Thursday, November 26, 2015

Possible McKAY's BUNTING on Sunshine Coast, November 24

On November 24 at approximately 10:00 a.m., John Hodges found an interesting Plectrophenax bunting along the Roberts Creek Pier on the Sunshine Coast (between Gibsons and Sechelt).  He managed to watch the bird for around 15 minutes, but heavy foot traffic at the site resulted in the bird being flushed repeatedly and subsequent search efforts have failed to relocate it.

In this photo, the bird appears very pale overall, especially on the mantle, greater coverts and primaries

This photo emphasizes the paleness of the bird, with the mantle down through the uppertail coverts being much whiter than you would expect on a Snow Bunting.
And here's one last shot to show this bird's paleness compared to typical Snow Buntings
Based on the thin, dark streaks on the mantle and the lack of dark markings from the back down to the uppertail coverts, this bird should be a McKay's Bunting or McKay's x Snow Bunting hybrid.

In addition to searching the immediate area, birders on the Lower Mainland should be on the lookout for this bird.  Only three McKay's Buntings have been recorded in British Columbia, which are summarized in an E-Fauna article here: 

You will note the similarity in appearance of the above bird to the second-winter female seen at the Iona Jetty in the winter of 2004/5, shown in the article linked above.  As always, input on the identification is welcome and appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. Information on the second McKay's Bunting found in BC this year (In Haida Gwaii) can be found here.