Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oct 25--Sharp-tailed Sandpiper near Quesnel

Well normally Sharp-tailed Sandpiper doesn't quite qualify as "front page material" when it comes to the BC Bird Alert as there are 10+ each year around Vancouver and several others on Vancouver Island, Salmon Arm, and of course--Pantage Lake!

While dense vegetation on Pantage this year has made shorebirding difficult for Rod Sargent and Adrian Leather (the Cariboo's dynamic shorebirding duo), there have still been some good birds including 6 and now 7 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers this fall. This species used to be unheard of in the interior but regular coverage and discoveries of new hot spots like Pantage Lake are demonstrating that they do indeed come through in the interior in small numbers (they had over 20 two years ago!). Anyway, it's now October 25th, and as you can see from this photo, it's snowy, icy, and foggy up around Quesnel (-2 degrees), and yet Rod Sargent found another Sharpie!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oct 12--White-headed Woodpecker seen near Merritt

Thanks to David Schutz for passing on a report from Al Serfas of a White-headed Woodpecker (seen by Al) on Thanksgiving weekend along the Coldwater Rd SW of Merritt. When questioned, the ID sounds reliable so this may very well be worth checking out for birders in the Nicola Valley, or anyone desperate for a White-topped Pine-picker in Canada!

Below are the sight details from Al:

(Along Coldwater Rd--Roughly 20km south of Merritt): There are a bunch of large bales wrapped in green plastic on the north side of the road and a rail fenced corral on the south. There are gas pipeline markers there as the pipeline crosses the road. The pine trees are on the north side just east of all the green bales, and the bird was seen well moving through these pines. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Oct 13-14--Red-throated Pipit near Victoria

From Dave Fraser:

"At about noon four pipits flushed off the newly plowed field on Puckle Rd (Martindale Flats, Saanich Peninsula). Settled briefly back down and then flew towards the plowed fields on Lamont Rd. One was a bright adult Red-throated Pipit (face, throat and chest chestnut red, heavily streaks on sides) the other three I assumed were American Pipits although to be honest I hardly looked at them. I have been unable to find them from Lamont Rd for the last 15 minutes or so."

Click HERE for Dave Fraser's checklist complete with field sketches.

Seen again nearby on the 14th by Kirsten Mills. It has not been reported since.


Watch here for updates.

Oct 12--Black-throated Blue Warbler banded near Victoria

An apparent hatch-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler was banded at the Pedder Bay site of Rocky Point Bird Observatory (west of Victoria) on October 12.  Subsequent efforts to relocate this bird were unsuccessful.  Many cameras were luckily on hand for this bird and Emma and Rebecca Reader-Lee have supplied a couple nice shots of it.

Photo: Emma Reader-Lee
Photo: Rebecca Reader-Lee

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oct 10-23--Lesser Black-backed Gull in Penticton

This 3rd-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull was discovered near the S.S. Sicamous in the SW corner of Okanagan Lake (Penticton) by Dick Cannings on Oct 10. It was soon after photographed (above) by Laure Neish, and since then it has been seen off and on along the Okanagan beachfront in Penticton (Lakeshore Drive). It seems to be absent for most of the day with daily sightings ranging from early morning to late afternoon. Once a reliable visitors to several locations in the Okanagan each winter, this species has been more irregular over the past few years.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Oct 10--Dickcissel in Francois Lake

Keith Walker photographed this Dickcissel in his yard on Oct 10. Nice find for Francois Lake--near Burns Lake in West-Central BC.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

TROPICAL KINGBIRD Season Begins!

I was recently alerted to a post on the British Columbia Birds group on Facebook from Ivan Dubinsky who is the senior lightkeeper at the Scarlett Point Lighthouse on Balaklava Island, nearly 20 km northwest of Port Hardy off the northern end of Vancouver Island.  The word was he had photographed a Tropical Kingbird yesterday (October 7) afternoon.

I brought up the post and found great documentation of a radiant, yellow-chested kingbird with an olive wash to the back and a rather bulky bill.  The tail unfortunately doesn't show the classic notch based on the angle of the photos, but the tail doesn't look black with white outer tail feathers like a Western would show.  At this time of year, though, we definitely expect the odd Tropical Kingbird to show up along our coastline.

Tropical Kingbird showing a touch of a notch in the tail (Photo: Ivan Dubinsky)

Fantastic profile shot showing the heavy bill and olive-washed back (Photo: Ivan Dubinsky)

With Ivan's report, I guess the Tropical Kingbird season is officially underway and birders should be on the lookout for more.  Hopefully a couple reports of chaseable Tropical Kingbirds come in over the next few weeks!