Monday 16th September 2013

   Second day of our Pelagic. After not too spectacular a day yesterday, lets see what today brings?

Great Northern Diver

   After breakfast, i took a look around off the back of the boat. Not a lot happening, until i found a summer plumaged Great Northern Diver, so we tried to get close and get some photos. It was pretty elusive, as every time we got close it would dive, and come up just out of range. Eventually i did manage a couple before it dived, sadly (as usual) the light was not great!
Bald Eagle
Belted Kingfisher
  We then moved around, following the coast to see what we could see. Again it was mainly Gulls, but we did see a few flocks of distant Ducks, they included Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Black & White-winged Scoter (which was a lifer, though too distant really). We also found Rhinoceros Auklet, & Slavonian & Red-necked Grebes. Early into the afternoon we returned to the Harbour, so really the trip was a bit disappointing! More Gulls, a Belted Kingfisher and lastly a Bald Eagle in trees on an island, where we had been told it would be! This was a great bonus, but didn't make up for the rest of the trip.

   We asked where we could visit closer to the ferry terminal, and half a day tomorrow. We were told of a spit of land near Deep Bay, which he
had heard about being good for birds. So we started across the island towards there! We stopped a few times, again looking for American Dipper, with no luck again! One stop though found us looking at a river that had a flock of 30+ Goosander, all looking like females at this time of year, but were obviously Females, Males in eclipse plumage, and 1st Winter birds too.


We finally got to the East coast of the island, and drove North, keeping an eye out for digs, but also birding spots. We pulled into a car park, near Qualicum Bay. Immediately we had Song Sparrows in the car park, and under a bush, there were some California Quail. On the sea, there were Gulls, this time not just the big ones, there were also Mew & Bonapartes Gulls. Looking down the beach, i saw a little gravel spit, which held Gulls, which were bathing in the fresh water stream, where it joined the sea. Then i picked up some Waders, look like Willet from where we were. Lets get closer just to make sure, especially as we were looking into the sun. As we got closer, i realised they were not Willet at all, one was a Surfbird, and the other was smaller, and now was standing in front of the Surfbird, a Wandering Tattler! Lifer for me. Photo time, as we walked towards them, i saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. Looking down onto a log, there was a pair of Common Crossbills, so we photographed them, you don't normally get this close!

    We filled our boots, then remembered the Waders, sadly they had moved on the incoming tide. But we could see they were on the spit. We walked along looking for a way to get closer. Then a couple started talking to us about our cameras etc, we told them about them and what we were trying to photograph, the man said go on through the garden, no problem. Brilliant, the garden joined straight onto the spit. We walked through, and could see the Tattler, on the edge of the steam. Bad luck struck just then though, the couple from next door, decided to take their dog for a walk, along the spit. Goodbye birds!!!    Oh well, lets find some digs. We found a small place which had a view of the water. We had half an hour before dark, and had a quick look. Ducks! But which ones. A closer look and another lifer, this time Harlequin Duck, brilliant, one i have always wanted to see. So, we knew where to start in the morning!!! Can't wait, could be good.
Common Crossbill (Female)

Common Crossbill (Male)

Common Crossbill (Pair)

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