes or so of staring into the willows, the Green Heron flew up, and eventually ended up perched on an exposed branch, giving dynamite views.
This long-standing local nemesis bird made a great number 217, and puts me only 35 away from my target. 20 or so of these should be fairly easy, but we need a good fall migration to make up for the terrible spring window.
Now, on to the miscellany......
The weather is looking superb for tomorrow's RPBO Swiftsure Bank expedition. This will be my first of three full pelagic trips this year, with a Tofino trip and Westport trip to follow. Birds that have been seen in the past out yonder have included Black-footed Albatross, South Polar Skua, all three jaegers, Sooty, Pink-footed, Manx, and Short-tailed Shearwaters, Sabine's Gull, Arctic Tern, Northern Fulmar, etc, etc.
I remain with my fingers firmly crossed, as I have not been out into the open ocean since July 31, 2010, and have had three Westport trips (2 January and 1 September) cancelled since then due to weather.
As an offering to the birding gods for good luck, I post these pictures, which were taken off Grays Canyon, Westport, WA, on that long ago trip.
And this one, from a Swiftsure Bank fishing trip a few years back: