Sept. 22 - On my last visit to Holden two days ago, I didn't find a single shorebird. There were hundreds of Savannah Sparrows, the odd American Pipit, and a few Bewick's Wrens. I was especially disappointed for my friend, Joe, who was hoping for a Pectoral and maybe some juvenile Short-billed Dowitchers so I decided to check again. This time there were 2 Pectorals and 5 Least. There was still no sign of the expected flocks of juvenile dowitchers. As usual, there was an abundance of Savannahs, but today there was also a good showing of Lincoln's Sparrows. They were the first I'd seen since spring.
The Lincoln's is one of my favorite sparrows. Most of them are just passing through on their migration south. The large flocks are usually very skittish, but occasionally one lags behind for a photo.
Only a few are hearty enough to brave our unprdictable weather.
Last winter I was surprised to see a Lincoln's at my feeders during our worst snowfall.
Savannahs must be one of our most abundant sparrows in the fall unlike some eastern states where they have been extirpated because of the development and destruction of grassland habitats. They are quite approachable especially at Cattle Point which makes them good subjects for phototgraphy.
Savannah at Holden creek.
Savannah at Cattle Point.
Savannah at French Creek.
Sept. 24 - I've been neglecting Kaye Road since my Kestrel-watch during July. It was time to check out the nature trail at Peterson Road. The expected White-crowned Sparrows were plentiful and the low brushy area was quite busy.
I wasn't surprised to see Northern Flickers everywhere as there were at least two nests in the area. There were three in a small choke cherry tree snacking on the cherries.
There seemed to be one or two on every snag. The red patch on the back of the head indicates a hybrid between the red and yellow shafted.
There were a couple of flycatchers amongst the many warblers.
They all seemed to be of the Pacific-slope variety.
By far the most abundant bird was the Yellow-rumped Warblers, and I love taking their photos. One of these days I'll get one that I really like.
Sept. 25 - Did I mention that I had finished my roofing job? It's waterproof, moss-proof, fire-proof, and ready for the winter. I was supposed to be in Nanaimo pricing out materials for my next job - rebuilding a porch, but decided to check to see if Frieda at Salamander Books in Ladysmith needed any more books. Good decision - she was out of stock. That gave me an excuse to stop and bird at a few spots: Cassidy Airport - nothing; Holden Creek - six Pectorals; and Buttertubs - a nice surprise.
Holden - I have many Pectoral photos this year, but when a bird poses and asks to have its picture taken, how can I say no?
Buttertubs - Wood Ducks breed at Buttertubs so it's not surprising to see them all over the marsh.
Most of them lounge on the concrete base of the Osprey platform.
A Green Heron Year - I never saw a Green Heron in my first three years of birding. This year I've seen and photographed three. The first was at the Courtenay Airpark, the second at Somenos Marsh, and now, Buttertubs.
I was surprised to seen the Green Heron on one of the dead oaks along the dyke. It was only 8 meters from me, but it was in the shade, and I only had a 5 inch window through the blackberry vines. I didn't dare move so had to make the best of my limited position.
Conditions weren't ideal, but being close made up for the shade.
I had the Green Heron all to myself for about five magical minutes before it was flushed by some pedestrians.
None of the walkers had ever seen or heard of a Green Heron. It was an exciting moment for them too.
Pied-billed Grebes also nest at Buttertubs.
The Grebe was too far away for a photo, but it's always fun to watch them eating.
Did I mention that Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere? They were certainly plentiful at Buttertubs. There were probably a few other species that I missed as well. That's a good excuse to go again in the near future.
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