Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cattle Egrets pushing north this fall

In recent years this species has been quite scarce or even absent in the province so it's nice to see a cluster of sightings from Vancouver Island and one in the far NW of the province in recent days. Below is a brief summary of 5 reports.
Tyee Rd bird (Photo: Liam Singh)
#1: October 3--SW of Kitwanga, Skeena Valley (N of Terrace)--Sandy Schreven

#2 Nov 7--Cattle Point, Victoria--Michael Shepard

#3: Nov 7--Esquimalt Lagoon, Victoria area--John Costello & Chantal Jacques

#4: Nov 9-Dec 4--Shell Gas Station on Tyee Rd, Esquimalt (Victoria)--Steven Roais
*Most recently seen in NE corner of Helmckin Interchange (Dec 4)

#5: Nov 10-15+--Itattsoo Village (Ucluelet)--Adrian Dorst

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nov 9--Iceland Gull (Kumlien's) in Penticton

With more coverage there would likely be more of these turning up (especially on the coast) but since many are not photographed I thought I'd post this one I found this afternoon along Okanagan Beach in Penticton. Unfortunately this is the only usable photo I managed (Digi-scoped).

First cycle Iceland (Presumed Kumlien's) Gull with adult California Gull. Right after this photo was taken a fire-cracker-type noise flushed all the gulls. Will post updates if it sticks around. (Photo: Russell Cannings)

ID Features that makes this an Kumlien's Gull (the Canadian form of Iceland Gull):

  • Uniform pale plumage (i.e. Primaries do not contrast with mantle) eliminated Thayer's, Herring, California, Ring-billed, Mew.
  • This is aged as a "First Cycle" (Born this summer) based on fresh and neatly patterned plumage. Second cycles would be paler and look more washed out. Bill would likely be showing more pale pink by second-cycle as well. We use "cycle" to refer to the molt sequence as this does not always line up with specific seasons or "breeding/non-breeding"
  • Small body size and bill size/shape eliminated Glaucous-winged and Glaucous
  • In general, Iceland Gulls are smaller/paler versions of Thayer's Gulls; averaging smaller billed, more rounded head.
  • You can also think of them as mini Glaucous Gulls. 
  • Even with the above notes, these guys can be tricky to ID as gull complexes have so may variables (sexual dimorphism, hybrids, subspecies, etc)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nov 8-26--Another Acorn Woodpecker! This one in Victoria

Klaus Emmaneel reports an Acorn Woodpecker near the 12th Hole on Cedar Hill Golf Course (Victoria area)--flying through the oaks around 230pm on Saturday.

Photo: Klaus Emmaneel

This is a first record for Vancouver Island and the 9th ever for BC.

*Still being seen on November 26th near the end of Diana Rd.

It was not seen on Nov 27th.

Nov 8--Acorn Woodpecker in Powell River

Seen at a private residence in Powell River (Pierre Geoffray) in the morning of Nov 8, 2014.

This is the 8th record for BC (and Canada). *Not seen since Nov 8th.

Photo: Pierre Geoffray

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Nov 5-Dec 9--Lesser Black-backed Gull in Abbotsford

Rick Toochin found this adult Lesser Black-backed Gull along Whatcom Rd in Sumas Prairie (Abbotsford area) about 100m south of Hwy 1. It was present all afternoon of Nov 5th with around 50 other gulls. The mantle-colouration is presumably paled a bit as a result of the lighting but one can tell from this photo that it is distinctly darker than nearby Glaucous-wings and the characteristic large red gonys is noticeable in this photo. Despite annual occurrences in the interior this is a very rare gull on the BC coast.
Nov 23: Seen in field with other gulls along Angus-Campbell Rd. (Rick Toochin & Ed Klassen)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nov 4-6--WHITE WAGTAIL in Delta

On Tuesday, Nov 4, Mark Wynja found this White Wagtail in the corn-stubble field southeast of the intersection of 34th Street and 33A Ave in Delta, BC. This is near Brunswick Point. It was associating with pipits. There was a report of a Red-throated Pipit seen briefly on Nov 5 so if you are there looking at the Wagtail, feel free to keep an eye out for other vagrants.

Nov 8 UPDATE--No confirmed observations on Nov 7th or 8th

Photo: Peter Candido
Photo: Peter Candido

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oct 30-Nov3: *Another Blackburnian Warbler--this time in Revelstoke

There are a lot of birding chat groups around BC and I'm usually pretty good at monitoring them fairly regularly. I admit this one slipped by me for a couple days!

Originally reported as an unknown warbler on October 30th, this apparent hatch-year female Blackburnian Warbler has been frequenting the "Southside" neighbourhood of Revelstoke since then. It was seen again today (Nov 3) and apparently it's been hanging with chickadees. This is near the corner of Edward St and 4th St. Look for the feeders just up Edwards ~70m (NE) and that is roughly where it has been seen off and on. It's been mainly gleaning in the cottonwoods.

This is Revelstoke's 26th warbler species all-time! Pretty darn good for a small western mountain town.

Please report YES or NO sightings!

Photos and report from Darlene Cancelliere

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nov 1-3--Blackburnian Warbler in Victoria

Today Ian Cruickshank found a Blackburnian Warbler in Beacon Hill Park (in the vicinity of Goodacre Lake and the bandshell--foraging in vine maples and oaks with kinglets). It was seen throughout Saturday..

Here are some tips from Steven Roais for finding it:

1.) Deciduous trees (maples in particular)

2.) other bird activity (especially golden-crowned kinglets)

3.) persistent chip call (once heard, easy to locate)

4.) look high up into the canopy (bird was as close as 10 feet from the ground but mostly in the 20 foot range)

The bird was not seen as of Nov 4th.

[Photos below from Geoffrey Newell]