Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Parksville/Qualicum Beach Tuesday bird walk, may 31, 2016

The Tuesday bird walk went to the Englishman River Shelly Road side. The morning was sunny and warm with a breeze off the Strait.  The forest brought us a bit of relief from the sun. Bewick’s Wrens were perched high up in trees singing and entertaining us throughout the morning. Yellow Warblers were singing near the trail for all of us to hear and see. A murder of Northwestern Crows were spotted chasing a Sharp-shinned Hawk overhead until the Hawk flew out of sight. There were two Willow Flycatchers singing near the trail.  One Northern Shoveler and a pair of Northern Pintail were swimming near the tide line. Two Belted Kingfishers flew noisily over head. 

 
                                                      Willow Flycatcher: Ralph Hocken Photo. 

Twenty birders saw and heard the following forty-nine species:
Canada Goose
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Common Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Glaucous-winged Gull
Black Oystercatcher
Belted Kingfisher
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian-collared Dove
Rufous Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Willow Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pacific Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Swainson’s Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Warbling Vireo
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Western Tanager
Yellow Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Dark-eyed Junco
House Finch
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch

                                                 Violet-green Swallow: Ralph Hocken Photo.

The Tuesday bird walk on June 07, 2016 will be going to Springwood Park in Parksville. Meet at the Parksville Community Park at the parking lot near the Lion’s Club Kids Playground at 9:00 a.m. or at the west end of Despard Avenue at about 9:10 a.m. 

Good birding
Neil Robins
Parksville  

thebirdstore.blogspot.com
  thebackyard@shaw.ca

Monday, 30 May 2016

Nanaimo bird report, May 29, 2016

BIRD REPORT

“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:

To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca

Please remember, when reporting a sighting, to leave your name and phone number along with the date, the species and location of your sighting.
********************************************************************

Sunday, May 29, 2016:
The Sunday bird walk went to Linley Valley in Nanaimo. The morning was cloudy and soon turned sunny with windy periods.   We heard and saw Black-headed Grosbeaks singing all morning. We saw a Pileated Woodpecker feeding three young chicks in a tall snag near the parking area, great sighting.  Violet-green Swallows and Northern Rough-winged Swallows were hawking insects low over the lake giving us great views. We saw male and female Western Tanagers in a tall tree next to the trail.

 
                                           Western Tanager: Ralph Hocken Photo.

Twenty birders including visiting birders from San Diego and Courtney saw and heard the following thirty-four species:
Bald Eagle
Turkey Vulture
Mallard
Hooded Merganser
  Rufous Hummingbird
Red-breasted Sapsucker
  Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Common Raven
Northwestern Crow
  Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Western Wood-Pewee
Warbling Vireo
Hutton’s Vireo
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
   Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Swainson's Thrush
  American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
  Orange-crowned Warbler
  Black-throated Gray Warbler
  Common Yellow-throat
Yellow Warbler
  Western Tanager
Spotted Towhee
  Black-headed Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
  Song Sparrow
  Dark-eyed Junco
Purple Finch
  American Goldfinch
Pine Siskin  

Monday, May 25:
A Western Tanager was visiting a backyard along Douglas Road in Nanaimo. 

Tuesday, May 24:
The Tuesday bird walk went to Moorecroft Regional Park in Nanoose Bay. The morning was cloudy with some sun and the winds were calm. We spotted a Peregrine Falcon perched high up in a snag. The falcon was watching us for a good 20 minutes giving us time to have a really good look at him.  The highlight of the morning for sure!  A Wilson’s Warbler sat singing close to the trail and giving us great views. Two Marbled Murrelets, two Rhinoceros Auklets and a Common Murre were seen swimming not far from shore. Several Warbling Vireo’s were singing and gave us some quick glances as they moved in the forest. A Western Tanager was perched high atop a tree near the marsh.
Eighteen birders saw and hear the following forty-two species:
Canada Geese
Pacific Loon
Osprey
Marbled Murrelet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Common Murre
Black Oystercatcher
Belted Kingfisher
Bald Eagle
Turkey Vulture
Peregrine Falcon
Anna's Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated woodpecker
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Warbling Vireo
Cassin’s Vireo
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pacific Wren
Swainson’s Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Western Tanager
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Purple Finch 

 
                                Peregrine Falcon: Ralph Hocken Photo

********************************************************************

Everyone is welcome to join us for a 2-3 hour bird walk on the Sunday and Tuesday mornings. We leave from the Store at 9 a.m. on Sunday Mornings and go to a different location in and around Nanaimo and from the Parksville Beach Community Park at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and go to different areas in and around the Oceanside area.

    *******************************************************************************

The Tuesday bird walk on May 31, 2016 will be going to the Englishman River, Shelly Road side in Parksville. Meet at the Parksville Community Park, at the parking lot near the Lions Club Kids playground at 9:00 a.m. or at the end of Shelly Road on the ocean side of highway 19a at about 9:10 a.m.

**********************************************************************************

The Sunday bird walk on June 05, 2016 will be going to Morden Colliery Historic Park in south Nanaimo. Meet at the Birdstore at 9:00 a.m. or at the end of Morden Road on the ocean side of highway one ( follow signs) in south Nanaimo at about 9:30 a.m. 

********************************************************************************** 

Good birding
Neil Robins 

THE BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE
6314 Metral Drive
Nanaimo B.C.
Phone: 250-390-3669
Fax: 250-390-1633
Blog: www.thebirdstore.blogspot

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Parksville/Qualicum beach Tuesday bird walk, May 24, 2016

The Tuesday bird walk went to Moorecroft Regional Park in Nanoose Bay. The morning was cloudy with some sun and the winds were calm. We spotted a Peregrine Falcon perched high up in a snag. The falcon was watching us for a good 20 minutes giving us time to have a really good look at him.  The highlight of the morning for sure!  A Wilson’s Warbler sat singing close to the trail and giving us great views. Two Marbled Murrelets, two Rhinoceros Auklets and a Common Murre were seen swimming not far from shore. Several Warbling Vireo’s were singing and gave us some quick glances as they moved in the forest. A Western Tanager was perched high atop a tree near the marsh. 

                                              Osprey: Ralph Hocken Photo.
 
Eighteen birders saw and hear the following forty-two species:
Canada Geese
Pacific Loon
Osprey
Marbled Murrelet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Common Murre
Black Oystercatcher
Belted Kingfisher
Bald Eagle
Turkey Vulture
Peregrine Falcon
Anna's Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated woodpecker
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Warbling Vireo
Cassin’s Vireo
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pacific Wren
Swainson’s Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Western Tanager
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Purple Finch 

                                         Peregrine Falcon: Ralph Hocken Photo 

The Tuesday bird walk on May 31, 2016 will be going to the Englishman River, Shelly Road side in Parksville. Meet at the Parksville Community Park, at the parking lot near the Lions Club Kids playground at 9:00 a.m. or at the end of Shelly Road on the ocean side of highway 19a at about 9:10 a.m. 

Good birding
Neil Robins
Parksville 

thebirdstore.blogspot.com

Monday, 23 May 2016

Nanaimo bird report, May 22, 2016

                                                  Yellow Warbler: Ralph Hocken photo.


BIRD REPORT
“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:
To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669

or e-mail us at
thebackyard@shaw.ca
Please remember, when reporting a sighting, to leave your name and phone number along with the date, the species and location of your sighting.
************************************************** ******************
Sunday, May 15, 2016:
The Sunday bird walk went to the Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo. The morning was cloudy with calm winds--a pleasant morning for birding. The highlight birds of the walk, the Yellow Warblers were singing and hawking insects all morning. We spotted a flock of Black Swifts swooping high above us catching insects. Black-headed Grosbeaks were singing their melodious song as we searched the bushy green trees for them.
Nineteen birders saw and heard the following thirty-nine species:
Canada Geese
Mallard
Wood Duck
Bald Eagle
Turkey Vulture
Coopers Hawk
Eurasian-collared Dove
Rock Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Purple Martin
Black Swift
Bushtit
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bewick’s Wren
Marsh Wren
American Robin
European Starling
Western Tanager
Orange-crown Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Red-wing Blackbird
Black-headed Grosbeak
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Purple Finch
House Sparrow

Tuesday, May 17:
The Tuesday bird walk went to Lot Ten in Qualicum Beach. The morning was sunny and warm with calm winds. We spotted a Black-throated Gray Warbler singing from a perch high atop a snag. We watched several Red-breasted Sapsuckers fly in and make their way up the trunks of trees several times during the morning. We watched as two Western Tanagers built a nest high up in a tree near the trail. Wilson's Warblers were singing throughout the morning. One flew in close to us, giving us great views of his black cap and bright yellow body. We saw as two Northern Rough-winged Swallows flew over the river hawking insects and returned to the bank to rest. Black-headed Grosbeaks entertained us with their melodious songs for most of the morning.
Twenty-two birders including a visiting birder from Whitecourt saw and heard the following thirty-six species:
Canada Geese
Mallard
Bald Eagle
Spotted Sandpiper
Band-tailed Pigeon
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Willow Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pacific Wren
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Black-headed Grosbeak
Purple Finch
 

                                                 Northern Rough-winged Swallow: Len Bettam Photo.


Saturday, May 21: Friday, May 20:
A lone Snow Goose was spotted flying over the Campbell River Estuary.

Friday, May 20:
A flock of seven White-faced Ibis flew South west over Lohbrunner Road and Lochside Trail in Blenkinsop Valley in Victoria.

************************************************** ******************
Everyone is welcome to join us for a 2-3 hour bird walk on the Sunday and Tuesday mornings. We leave from the Store at 9 a.m. on Sunday Mornings and go to a different location in and around Nanaimo and from the Parksville Beach Community Park at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and go to different areas in and around the Oceanside area.

************************************************** ****************************

The Tuesday bird walk on May 24, 2016 will be going to Moorecroft Regional Park in Nanoose Bay. Meet at the Parksville Community Park at the parking lot near the Lions Club Kids Playground at 9:00 a.m. or at the parking lot at Moorecroft Park off Stewart Road ( follow the signs) from Northwest Bay Road, in Nanoose Bay.
************************************************** ********************************

The Sunday bird walk on May 29, 2016 will be going to Linley Valley in Nanaimo. Meet at the Birdstore at 9:00 a.m. or at the end of Burma Road off Lost Lake Road in north Nanaimo at about 9:20 a.m.

************************************************** ********************************

Good birding
Neil Robins

THE BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE
6314 Metral Drive
Nanaimo B.C.
V9T-2L8
Phone: 250-390-3669
Fax: 250-390-1633
Email:
thebackyard@shaw.ca
Blog: www.thebirdstore.blogspot

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Parksville/Qualicum Beach Tuesday bird walk, May 17, 2016

The Tuesday bird walk went to Lot Ten in Qualicum Beach, the morning was sunny and warm with calm winds. We spotted a Black-throated Gray Warbler singing from a perch high atop a snag. We watched Red-breasted Sapsuckers fly in and climb up the trunks of trees several times during the morning. Two Western Tanagers were seen building a nest high up in a tree near the trail. Wilson's Warblers were singing throughout the morning and one came close to us near the river. We saw two Northern Rough-winged Swallows perched along the river bank and then fly over the river hawking insects and return to the bank to rest. Black-headed Grosbeaks entertained us with their melodious songs for most of the morning.
 
                                              Black-headed Grosbeak: Ralph Hocken Photo. 

Twenty-two birders including a visiting birder from Whitecourt saw and heard the following thirty-six species:
Canada Geese
Mallard
 Bald Eagle
 Spotted Sandpiper
 Band-tailed Pigeon
 Rufous Hummingbird
 Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
 Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Willow Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
 Pacific-slope Flycatcher
 Warbling Vireo
 Northwestern Crow
 Common Raven
 Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
 Chestnut-backed Chickadee
 Red-breasted Nuthatch
 Pacific Wren
 Swainson's Thrush
 American Robin
 European Starling
 Orange-crowned Warbler
 Townsend’s Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
 Western Tanager
 Spotted Towhee
 Chipping Sparrow
 Song Sparrow
 Dark-eyed Junco
Black-headed Grosbeak
Purple Finch
  
Western Tanager: Ralph Hocken Photo. 

The Tuesday bird walk on May 24, 2016 will be going to Moorecroft Regional Park in Nanoose Bay. Meet at the Parksville Community Park at the parking lot near the Lions Club Kids Playground at 9:00 a.m. or at the parking lot at Moorecroft Park off Stewart Road ( follow the signs) from Northwest Bay Road, in Nanoose Bay. 

Good birding
Neil Robins
Parksville

Monday, 16 May 2016

Nanaimo bird report, May 15, 2016

BIRD REPORT

“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:

To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca

Please remember, when reporting a sighting, to leave your name and phone number along with the date, the species and location of your sighting.

******************************************************************** 

Sunday, May 15, 2016:
The Sunday bird walk went to the Beaver Ponds in Nanoose Bay. The morning was cloudy with calm winds--a pleasant morning for birding.  We heard and then saw a MacGillivray’s Warbler close to the trail.  Swainson's Thrush serenaded us for most of the morning. We heard and saw a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, a Hammond’s Flycatcher and had a great look of a first of the season Willow Flycatcher near the trail.  A Western Tanager was singing from a tall conifer tree near the marsh.
Nine birders saw and heard the following thirty-seven species:
Pied-billed grebe
Turkey Vulture
Northern Flicker
Hairy Woodpecker
Rufous Hummingbird
Willow Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Common Raven
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Varied Thrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
MacGillivray’s Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Warbling Vireo
Cassin’s Vireo
Western Tanager
Bushtit
Pacific Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Pine Siskin   

Friday, May 13:
A Swainson’s Thrush was seen at Nanoose Bay. 

A Western Tanager was seen in Lower Lantzville and one was also seen on Gabriola Island.  

Saturday, May 14: 
Blue-wing Teal, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs along with Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers were seen at Quennell Lake in Cedar. 

Four Whimbrel were seen at Pipers Lagoon in Nanaimo 

A Yellow-headed Blackbird is visiting feeders along Gomerich Road in Nanaimo. 
 
                                                       Yellow-headed Blackbird: Colin Henson Photo.

Tuesday, May 10: 
The Tuesday bird walk went to the Plummer Road side of the Englishman River Estuary in Parksville. The morning was sunny and warm with calm winds. A Common Yellowthroat was singing from the top of a bush just across the river. A mixed flock of a Semipalmated Plover, a Pectoral Sandpiper,a Black-bellied Plover, a Dunlin and two Killdeer, several Western Sandpipers and a few Least Sandpipers greeted us along the mudflats and kept us entertained for a good part of the morning.  We heard a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Orange-crowned Warblers, a Yellow Warbler and a Wilson's Warbler singing during the walk. Two immature Bald Eagles were seen chasing a Glaucous-winged Gull overhead before giving up the chase and flying away. 

Semi-palmated Plover: Ralph Hocken Photo.  

Twenty-one birders including visiting birders from England, Edmonton, Port Hardy and Gabriola Island saw and heard the following forty-four species:
Canada Geese
Mallard
Harlequin Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Bald Eagle
Merlin
Turkey Vulture
Great Blue Heron
Semi-palmated Plover
Killdeer
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Black Oystercatcher
Black-bellied Plover
Dunlin
Mew Gull
California Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian-collared Dove
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
American Robin
European Starling
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-wing Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch 

********************************************************************

Everyone is welcome to join us for a 2-3 hour bird walk on the Sunday and Tuesday mornings. We leave from the Store at 9 a.m. on Sunday Mornings and go to a different location in and around Nanaimo and from the Parksville Beach Community Park at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and go to different areas in and around the Oceanside area.
  *******************************************************************************

The Tuesday bird walk on May 17, 2016 will be going to Lot Ten in north Qualicum Beach. Meet at the Parksville Community Park at the parking lot near the Lions Club Kids Playground at 9:00 a.m. or on the forest side of highway 19a on Kinkade Road in north Qualicum Beach at about 9:20 a.m.

********************************************************************************** 

The Sunday bird walk on May 22, 2016 will be going to Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo. Meet at the Birdstore at 9:00 a.m. or at the Bowen Park entrance to Buttertubs Marsh at about 9:20 a.m. 

**********************************************************************************
Good birding
Neil Robins 

THE BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE
6314 Metral Drive
Nanaimo B.C.
V9T-2L8
Phone: 250-390-3669
Fax: 250-390-1633
Email: thebackyard@shaw.ca
Blog: www.thebirdstore.blogspot

 

 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Whimbrel at Piper's Lagoon

This morning we received a report of 4 Whimbrel being spotted at Piper's Lagoon in the tidal pool area. The report came in at 9:40am.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Parksville/Qualicum beach Tuesday bird walk, May 10, 2016


 
 
 
The Tuesday bird walk went to the Plummer Road side of the Englishman River Estuary in Parksville. The morning was sunny and warm with calm winds. A Common Yellowthroat was singing from the top of a bush just across the river. A mixed flock of a Semipalmated Plover, a Pectoral Sandpiper,a Black-bellied Plover, a Dunlin and two Killdeer, several Western Sandpipers and a few Least Sandpipers greeted us along the mudflats and kept us entertained for a good part of the morning.  We heard a Pacific-slope Flycatcher,  Orange-crowned Warblers, a Yellow Warbler and a Wilson's Warbler singing during the walk. Two immature Bald Eagles were seen chasing a Glaucous-winged Gull  overhead before giving up the chase and flying away.
 
 
 
 
Semipalmated Plover: Ralph Hocken Photo.
 
Twenty-one birders including visiting birders from England, Edmonton, Port Hardy and Gabriola Island saw and and heard the following forty-fourspecies:
Canada Goose
Mallard
Harlequin Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Bald Eagle
Merlin
Turkey Vulture
Great Blue Heron
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
 Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Black Oystercatcher
Black-bellied Plover
Dunlin
Mew Gull
California Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian-collared Dove
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
American Robin
European Starling
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-wing Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
 
Common Yellowthroat: Ralph Hocken Photo.
 
The  Tuesday bird walk on May 17, 2016 will be going to Lot Ten in north Qualicum Beach. Meet at the Parksville Community Park at the parking lot near the Lions Club Kids Playground at 9:00 a.m. or on the forest side of highway 19a on Kinkade Road in north Qualicum Beach at about 9:20 a.m.
 
Good birding
Neil Robins
Parksville
 
thebirdstore.blogspot.com
thebackyard@shaw.ca

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Clear Skies - Viewing the Transit of Mercury Monday morning

As I mentioned in my last Clear Skies, tomorrow (Monday, May 9) we will be able to see a transit of Mercury, an event that will only happen 14 times this century.  We won’t have another opportunity in our area to see one this good until 2032.

The orbits of Earth and Mercury are slightly tilted in relation to each other, so when Mercury passes between the Earth and the Sun, it is usually slightly above or below the Sun.  However, every now and then it will pass directly between the Sun and Earth.  When this occurs, we will be able to see Mercury as a small dark silhouette against the Sun.

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT PROPER PROTECTION; use either an actual solar filter, #14 Welder’s Glass, or solar eclipse glasses.  Still, Mercury is less than 5,000 km across while the Sun is almost 1.4 million km across, so without a telescope you will not be able to view this.

Monday’s transit starts before the Sun rises for us in BC, and will finish for us just after 11:30.  I will be setting up a telescope – with a proper solar filter – on the Qualicum Beach waterfront, just up island from the Beach Hut (and just a bit before Rotary Park if you are coming from Qualicum/Parksville).  I invite anyone who would like to view this event to join me from about 9:30 a.m. up until 11:30.

If you happen to be in the Nanaimo area, the Nanaimo Astronomy Society will also be setting up several scopes with solar filters in Mafeo Sutton Park, from about 9 a.m. until 11:30.  They will also have special Hydrogen-Alpha telescopes which can show the massive solar flares emanating from the Sun's surface!

Clear skies.

David

Nanaimo bird report, May 08, 2016

 

     BIRD REPORT
“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:
To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca
Please remember, when reporting a sighting, to leave your name and phone number along with the date, the species and location of your sighting.
********************************************************************

Sunday, May 08, 2016:
The Sunday bird walk went to Neck Point Park in Nanaimo. The morning was mostly sunny with very strong winds off the Strait of Georgia.  A Wilson’s Warbler entertained us with his song for the longest time near the parking lot and he did appear in the open for us to have a short glimpse.  A MacGillivray’s Warbler and a Warbling Vireo were seen in the same area.  Two Savannah Sparrows were feeding along the shoreline.  A Red-necked Grebe was spotted just off shore.  Two Black Oystercatchers flew along the shoreline, singing all the way. 

                                                   Red-necked Grebe: Ralph Hocken Photo. 

Fifteen birders saw and heard the following thirty-six species:
       Brant Geese     
Canada Geese
Harlequin Duck
Red-necked Grebe
Pelagic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Glaucous-wing Gull
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
Turkey Vulture
Belted Kingfisher
Black Oystercatcher
Spotted Sandpiper
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Northwestern Crow
Violet-green Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Pacific Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Rufous Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
American Robin
European Starling
MacGillivray’s Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Purple Finch  

Thursday, May 05:
A Black-headed Grosbeak was seen along Morrell Circle in Nanaimo.  

Seven Evening Grosbeaks were seen at the backyard feeders along Meridian Way in Parksville. 

Tuesday, May 03:
The Tuesday bird walk met at the Brant viewing platform in Qualicum Beach and went on to the Little Qualicum River Fish Hatchery. The morning was cloudy with light rain showers but calm winds. One Bonaparte's Gull, seven Pacific Loons and one Common Loon were in their very colorful breeding plumage not far from shore at the viewing platform.  An American Dipper was gathering nesting material and going under the bridge at the Hatchery. We had great views of a Pacific-slope Flycatcher perched  and singing at the top of a tall conifer tree. We heard and then saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker close to the trail.  We first heard a Warbling Vireo singing and after much searching we spotted the Vireo close to the trail.  A Western Tanager, a Hammond’s Flycatcher, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Wilson’s Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat as well as several  Black-throated Gray Warblers and Orange-crowned Warblers were heard during the morning. There were a large number of Chipping Sparrows seen throughout the morning. 

                                                                                 
Pacific-slope Flycatcher: Len Bettam Photo. 

Thirteen birders saw and heard the following forty-seven species:
Mallard
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Black Oystercatcher
American Dipper
Bonaparte's Gull
Mew Gull
Thayer’s Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Pacific Wren
American Robin
Rufous Hummingbird
European Starling
Western Tanager
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Warbling Vireo
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Spotted Towhee
Brown-headed Cowbird
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red Crossbill
Dark-eyed Junco
American Goldfinch  

                                                                  
Bonaparte's Gull: Ralph Hocken Photo. 

Monday, May 02:
A Western Wood-pewee was spotted in the trees atop Colbourne Drive in the Brook Wood area of Nanaimo. 

Saturday, May 01:
 A Olive-sided Flycatcher was seen along Morrell Circle in Nanaimo.
********************************************************************

Everyone is welcome to join us for a 2-3 hour bird walk on the Sunday and Tuesday mornings. We leave from the Store at 9 a.m. on Sunday Mornings and go to a different location in and around Nanaimo and from the Parksville Beach Community Park at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and go to different areas in and around the Oceanside area. 

    *******************************************************************************

The Tuesday bird walk on May 10, 2016 will be going to the Plummer Road side of the Englishman River in Parksville.
Meet at the Parksville Community Park near the Lions Club Kids Playground at 9:00 a.m. or at the corner of Plummer Road and Shorewood Drive at about 9:10 a.m. 

**********************************************************************************

The Sunday bird walk on May 15, 2016 will be going to the Beaver  Ponds in Nanoose Bay.  Meet at the Birdstore at 9:00 a.m. or follow Highway 19 to Northwest Bay Road.  Take Northwest Bay  Road to Power Point Road and turn right onto Power Point Road.  Go to the four-way stop and proceed about one hundred meters past it to the parking area on the left hand side, at about 9:30 a.m.

********************************************************************************** 

Good birding
Neil Robins 

THE BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE
6314 Metral Drive
Nanaimo B.C.
V9T-2L8
Phone: 250-390-3669
Fax: 250-390-1633
Blog: www.thebirdstore.blogspot

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Clear Skies - the planets, Mercury transit, meteor shower


Here is a copy of the Clear Skies email by David Prud'homme.
With the onset of summer and the lovely longer days, we also lose our dark skies unless we stay up late or get up early.  Still, there are things we can enjoy.

The planets

Jupiter is still shining brightly in the evening sky, and you may even see it as early as 9 p.m. fairly high in the south.  It is now setting in the west just before the Sun rises in the east.  It is currently located in Leo.  If you can find the backward question mark outlined by the stars representing Leo’s head, Jupiter is the very bright “star” to its left.

Mars is now very bright, rising in the southeast just before 11 p.m. Saturn rises a few minutes later, a bit to the left of Mars – less then the width of your fist at arm’s length.  Once they are above the horizon, look for the next bright star in the area, just below Mars. That is Antares, which means “Not Mars (Ares)”, as mentioned in my last note.  Both Mars and Antares have a bit of a reddish-orangish hue.  They now form the base of a nice triangle, with Saturn at the other point off to the left.  The arc of stars representing the claws of the Scorpion are to the right of Mars and Antares.

Mars is getting brighter since it is approaching opposition, which means it will be directly opposite the Sun from Earth’s perspective.  That also means it is the closest it will be to Earth for almost two years. It will reach opposition on May 22, but you won’t notice anything special on that day; just that Mars will be fairly bright in the sky this month.

Transit of Mercury

The big event this month is the Transit of Mercury, in the morning of May 9.   Mercury lines up directly between the Earth and the Sun only 14 times this century.  The last transit was in 2006; the next will be in 2019.  Unfortunately, without proper protection, you must not try to view this event.

The best is to see if a local astronomy group will be observing it.  I unfortunately will be unavailable for local viewing, however, if my plans change, I will let those here in the Oceanside area know.  With a telescope, use only a proper solar filter.  With a telescope, you can look at the Sun through #14 welder’s glass, where Mercury will appear as a dark dot against the Sun.  NEVER look directly at the Sun with your naked eye.

Eastern Canada will be able to view the entire event.  West of Ontario the transit will already have started at sunrise.  Mercury will finish its pass before 4 p.m. in the Maritimes;  3 p.m. in Ontario; 2 p.m. in Manitoba; 1 p.m. in Alberta; and before noon in BC.

If you get a chance to watch this event, you are seeing our solar system in motion.  Mercury is moving in its orbit, closer to the Sun than Earth, and we are seeing it for the roughly six and half hours that it takes to pass between Earth and the face of the Sun.

Minor meteor shower

On Thursday, May 5 (and perhaps for a day on either side) the Eta-Aquarid meteor shower takes place.  This will not be a prolific shower, but, with a bit of luck, you may see a few more meteors than normal.  The Moon won’t be up, so you should be able to observe some of the fainter meteors, as well, hopefully, a few bright ones.  Remember to find a dark spot, away from direct light, and give your eyes a few minutes to adapt to the dark.

Clear skies.

David
Prud'homme

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Evening Grosbeaks visit our feeders

Hi birders,

At supper time today we had seven Evening Grosbeaks visit our feeders. What a thrill!!!

A beautiful sight
Neil & Marilynne Robins
Parksville

Parksville/Qualicum Beach Tuesday bird walk, May 03, 2016

The Tuesday bird walk met at the Brant viewing platform in Qualicum Beach and went on to the Little Qualicum River Fish Hatchery. The morning was cloudy with light rain showers but calm winds. One Bonaparte's Gull, seven Pacific Loons and one Common Loon were in their very colorful breeding plumage not far from shore at the viewing platform.  An American Dipper was gathering nesting material and going under the bridge at the Hatchery. We had great views of a Pacific-slope Flycatcher perched  and singing at the top of a tall conifer tree. We heard and then saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker close to the trail.  We first heard a Warbling Vireo singing and after much searching we spotted the Vireo close to the trail.  A Western Tanager, a Hammond’s Flycatcher, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Wilson’s Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat as well as several  Black-throated Gray Warblers and Orange-crowned Warblers were heard during the morning. There were a large number of Chipping Sparrows seen throughout the morning. 

 

Pacific-slope Flycatcher: Len Bettam Photo.

Thirteen birders saw and heard the following forty-seven species:
Mallard
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
 Pacific Loon
Common Loon
 Horned Grebe
 Red-necked Grebe
 Bald Eagle
 Red-tailed Hawk
Black Oystercatcher
American Dipper
Bonaparte's Gull
 Mew Gull
Thayer’s Gull
 Glaucous-winged Gull
Belted Kingfisher
 Red-breasted Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
 Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northwestern Crow
 Common Raven
 Violet-green Swallow
 Tree Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
 Chestnut-backed Chickadee
 Pacific Wren
 American Robin
 Rufous Hummingbird
 European Starling
 Western Tanager
Yellow-rumped Warbler
 Black-throated Gray Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
 Wilson’s Warbler
 Common Yellowthroat
 Warbling Vireo
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Hammond’s Flycatcher
 Spotted Towhee
Brown-headed Cowbird
 Chipping Sparrow
 Song Sparrow
 White-crowned Sparrow
Red Crossbill
Dark-eyed Junco
American Goldfinch
 
                                     Bonaparte's Gull: Ralph Hocken Photo.

The Tuesday bird walk on May 10, 2016 will be going to the Plummer Road side of the Englishman River in Parksville.
Meet at the Parksville Community Park near the Lions Club Kids Playground at 9:00 a.m. or at the corner of Plummer Road and Shorewood Drive at about 9:10 a.m. 

Good Birding
Neil Robins
Parksville 

thebirdstore.blogspot.com
thebackyard@shaw.ca

Monday, 2 May 2016

Nanaimo bird report, May 01, 2016

    BIRD REPORT

“EXPLORE NATURE”---GO BIRDING:
To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca
Please remember, when reporting a sighting, to leave your name and phone
number along with the date, the species and location of your sighting.
******************************************************************** 

Sunday, May 01, 2016:
The Sunday bird walk went to Morrell Wildlife Sanctuary in Nanaimo. The morning was sunny and warm with calm winds. Pacific-slope Flycatchers and a Hammond’s Flycatcher were heard and seen during the walk. We spotted a Hairy Woodpecker feeding near the ground and we watched as he flew up into the tall trees.  A California Quail was perched on a log near the trail.  Cassin’s and Hutton’s Vireos entertained us throughout the morning.  Orange-crowned Warblers, Yellow-rump Warblers, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Townsend’s Warblers and a Wilson’s Warbler were heard and seen on the walk all morning.

 

                          Orange-crownedWarbler: Ralph Hocken Photo. 

Fifteen birders saw and heard the following thirty-one species:
Canada Geese
Turkey Vulture
Hairy Woodpecker
California Quail
Rufous Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Common Raven
European Starling
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Brown Creeper
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pacific Wren
Bewick’s Wren
American Robin
Cassin’s Vireo
Hutton’s Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Brown-headed Cowbird
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red Crossbill
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch 

Tuesday, April 26:
The Tuesday bird walk went to the Top Bridge Trail in Parksville. The morning was cloudy with calm winds. A Chipping Sparrow greeted us at the parking lot and was seen throughout the morning. We heard and then saw five Red Crossbills high up in a tree.   A young Trumpeter Swan flew over heading down island. We watched as a Brewer’s Blackbird chased a Sharp-shinned Hawk.  We heard and then caught a quick glimpse of a Wilson’s Warbler.  Black-throated Gray Warblers and Pacific-slope Flycatchers were singing for most of the morning.  An American Dipper was preening itself on a log near the Bridge. 

                                  Sharp-shinned Hawk. Ralph Hocken Photo. 

Fourteen Birders saw and heard the following thirty-seven species:
Trumpeter Swan
Canada Goose
Bald Eagle
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Rufous Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Pacific Wren
American Robin
American Dipper
Band-tailed Pigeon
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Cassin’s Vireo
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin   


                                         Trumpeter Swan: Ralph Hocken Photo: 

Purple Martins were spotted at Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo.
 

Monday, April 25:
A Whimbrel was seen at the Englishman River Estuary on the Plummer Road side in Parksville.  

A Solitary Sandpiper was seen at the drainage ponds along Kay Road, behind the weight scales at Parksville.

********************************************************************

Everyone is welcome to join us for a 2-3 hour bird walk on the Sunday and

Tuesday mornings. We leave from the Store at 9 a.m. on Sunday Mornings and go to a different location in and around Nanaimo and from the Parksville

Beach Community Park at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and go to different areas in and around the Oceanside area.

    *******************************************************************************

The Tuesday bird walk on May 03, 2016 will be going to the Little Qualicum River Fish Hatchery in north Qualicum Beach. Meet at the Parksville Community Park near the Lions Club Kids Playground in Parksville at 9:00 a.m. or at the Brant viewing platform (along highway 19a near the Strait of Georgia) in north Qualicum Beach at about 9:20 a.m.

*************************************************************************************

The Sunday bird walk on May 08, 2016 will be going to Neck Point Park in Nanaimo. Meet at the Birdstore at 9:00 a.m. or at Neck Point Park off Hammond Bay at Neck Point parking lot at about 9:20 a.m.

*************************************************************************************

Good birding
Neil Robins 

THE BACKYARD WILDBIRD & NATURE STORE
6314 Metral Drive
Nanaimo B.C.
V9T-2L8
Phone: 250-390-3669
Fax: 250-390-1633
Email: thebackyard@shaw.ca
Blog: www.thebirdstore.blogspot