Saturday, April 02, 2011

Hit The Wall

Stellers Jay (Through my Window!)
There comes a time in every birders life when you simply hit the wall and no matter how hard you try you simply can't add any more species to the list. I'm not a profound list maker by nature, but I always enjoy a challenge when birding abroad. This particular trip for example I was quietly confident of recording 110 species, having passed that total with flying colours, I've now set my stall out to reach a difficult 130 by the time I depart, which will be sometime in the next 10 days.

I've now been here in Vancouver for just over 3 weeks, have visited all the known birding hotspots, some twice, and have recorded 121 species thus far. Having reviewed my current list it seems that from this point forward I'm relying almost totally on spring migration to boost the numbers, a task in itself made even more difficult by the coming weeks weather, rain, rain and even more rain!

Unlike the UK where it seems migration is in full swing, here in British Columbia things have slightly stalled. Cold, blustery north winds have kept many expected species away from the region and even very early species are here in small numbers. When visiting Maplewood Flats for a second time on Friday April 1st the talk was of last years earliest ever arrival of Osprey on this date.

No signs of any Osprey's yet having trawled the forums, and it now looks certain that Terns and Shorebirds are likely to begin arriving shortly after my departure. However, a few species which do seem to be passing through include Mountain Bluebird and Townsend Warbler, so it seems that for the next week I have my work cut out, I always did enjoy a challenge!

As a sub note: Despite visiting so many habitats over the past three weeks one bird which has surprisingly eluded me has been Steller's Jay (pictured above). That is until today, when a commotion on the apartment balcony which I went to investigate, was being caused by two Steller's in full battle with two American Robin's, great fun to watch, the Robins Won!!