Feb. 12/05 - DUNCAN DAY
If yesterday was a sign of global warming, it wasn't hard to take. A friend told me that the best fish 'n chips on the Island was at Cowichan Bay so that was our plan for the day. Of course, there would be stops at Art Mann Park and Dock Road before lunch, and Cherry Point, Lakes Road, and Somenos Lake after lunch. Following the golden rays of morning sun to Duncan, we arrived at Art Mann at 9:30 AM. Quamichan is great for a scope or "bins" but not for photography. However, contrary to popular belief, I can actually enjoy the birds without taking their pictures and the lake was picture perfect with Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaup, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, and Double-crested Cormorants just out of camera range. The marsh beside the lake was also very birdy with Gold-crowned Sparrows, Marsh Wren, House Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Brown Creepers. The Dock Road was next and also replete with birds, but in the vernacular of birders, we "dipped" (struck out) on the mythical Eurasian Teal. Now, to the important news. We arrived at the Rock Cod cafe at 11:45 and easily got a table. If you ever want lunch there, I would recommend the same timing as 15 minutes later, there was a line-up 20 deep. And yes, the batter was light and tasty, and the halibut was done to perfection. I will be back in a few weeks! As for the rest of the day, we also dipped on the White-throated Sparrow at Cherry Point (where's Chris S. when I need him) and ditto for the Marsh Sparrows at Somenos. Looking at the bright side, the sun was therapeutic and it was a pleasure seeing Sandy (the Sandhill) again and a bunch of Shovelers on the other side of Lakes Road.
I'll apologize for this commercial break now, sorry, but I'm thinking of publishing a 128 page color book of my best photos. Email me if you think it's a good idea or not. No commitment to buy is necessary, but it would be about $20 - $25 a book. I'm just trying to make up my mind.
A TRIBUTE TO THE SHOVELER
I've never mentioned this before, but it was the humble Northern Shoveler that got me started in birding. 2 years ago I spotted some ducks grovelling in a swamp near Wall Beach. I'd never seen anything with such an amazing wide bill. I watched for an hour and have been watching birds since.
DISHELLED SHOVELER - I've never seen a Shoveler like this before, but I assume it's a juvenile male in transition plumage on the way to becoming an adult.
CLASSIC MALE - Thanks to a bird just like this for getting me started in birding and photography. I've had 2 years of fun and enjoyment since then.
CLASSIC FEMALE - When I first saw a female Shoveler 2 years ago, I thought it was a Mallard until I saw the over-sized spoon bill.
HOUSE BIRD - House Sparrows seem to be everywhere these days including Art Mann Park. I suppose their populations are rising at the expense of other birds.
CLASSIC BEAUTY - With it's long, slender, graceful neck and striking colours, the Northern Pintail at Dock Road would be a wonderful photographic subject if one could ever get close to it.
CONSOLATION BIRD - I dipped on the White-throated Sparrow at Cherry Point so all you get is the Pine Siskin.
GOOD OLD SANDY - It was good to see Sandy (the Sandhill Crane) again, and Sandy was looking good down on Lakes Road in Duncan.
BRICKYARD BIRD - We had a frost delay on Feb. 9 at Fairwinds so I walked out to Brickyard Point to enjoy the scenery. Among the many birds present was a Pileated Woodpecker.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
HUNKERS! - How old do you have to be to know what "hunkers" means? Over 50 years ago when your friends yelled, "Hunkers!" it meant that you had to share whatever you were eating. The Red-breasted Merganser at San Pareil didn't stick around when his buddies yelled hunkers a few weeks ago.