Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Parksville/Qualicum Beach Tuesday bird walk, March 12, 2013

                                       White-winged Crossbill
 
The Tuesday bird walk went to the Little Qualicum River Estuary in Qualicum Beach. The morning was cloudy and calm.
The shoreline at the viewing platform off Highway 19A was covered with gulls for as far as the eye could see. Brant Geese, Surf Scoters, White-winged Scoters, Black Scoters, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and Long-tailed Ducks formed a massive raft further off shore. The Gulls took up the similar huge area at the estuary. They lifted and circled the sky and landed on the gravel bars when an Eagle flew over. There was a large raft of Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye and Barrow’s Goldeneye near the shoreline. Further off shore there were large numbers of mixed flocks of seabirds—much the same
as we saw at the viewing platform earlier in the morning. Over ten Violet-green Swallows flew over head hawking insects and we spotted a Red Crossbill at the top of a bush as we neared the estuary. We caught the sight of four White-winged Crossbills perched on top of a conifer across the Conservation area. The bold white-wing markings and the black scapulars of the White-winged Crossbills were very distinctive through our spotting scopes. The White-wing Crossbills stayed for a long period, giving us all long studying looks. The White-winged Crossbills are normally found in areas outside of southern British Columbia. This is the first sighting of them for the Tuesday bird walks, making a terrific end to a great day of birding!
Eleven birders saw and heard the following forty-four species:
Canada Goose
Brant
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Greater Scaup
Harlequin Duck
Green-winged Teal
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
Merlin
Black Turnstone
Black Oystercatcher
Killdeer
Mew Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
American Robin
European Starling
Spotted Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Red Crossbill
White-winged Crossbill
House Finch
Song Sparrow

The Tuesday bird walk on March 19, will be going to Rathtrevor Provincial Park in Parksville.
                                Violet-green Swallow: Ralph Hocken Photo.

Good birding
Neil Robins
Parksville

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