Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dee's Weekend!

Dee's 'American Bittern'
With the wife having to work the whole week while I've been out birding every day, this weekend was entirely devoted to Dee, and with a hire car at our disposal we had the perfect opportunity to go a little further afield.

Dee chose The Reifel Bird Sanctuary for our Saturday trip, somewhere I'd visited earlier in the week, and Squamish for Sunday. I must say she couldn't have picked a more perfect weekend weather wise!

I was delighted that Dee had chosen the Reifel Sanctuary, firstly because I was desperate for her to see Northern Saw-whet Owl, Owls being her favourite birds, and secondly, because it's such an amazing place to visit. I can report that she certainly wasn't disappointed, personally finding not one but two Owls, and coming up trumps yet again by finding my first American Bittern of this visit, which posed for her beautifully while she happily snapped away. I was really pleased that we'd managed to see all of the species I'd recorded here last Wednesday, and was even more grateful when I recorded a second addition of the day to my current list in the form of Violet-Green Swallow.

Today, Sunday, was a gorgeous day with the temperature up to a very balmy 15C. We took the hour long drive northwards up to Squamish, a place we'd stayed and enjoyed last September when completing the final stages of our RV tour from Calgary to Vancouver.

Rufous Hummingbird (Library Image)
The first surprise of the day was when we were enjoying a coffee in Starbucks, our second favourite pastime, when to my astonishment a small orange flighty shape sped past the window, a Rufous Hummingbird no less! The Rufous was high on my hit list for this visit to Canada but I never expected to connect in such a manner, but who's complaining!

We took the drive across to the estuary which, although the sun was shining, was extremely blustery with a biting wind coming off the mountains. Consequently the birding was poor by comparison to recent days, but we still managed, Bald Eagle, American Wigeon, Barrow's and Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Bufflehead. However the second surprise of the day was during the drive back along the causeway, when suddenly to our surprise what I first thought to be a Canadian Lynx walked out in front of us.

Our First Bobcat!
Although the whole thing happened so quickly, Dee managed to fire off a few camera shots, a cropped version of one is displayed here. Having investigated our sighting I'm now certain that what we have is a Bobcat! With a grey to brown coat, whiskered face, and black-tufted ears, the Bobcat resembles the other species of the mid-sized Lynx genus.

The Bobcat is smaller than the Canadian Lynx, with which it shares parts of its range, but is about twice as large as the domestic cat. It has distinctive black bars on its forelegs, which you can clearly see in Dee's shot, and a black-tipped, stubby tail, also visible, from which it derives its name. Still another welcome addition to our Canadian Species list and a wonderful animal to see out of the blue.