Monday, November 16, 2015

Tufted Duck at Salt Spring Island, Nov. 15

On the morning of Nov. 15, John Sprague found a Tufted Duck in Outer Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island. The bird was floating in a raft of 51 Red-breasted Mergansers, and several grebes. He described the bird as a juvenile.

The bird was about 300 m away near Third Sisters Island, and good scope views were obtained.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


On November 9th Geoffrey Newell found a finch near the corner of Beach Dr. and Newport Ave. at the Victoria Golf Course at 12:00 pm. The bird was reported to be very vocal, calling from a tree top and roof top. Initially identified as a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, photos that were subsequently posted appear to show an Oriental Greenfinch.

Update: The bird was not found during searches on Nov. 11th.

The call heard was described as a "rather soft, yet slightly husky, and obviously finch-like chortle, somewhat like 'prech prech prech' with 3-4 notes together".

Two photos were obtained. The bottom picture here is a crop of one of these photos.
Photos: Geoffrey Newell
Provenance is always a concern for a species such as this, with both wild and captive origins being possible. There are no accepted North American records for this species outside of Alaska. There is one previous report from British Columbia, a bird seen on 27 May 2009 in Francois Lake. That bird was ultimately not accepted by the BC BRC (see British Columbia Birds Vol. 25 for a discussion of that bird). California has three previous not-accepted records, The California record for which the identification was not questioned, but for which origin was a concern, was a bird present 04 Dec. 1986 - 03 April 1987 in Arcata. The Arcata bird was associating with House Finches, which birders may wish to keep in mind when searching for this current bird.

There are six subspecies of Oriental Greenfinch. Only one, C. s. kawarahiba, is generally considered to be able to vagrate to North America owing to its breeding range and migratory habits. Although the photo is poor, the deep chestnut breast and perhaps head pattern seem to fit this subspecies.

As always, comments on the identification, subspecies ID, or updates on sightings are welcomed and encouraged.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

NORTHERN PARULA at Vaseux Lake - Nov 5

This morning Jim Ginns, Janna Leslie and Paul Graham found a beautiful immature male Northern Parula! The bird was first seen at 9:15 am and was still present when they left at 10:45 am. It was foraging in the birch trees just before the start of the board walk. The bird stayed on the north side of the trail for the most part actively foraging in the birch. Paul Graham photographed the bird.
*Update - The bird has not been relocated on Nov 6th.*

Paul Graham

Monday, November 2, 2015

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in Victoria, November 2

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was found the morning of November 2nd in Victoria near the Chinese Cemetary (at Crescent Rd/Penzance Rd east of Clover Point) by Mike and Barb McGrenere. The bird was seen until about 10:15 am. The bird was in some low bushes at the point before flying north of the point towards some houses and into a pine tree. It was reportedly calling and foraging. The bird was not seen between 10:15 and 11:15 am, but is likely still in the vicinity.

Photo: Aziza Cooper

Friday, October 30, 2015

FIELD SPARROW at Oliver's Landing (near Squamish), Oct. 30-31

A Field Sparrow was found by Ken Wright at Furry Creek, Oliver's Landing, at 4:10 pm on Oct. 30th. From the townhouses at Oliver's Landing there's a trail that follows the seashore; walk until you get to a couple of orange cones and some gravel. The bird was near the cones. The coordinates for the location are 49.5854 N, -123.2248 W.  This would be a first provincial record if accepted.
The bird was relocated just south of the same area associating with White-crowned sparrows on the morning of Oct 31st but was not relocated since.

Update: There have been no reports either positive or negative on this bird since one observer reported the bird first thing the morning of October 31st. Further updates by anybody looking are appreciated, and can be left in the comments section or emailed.

Photo: Ken Wright

Sunday, October 25, 2015

BC First: WOOD THRUSH in Summerland, Oct 25-27!

Around 8:20 am on Sunday October 25th, Robyn, Tom, and Matthew Lowery looked out their window to find a stunning WOOD THRUSH in their back yard. This is 5816 Nixon Road in the village of Trout Creek (in between Summerland and Penticton). The bird was also viewed in The Campbell's neighboring driveway at 5618 Nixon Rd (Please stay on the driveway here to view the bird in the front yard). The bird was viewed again on Oct 26th and 27th by multiple observers in both locations!

Update: We have received no positive reports for this bird on October 28th or 29th, further updates either positive or negative are appreciated.

If accepted, this would be a first for British Columbia. The Lowerys are open to visitors, and suggest "one can approach the backyard through a south gate and that morning might be the best time for find it" (Fide Laurie Rockwell)

The 5816 property hosted a Brambling in the winter of 2012/2013.

Photo: Peter Candido - Oct 26 (5618 Nixon Rd)
Photo: Robyn Deyoung - Oct 25 (5816 Nixon Rd)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

BROWN BOOBY (a different one) west of Bamfield, Oct. 20

Observers aboard a NOAA research vessel found an adult female Brown Booby on October 20th (Alicia Amerson). The bird was at N 48˚ 47.08" W 125˚ 20.62". This is about 9 km west of Cape Beale, near Bamfield, on Vancouver Island.

Numbers of Brown Boobies have been sighted all along the Pacific coast this fall, and more birds may yet be found by dedicated or lucky observers.