Friday, March 25, 2011

Hutton's Vireo

Hutton's Vireo, Another 1st For Me!
The weather here in Vancouver over the past few days has been very spring-like, with a light breeze and lots of sunshine, I've certainly taken full advantage. Yesterday Thursday, I took another look at Stanley Park, starting my walk once more at the Lost Lagoon and tracking back via the seawall overlooking English Bay.

Having spoken to a few local birders, amazingly a rare breed themselves, and checked various local birding websites, my target bird for the day was Hutton's Vireo, which had been reported as arriving in the Park. It closely resembles a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but having researched the bird, and in particular it's song, I was confident of being able to ID this little chap.

Douglas Squirrel
My first bird of the day turned out to be Merlin, as one whizzed over the appartment block as I walked down to the lagoon. The Lagoon itself  had the usual waterfowl with good numbers of Scaup, several Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, and today a pair of Ring-necked Duck.

The track around gave me my first opportunity to test my Vireo skills but no joy, both birds in question being very frisky Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the male displaying and giving stunning views of the vivid ruby red crown. By the time I disappeared into the park I'd spent several enjoyable minutes watching a Pileated Woodpecker absolutely destroy part of a tree, much to the annoyance of a Douglas Squirrel.

A good walk around Beaver Lake in the parks interior, which was very quiet by recent comparisons, but I still managed Spotted Towhee, Song and Fox Sparrow plus Bushtit and Red-winged Blackbird. When I did finally stumble on my main target for the day I needn't have worried about the ID, the bird was singing with gusto, popping out nicely into the open and thus delivering my first spring migrant, and indeed my first ever Hutton's Vireo!

The walk back to the appartment along the seawall was equally as quiet, smaller numbers of Barrow's Goldeneye and Surf Scoter, the majority of wintering birds now having moved off northwards. A lone Black Oystercatcher, a pair of Harlequin Duck and Hooded Merganser being the highlights.

Life's Such a Stress!
Friday, and my goodness how quickly the first two weeks have passed. Having trekked for absolutely miles around the Vancouver District over past 14 days, I actually took the day off from birding, well apart from Gull watching for a little while down on the harbour.

Surprisingly enough Vancouver Harbour is not as prolific as you might think for Gulls. The majority that are here are mostly Glaucous -winged, but having spent 90 minutes I did manage to pick out Thayers, Mew and Californian.

This weekend is an intense one and I have to put my corporate business head on, so sadly birding will have to take a back seat. Fortunately, next week I have more days out to look forward to with my birding buddy Rob Catchpole, and so here's hoping that more spring migrants appear over the coming days.