February 17, 2004
Today I took advantage of one of those rare sunny days for a birding trek up to Comox with my buddy, Barry. Of course, we had to make a few stops on the way, starting with the Englishman River. We walked the peaceful riverside trail to duck heaven at the San Malo mud flats. As usual, there were lots of birds to see, but nothing close enough for the camera except for a few Song Sparrows and finches. My only shot was a long distance effort at what might be a Cooper's Hawk, but I'm not posting it as I'm tired of being wrong. (Most recently, I mistook a 1st year Common Goldeneye for some kind of hybrid.) Anyway, we didn't stay long as we had a lot of ground to cover - Parksville Bay, French Creek, Qualicum Beach, Deep Bay, Fanny Bay, Union Bay, Millard Road, Courtenay Airpark, Comox Marina, and Goose Spit. To make a long story short, we saw a lot of birds but nothing new. However, there were a few good photo "ops" that I'm happy to share with you.
SCOTER CONVENTION - The 2004 National Scoter Convention has been in session for the past few weeks in Parksville Bay near the Island Hall Convention Center.
FRENCH CREEK DINING - The service and cuisine in the French Creek Marina was very agreeable to this Pelagic Cormorant.
UNION BAY WELCOMING PARTY - The Greater Scaups were part of the Union Bay welcoming committee along with the Surf Scoters and Common Goldeneyes.
RIVER FISHER - The Courtenay River is a popular fishing and dining venue for many ducks including the Red-breasted Merganser. Looks like a little bonus salad went with the fish.
LAGOON LOUNGER - The Courtenay Airpark Lagoon is a pleasant location to spend a lazy afternoon relaxing just like the Common Goldeneye.
Ducks weren't the only birds at the Airpark. Pine Siskins were also enjoying the fine weather and alder seeds.
COMOX FASHION SHOW - Ms. Hooded Merganser was the center of attraction with her stylish new Marge Simpson hairdo at the Comox Marina.
CLAM CHOWDER TIME? - The White-winged Scoter was busy collecting clams at the Goose Spit. I wondered if it made clam chowder?
WOODPECKER HUNTING (Feb. 19) - Reacting to a reported sighting of a Lewis Woodpecker on Kaye Road (Parksville) I bribed Barry with the promise of breakfast to go on a woodpecker search. We struck out on the Lewis but we found a Northern Shrike, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Pine Siskins, and 2 Winter Wrens. The Sapsucker was most obliging as it posed beautifully for the camera.
Feb. 21, 2004
UBC TWITCHING - On Friday I had the pleasure of watching my daughter play volleyball for the T-Birds at UBC. After the game we decided to do a little "twitching" and had a surreal face-to-face visit with the mystical Great Grey Owl.
CALM and SERENE, the Great Gray was completely indifferent to our presence even as I stood a few feet beneath it and asked a few questions. But it totally ignored me as if preoccupied by matters of greater significance.
EXTRA SHOTS - The HORSESHOE BAY HERON and the UBC TOWHEE