Locally, the story of the week was the discovery of the Lark Sparrow at San Malo Crescent by Dale Whitmee on Nov. 23. Apparently, the same species was sighted there 4 years ago, and prior to that, one was also there for 3 days 13 years ago. I visited the bird for 4 consecutive days and each time it was at exactly the same spot near the mailboxes on San Malo Crescent. It was in plain view right beside the road where it was feeding on what appears to be dead grass stems.

ROADSIDE BUDDY - Why is it that some birds show no fear of people and even vehicles? I was within 20' with my camera and passing cars were within 5' of the Lark Sparrow.

WESTCOAST DETOUR? According to the range map in Sibley's, the Lark Sparrow's summer range is the southern interior of B.C., the southern prairies, and central USA. Its winter range is Mexico. I wonder where this bird came from? Maybe it could only use its airmiles to fly west before heading south.

Nov. 25/04 - It is amazing how the sunshine can lift one's spirits. After 5 consecutive days of rain, clouds, and fog, it felt like getting out of prison today. Grabbing my camera, I decided to do the Deep Bay run, stopping at San Malo, French Creek, and Qualicum on the way. Aside from the Lark Sparrow, there was nothing unusual, but it was refreshing and therapeutic just to be out in the sun visiting some of my old favorites.

RED-EYE SPECIAL - I had just finished explaining to a curious passerby that I was hoping to get a picture of the Horned Grebe that was much too far away (100') for a decent shot. Somehow, the bird read my mind and started cruising towards me. I couldn't believe it when it came within 20' of me. Click! Click! Click!

WORMY DIET? - I've only seen Horned Grebes with food 3 times, and every time it was the same kind of worm or whatever it has in the photo. (Correction: David Allison has informed me that the "worm" is actually a pipefish. Thanks David.)

SINGING IN THE SUNSHINE - The female Harlequin at Qualicum was enjoying the sunshine so much that she broke out in song. "You are my sunshine ..."

CATCHING RAYS - Meanwhile, the male Harlequin was content to just do a little grooming and work on its sun tan.

DUCKY YOGA? - The female Long-tailed Duck at Deep Bay was caught up in the Yoga craze and doing its stretching routine.


DOWN THE HATCH - The Surf Scoter doesn't mess around when it eats a clam - just open the throat and swallow the boat!

CHOPSTICKS? - The Black Oystercatcher's bill is like a pair of chopsticks - great for reaching into tight places to pick out a snack.