Dec. 15/07 - The Winter Blues
In addition to the Mountain Bluebirds, I finally caught up to the Red-throated Loon for some close-ups. It has been on my wish-list since 2003, and I finally caught a distant look at one about a month ago. I was elated to finally get a few close-ups despite the overcast skies. Now, if I can find this bird again when it is in breeding plumage ...
It's always fun to see a Bewick's Wren. We're lucky to have them as year-round residents.
"Gonna find me a bluebird ..." There's been many a song written about the bluebird, and why not? It is a beautiful bird and always a joy to see. I think this is an immature male bird. I'm guessing that as it developes into an adult, the eye-ring will become less prominent. The Mountain Bluebirds are a sad reminder that Western Bluebirds used to nest on the Island, but they have been extirpated from most of the west coast for decades.
It's not surprising to see Mountain Bluebirds at this time of year. They are very hearty birds that breed far into the north, and often dawdle well into winter on their southern migration.
Their diet consists mainly of insects, spiders, and berries when available.
They have several hunting styles. The most common is to perch on a post, branch, fence, or wire and fly down to the ground when the prey is located. They can also snatch insects from the air, and sometimes they'll just hop around like a robin and forage on the ground.
Female Mountain Bluebirds are usually gray or brownish gray on the head and back. Their only blue is on the wings and tail. Adult females retain their white eye-rings.
Venison anyone? Here's one gull that won't be hungry for awhile.
The Sebastion Park Spottie is the most photographed Spotted Sandpaper on the Island.
It is one of the few spotties that spends the winter around the Mid-Island.
I just had to check on the bluebirds to see if they were still around. I didn't see any until one popped up right beside where I was parked. The pre-treated post was an improvement over the wire.
However, I don't mean to be critical. I enjoyed the birds regardless of what they were sitting on.
The Missing Loon - I wonder how abundant Red-throated Loons are. I've now seen 2 after almost 5 years of fairly intensive birding, and they've both been in the past month. Put it this way, I've seen more Yellow-billed Loons than Red-throated Loons.
At first I thought there was a Pacific Loon in Schooner Cove Marina. A close look revealed a slimmer and more streamlined loon than the Pacific Loon.
I was surprised that the loon didn't panic when it finally saw mw with my camera.
It calmly continued diving for food before gradually working its way out of Schooner Cove marina.
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SAANICH - WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
CAMPBELL RIVER - SAVE-ON FOODS
DUNCAN - VOLUME 1 BOOKSTORE
CHEMAINUS - Willow's Wild Bird Store
LADYSMITH - SALAMANDER BOOKS
NANOOSE - SCHOONER COVE MARINA
LAKE COWICHAN - GALLOPING MOON GALLERY
TOFINO - BOTANICAL GARDENS
Quadra Island - EXPLORE & BOOK BONANZA
SIDNEY - VICTORIAN BIRD HOUSE, TANNER'S BOOKSTORE
COMOX - BLUE HERON BOOKS
BOWSER - LIGHTHOUSE GIFTS
DEEP BAY - SHIP & SHORE
VICTORIA - BOLEN BOOKS, MUNRO'S, Crown Publications, Ivy's
UCLUELET - WORDS END BOOKSELLERS
Comments, questions, or book orders? email email@example.com