Sept. 11/04, 2004


So far I've heard 2 expert birders remark that September is their favorite bird month. As a novice birder and photographer, I have to reserve judgement. It'll all depend on the birds I see and the photos I get this month. I'm hoping the experts are right. The Common Nighthawk and Wilson's Warbler in my last journal were great birds to start with.

GOOSE SPIT SANDERLING - On Sept. 4, we hiked around the Goose Spit in Comox and ran into a small flock of Bonaparte Gulls. Among the gulls was a lone Sanderling.

DEEP BAY TERNS - Just like clockwork, the Common Terns arrived at Deep Bay in mid Aug. Most are gone by mid-September. This picture was taken on Sept. 6. On Sept. 10, we enjoyed another Deep Bay feature - the Parasitic Jaegers. At least 4 Parasitics were in action attacking the gulls reminiscent of a WW1 aerial dogfight. (Sorry, only distant, fuzzy pics.)

EAGLECREST LINCOLN'S - I always thought the field next to Eaglecrest Golf Course would be good for birds. On Sept. 6 I decided to check out my theory. Besides the White-crowned Sparrows, House Finches, Hammond Flycatchers, and Song Sparrows, I found a few Lincoln Sparrows.

NANOOSE ESTUARY - On Sept. 6 I also decided to check out the Nanoose Creek Estuary. Savannah Sparrows, Common Yellowthroat, and House Finches were abundant. I also managed to find a Warbling Vireo as well as a Willow Flycatcher.

BUTTERTUBS GREBES - On Sept. 9 I finally got around to checking out Buttertubs Marsh. It was mid-afternoon and the place was dead except for the constant peep of baby Pied-billed Grebes. I decided to check out one of the few accesses to the marsh along a drainage line. I had fun pishing a couple of Marsh Wren and was about to leave when I noticed the peeping was getting closer. I froze for 10 minutes and was rewarded as an adult Pied-billed and baby came into sight. I was amazed to see the baby swallow a small yellow perch in one gulp. Later, I had another surprise as I stepped onto the fallen oak tree on the east side. I got my first look at the Green heron as it flew up and over to another part of the marsh. (Didn't even get my camera off my shoulder.)

CRAIG BAY SOLITARY RETURNS - On the afternoon of Sept. 11, I made a quick stop at Craig Bay to check out a small pond. On my approach I spotted a brown shape in a tall snag about 150 feet away. I quickly threw my camera on the tripod and zoomed in to a gorgeous Redtail Hawk. I was too far away for a decent picture but clicked a couple for the record just as it flew. The fan of red feathers was spectacular - too bad it's not good enough to post. Maybe next time. (It was the 2nd Redtail I'd seen in 3 days.) As I approached the pond, a flock of passerines landed in a distant tree, but I was distracted by another sound. Looking at the pond, there was a pair of Solitary Sandpipers! I probably checked the pond at least once a week since I last saw the Solitary in July. I was finally rewarded for my perserverence. Unfortunately, the whole area is currently being developed. My favorite patch of deciduous forest is gone, and I'm sure this pond will soon be filled.