Monday, December 29, 2014

Dec. 28--BOREAL OWL on Race Rocks for Sooke CBC!

The Sooke CBC took place on December 28th and at the end of the day one bird's name was creating quite the buzz.  Race Rocks ecoguardian Alex Fletcher picked up Val George and Garry Fletcher and brought them over to Race Rocks.  Nobody expected this little boat ride would turn up the first record of Boreal Owl for the Victoria checklist area!

Incredible shot of southern Vancouver Island area's first Boreal Owl (Photo: Val George)

Race Rocks is not accessible to the public as it is an ecological reserve.  For more information on this sighting, head on over to the Race Rocks Log to read an account, including more photos, from Garry Fletcher:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dec 25--Ancient Murrelet lands in Clearwater

While not a provincial rarity, it's always notable when a murrelet turns up inland and even more so when it is captured alive! This poor fellow was found by Allen Selbee in his backyard in Clearwater. He believes it struck his window before pushing its way penguin-style through some snow before he trapped it and brought it inside. Apparently it was taking some food but no word as to how it's currently doing. Obviously it must have been pretty weak and cold to end up in that position. Will update again soon. Special thanks to Dennis Leonard for getting this report out.

Update: Unfortunately this bird has passed away despite having eaten well upon capture.

Autopsy Report courtesy of Ildiko at the UBC vert museum:

"Cause of death was extreme starvation which can be from malnutrition or extended migration.
The breast muscles had atrophied but more importantly the liver and other internal organs had shrunk to about 1/3 normal size.  In such cases the heart remains the same size or grows slightly."

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dec 18--SNOWY PLOVER--Pacific Rim National Park

On December 18th, Robin Kite observed a colour-banded Snowy Plover on Wickanninish Beach (south end of Long Beach, near the Pacific Rim National Park visitor's centre). Frances Bidstrup of Point Reyes Bird Observatory confirms that this bird was banded as a fledgling near Centerville Beach, California this summer (2014). This is the 19th record for BC.

The bird was not seen since Dec 18th.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dec 18-22--Northern Mockingbird in Lillooet

Jeff O'Kelly found this Northern Mockingbird at a private residence in Lillooet and Ian Routley snapped this great record shot on Dec 22. It's been a somewhat slow winter season for rarities in BC so it's nice to see this report from the upper Fraser.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dec 9- Jan 9: Lesser Black-backed Gull continuing in Fraser Valley

First discovered on November 4th by Rick Toochin, this Lesser Black-backed Gull (one of very few records for the BC coast) has been tough to pin down over the last month. Rick refound it today (Dec 9) near the junction of Vye and Bowman Rds in Sumas Prairie, near Abbotsford.
Photo: Rick Toochin
Dec 20--Rick reports seeing it at the end of Schneider Rd foraging with Glaucous-winged Gulls.
Jan 9-- Gord Gadsen reports seeing the bird on Annis Rd in Chilliwack.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Retro Report: White-winged Dove in Steveston, BC (2002)

Alan Moat just rediscovered some photos he has of a White-winged Dove his daughter Janice spotted at their home roughly 12 years ago. This bird was not reported at the time and the photos went missing until just recently. Unfortunately the exact date cannot be ascertained at this time but Alan believes it was in the spring of 2002. Thanks for digging this up Alan!

Believe it or not this would be the first-record for the Vancouver checklist area!!!
Photo: Alan Moat [Steveston (Richmond) circa ~spring 2002]

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dec 1-6: WHITE-EYED VIREO near Nelson, BC (First Provincial Record)

UPDATE: No reported sightings on Dec 7. Apparently a 3-hour search was unsuccessful

UPDATE: RELOCATED ON DECEMBER 6th at 11am (Same area as on 5th)

From Janice Arndt: "It was seen close to yesterday's location, about 20-30 metres towards the lake from where Paul placed a ribbon (note: there are various bits of ribbon tied to bushes and trees in the area; I assumed the pink- and silver-striped ribbon was Paul's). I was able to watch the vireo for a minute or two and during that time it found and swallowed a substantial but unidentified food item from a hawthorn tree, which was nice to see. There were also a few Golden-crowned Kinglets nearby."

Paul Prappas and Craig Sandvig's diligent efforts paid off today.  Paul wrote on wkbirds: "The bird was located in a completely different part of Kokanee Creek Park from where we first discovered it.  Enter the park at Redfish Campground, go over the bridge, and head down to the river mouth. From the river mouth take the trail to your left, fork to the right and follow it along the grasslands which are on your right.  At the Grassland Trail junction, the bird was found.  We've tied a pink ribbon at that place."

Sweet, sweet documentation! (Photo: Paul Prappas)
This is fresh off the press - Paul Prappas wrote on wkbirds:

"Today, December 1, while conducting the Waterfowl count, Gary Davidson, Carolee Colter and I found an extremely out of range White-eyed Vireo at Kokanee Creek Park. There is absolutely no mistake as the bird came right by us and we all got wonderful looks at its white eye, bright yellow lores, overall yellow tinging with distinct wing bars. The wing bars are very bold and the overall yellow is quite bright. Much brighter than the goldfinches this time of year.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get photographs of the bird, but our hope is it will stay around for a day or two.

The bird was found in the wooded area between the Redfish Campground picnic area and the shore line, at about 11:30 AM. We stayed for a good 40 minutes, but were unable to locate the bird.

For those not familiar with the location, here is what I was sent: 17.5 km east of Nelson on W Arm of Kootenay Lake. Specifically: Red Fish Campground picnic area near lake.

Hopefully some lenses make their way out there and we can get some photo-documentation for the BC Bird Records Committee!