JOURNAL 198 Mar. 15/07 - Almost Deja Vu!
Mar. 15/07 - Almost Deja Vu!
Last year near mid-March I dawdled my way towards Qualicum, stopping to enjoy the birds and sights at the San Malo Mud Flats, Parksville Beach, and French Creek. When I finally pulled into the viewing area at the north end of Qualicum, the crowd of bird watchers was just dispersing. I recognized gull expert, Jonathan Simms from Germany, and fellow photographer, Ralph Hocken. They had that satisfied look on their faces. I knew I had just missed something good. As I caught up to them, Ralph cheerfully announced, "The Slaty-backed was just here on the rocks for point-blank shots, and it just left." Of course, I was disappointed to say the least as it would have been a new bird for my next book. Jonathan kindly offered to help me relocate the rare bird, but all we got were a few distant looks before it left the area.
A year later I was again heading to Qualicum but on some book business. This time I didn't dawdle, and after my business, I headed for the beach. Guess who I saw near the public restrooms? It was Jonathan and Ralph. I was prepared for the bad news as I pulled over beside them. "Did you find the Slaty-backed? I tentatively asked. (We had all read Art Martell's sighting of a Slaty-backed in Qualicum Bay the day before.) I was relieved when Ralph responded, "No, but we're still looking." "Great, I'll come with you," I proclaimed.
We parked at the pull-off just west of the viewing stand and proceeded to scan the flock. Jonathan and I were pointing out a Western to Ralph when a Bald Eagle circled by and scattered the flock. The gulls returned as the eagle passed, and we thought we had relocated the Western when Jonathan exclaimed, "It's not a Western!" Miraculously, the Western had disappeared and was replaced by the Slaty-backed!!!
Talk about coincidences. A year earlier Jonathan had come from Germany to visit his parents when he and Ralph discovered "Slaty-backed 2006" in almost the same spot. It was a good thing I didn't dawdle my way this year, because I was present with Jonathan and Ralph when "Slaty-backed 2007" arrived in Qualicum. It would have been deja vu for me again if I were a half hour later. What's the odds of a Slaty-backed from Alaska or Asia, Joanathan from Germany, Ralph from Lantzville, and I from Nanoose rendezvousing in the same area at the same time a year later?
A Slaty Surprise - Much to our delight, after the eagle shuffled the deck, the Western had been replaced by the Slaty-backed. Depending on the lighting, the Slaty is dark slate gray or almost black.
Freshening Up - Slaty's first order of business was its grooming. Nothing like a refreshing bath to start the day. (Don't want anyone to complain about my b.o.!)
Hero's Welcome - Slaty was given a rousing reception as all the other gulls realized how far Slaty had to travel to visit them. Most Slaty's come from western Alaska or northeast Asia.
Right at Home - Slaty fit right in with the flock. "It's good to visit some of my southern cousins once in awhile."
Yawn. Things are too quiet around here. Maybe I should move on.
I wonder where all the action is. How's the Rod & Gun these days?
Moving On - Slaty had a lot of relatives he wanted to visit. After a few quick good-byes, he was off, heading southeast. Keep your eyes open Victoria.
Iceland Gull - Kumlien's
Jonathan was trying to do his best to explaim the Kumlien's, but it hasn't quite sunk in yet. The only point I retained was regarding the little pointed head.
Kumliens? with Thayers.
Here's two more gulls for you to ponder.
Close up of left gull with bill exposed.
The gull on the right ...
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SAVE-ON FOODS (WOODGROVE)
SAVE-ON FOODS (COUNTRY CLUB)
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY - Ship & SHORE
SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS
CAMPBELL RIVER - CAMPBELL RIVER MUSEUM
DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE
CHEMAINUS - LITTLE SHOP OF NOVELS
LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS
NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA
SOOKE - SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE
LAKE COWICHAN - GALLOPING MOON GALLERY
TOFINO - BOTANICAL GARDENS
UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS
Quadra Island - EXPLORE & BOOK BONANZA
Comments, questions, or book orders? email email@example.com