Monday, September 29, 2014

Sep 29--YELLOW WAGTAIL in Queen Charlotte City

Not satisfied with simply finding a Little Stint near Victoria this fall, James Bradley just called in with this doozie for BC. Seen late this morning in Queen Charlotte City on Graham Island, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). The bird was found within the Skidegate Inlet Important Bird Area which supports globally important populations of Black Oystercatcher and Pigeon Guillemot. Exact location here.

Presumed to be the "Eastern" Yellow Wagtail. Contrary opinions on ID welcome.
Apparently it was quite wary and did not allow for an approach closer than 30m.
(Photos: James Bradley)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sep 25-29--Brambling in Victoria

Around 11 a.m., a female BRAMBLING was found feeding with juncos on Mount Tolmie (Location Map) in Victoria, BC (fide Keith Taylor).  It was still present around 1:30 p.m.

 Female Brambling on Mount Tolmie on September 25 (Photo: Keith Taylor)

*SEP 29--From Ted Ardley--"It was with a group of juncos up on that top rock on the right ridge then went to a lower flat ridge and was able to look down on it was able to watch it pop in and out for a good 10-15 minutes in the pouring rain.It flew by itself way down to the bottom of the hill to the north east towards the houses that line the the trees.So wondering if it's alternating between a feeder down there and this right hand ridge."

Watch for updates here as they come in.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sep 21--WHITE WAGTAIL in Salmon Arm!

 On the morning of the 21st (Sunday), Don Cecile photographed this apparent hatch-year WHITE WAGTAIL on the mudflats of Salmon Arm Bay in the southern interior of BC. It was foraging with close to 100 American Pipits. The flock flushed several times but Don was able to re-find it 3 times. Unfortunately it disappeared along with most of the pipits by 10am and was not located later in the day.

More specifically this was in the SW corner of Salmon Arm Bay near the mouth of the Salmon River. This requires parking at Peter Jannink Park then trudging out across wet mud for several hundred meters. The bird is presumed to have continued south but if you can find some big pipit flocks you may get lucky. Morning is by far the best time for peak numbers.

There are 9 other records of White/Black-backed Wagtail for BC, but this is the first occurrence of one in the interior.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sep 20--Brown Booby + Laysan Albatross near Tofino

On September 20th, John Forde and the Tofino Whale Center took 10 birders offshore to the continental shelf and things went pretty well! Fog was an issue early on but overall it was a great trip including two gems for BC birders: Brown Booby and Laysan Albatross (pictured below). For the full list of offshore birds seen that day, check out John Reynolds' eBird checklist.

Sep 20--White-winged Dove near Victoria

Cathy Carlson photographed a WHITE-WINGED DOVE in her yard today, feeding with Band-tailed Pigeons and Eurasian Collared-Doves.

White-winged Dove attending feeder in Shirley, BC (Photo: Cathy Carlson)

If the bird continues more information will be provided for those seeking to visit the area. This was in Shirley, BC (just west of Sooke on Vancouver Island).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sep 15-21--HUDSONIAN GODWIT--George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Photo: Douglas Brown
Kim Eckert and a group of other birders reported Hudsonian Godwit along with an Pacific Golden Plover and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in the West Field in the afternoon.

Sept 21-23-- Either the same one or a second bird showed up at Reifel again both days in the afternoon. 

BROWN BOOBY -- Fraser River Mouth

On Sept 14th a Brown Booby perched on the top of a fishing boat on the mouth of the South Arm of the Fraser River just north of Sand Heads. This bird was found by Tom Forge.

Photo: Tom Forge

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sep 13-15: Ruff at Iona

A juvenile RUFF (presumed to be a different bird from the one encountered at Reifel earlier in the year) was found at the Iona Sewage ponds (Richmond) on Sep 13 and was still being seen on Monday the 15th. Some photos HERE.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sep 13-Oct 26: Ash-throated Flycatcher in Delta

There was an Ash-throated Flycatcher at Boundary Bay today (Sept 13). Nick Balachanoff found this bird today "in the trees between the parking lot and the dike at the Heritage Airport off 104th Street Delta, BC."

Oct 26--Continuing to be seen by birders in the same area (200m W of 104th along the dyke). It is spending a lot of time in the crab-apple trees along the dyke beside the buildings. 

Darner vs Ash-throated Flycatcher (Photo: John Gordon)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Late Report: Loggerhead Shrike in East Kootenays

Carlene Irmen photographed this Loggerhead Shrike in Wycliffe, BC (near Cranbrook) on August 23rd. Sometimes summer shrikes are identified as Northerns based on an assumption that Loggerhead is rare and Northern is regular. While it is true that only 1-3 Loggerheads are detected in BC each year and Northerns are common in the winter months, it should be noted that Loggerhead is much more likely to occur in Southern BC from May through September when Northerns are in the Yukon and other reaches of the far north. Loggerheads regularly breed within 200km of the Canada-US border so it's not surprising that a few show up each year. And even though Northerns are often present throughout BC from fall until early spring, it is still worth it to keep an eye out for Loggerheads as they can occur at that time as well!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Martin Dollenkamp photographed this Mexican Violetear on September 4th at a private residence in Port Alberni, BC (Vancouver Island). Mexican Violetears have been known to wander throughout eastern North America and there is a record from Alberta and Ontario. A similar species from South America--Sparkling Violetear--(which is non-migratory) is presumed to be regularly kept in captivity and would likely be an escapee. To see comments and links in the comments section below for a few reasons by experts as to why this is  Mexican Violetear.

This is the first record for BC.

No sightings to report for Sep 5+6. If there are any updates to this story I will post them here. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sep 3-9 -- LITTLE STINT in Sidney

From 8.30 - 9.15am on the 3rd Sept, James Bradley had good views (with photographs) of a fairly fresh juvenile Little Stint at Tseum Harbour in Sidney, seen from Resthaven Park. The photos show all the key features including rich (though fading) rufous edges to coverts and tertials, strong white back braces, a split supercilium and strong contrast overall between clean white underside and warm coloured upperside. In structure, smaller and more delicate than Westerns with short and squat body, concave rear-dorsal profile, and small head. Bill fine, straight and medium length. In total, approximately 60 small peeps, nearly all Western Sandpiper, were present in the flock.

UPDATE - last confirmed at 8.30am on Sept 9th

**best to time your visit for a tide height of less than 2.4m if you can (see tide charts here) although the shorebird flock may use a dock floating in the bay as a high tide roost. Otherwise, they usually forage at the south end of the bay by the wharf on the lowest tides (~ 0.6m), close to the bank on the west flats on a rising tide (~1.4m), and on the north flats opposite the wall after that until the tide is too high (~2.4m+). Updates are appreciated.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Aug 30--Lark Bunting at Port Hardy Airport

On a rainy afternoon at the Port Hardy (North end of Vancouver Island), Russell Cannings found a female Lark Bunting foraging with White-crowned and Savannah Sparrows just NW of the Port Hardy Airport terminal. Unfortunately a photograph was not obtained. There is a large area of thimbleberry and other scrub criss-crossed with quad tracks and this is where the bird was. It flushed several times, flying over 100m away so predicting exactly where it will pop up again may be tricky. At any rate it looks like a very good spot for wayward migrants in general so any birder in the area might want to drop by for a look.