Monday, April 11, 2011

Final Week

Locally Rare Yellow-Headed Blackbird
This is the last week of my current visit to Canada and with today probably being the best day of the week weather wise, I decided to have another go at Iona Beach Regional Park before the rain arrives tomorrow.

After arriving at Templeton I set off on my usual 7Km walk from the rail station down to Iona. After around 20 minutes I'd recorded Rough-Legged Hawk, good numbers of Killdeer, Savannah Sparrow and a few Golden-Crowned Sparrow, which have now begun to sing. A lady I bumped into also told me that an Orange-crowned Warlbler had also been heard singing on McDonald Road, but after a short search I never managed to make contact. After around 30 minutes I was lucky enough to pick up a lift from a fellow birder, John Voight, who I ended up spending the rest of the morning with, turns out John is a regular visitor to the reserve and was great company. Just hope I've got his surname correct!

A walk around the sewage treatment ponds on arrival was very productive with two more species to add to my current list, Northern Rough-Winged Swallow and Cliff Swallow, which were mingled in with Tree, Barn and Violet-Green. The pools contained the usual Pintail, Scaup, Northern Shoveler and American Wigeon.

After moving on to the North and South Marshes, as like on my last visit, alive with birdsong, it wasn't long before good numbers of Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Marsh Wren and Red-Winged Blackbird were recorded, a Wilson's Snipe was also seen in flight.

A bird definitely on my wish list for today was the locally rare Yellow-Headed Blackbird, a regular spring and summer visitor here and a species I'd only recorded once before. I was therefore delighted when as John and I went to investigate a Virginia Rail calling, one of these beautiful birds was perched midway in the reeds. After a further five minute search we also managed to make contact with the Virginia Rail, which could be seen skulking low in the reed bed.

Cliff Swallow (Library Image)
A look around the Fraser River and across the Strait and around the brush in search of Lincoln's Sparrow turned up Osprey, which came low overhead, and two Caspian Tern which were seen in flight near the North Arm Jetty. A final walk around the treatment ponds before John departed had our second Yellow-Headed blackbird of the day, plus Peregrine and a group of 8 Greater Yellowlegs.

It turned out to be a day of meetings as shortly after John left I caught up with Derek Killby yet again, another local birder and Derek and I took another good tour of the North and South Marsh. Unfortunately we were unable to find either Yellow-Winged Blackbird for Derek to see, but did manage Northern Shrike, Brewer's Blackbird's, American Goldfinch and Myrtle Warbler. The pools contained Ringed-Necked Duck, Bufflehead, Scaup and Pied-Billed Grebe. Another excellent days birding once again and many thanks to Derek who gave me a lift all the way back to Downtown Vancouver.

Also seen to day of note: Bald Eagle, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, White-Crown Sparrow, House Finch, Herring Gull, Fox Sparrow, Muskrat, Harbour Seal and Garter Snake.