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Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Nanaimo Bird Report September 21, 2022

 The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store

Nanaimo Bird Report

September 21, 2022


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 was seen and location of your sighting.

Greater Yellowlegs (B. Denham)

Tuesday September 20, 2022:

The Tuesday Bird Walk went to the Englishman River Estuary – Plummer Road. The weather was sunny, winds calm, tide was out and 16 degrees. Birds on the estuary were a little quiet but we had a great look at a Greater Yellowlegs. A couple of highlights seen on the strait were, Parasitic Jaeger, and Marbled Murrelet,

12 birders saw and heard the following 40 species:

Canada Goose

American Wigeon



Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Common Loon

Red-necked Grebe

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture


Greater Yellowlegs

Parasitic Jaeger

Bonaparte’s Gull

Short-billed Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

California Gull

Marbled Murrelet

Eurasian Collared Dove

Anna’s Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Common Raven

American Crow

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

American Robin

Cedar Waxwings

European Starling

Spotted Towhee

White-crown Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow

House Finch

Purple Finch

American Goldfinch

Pine Siskin

 American Goldfinch, male, winter plumage (R. Hocken)

Sunday September 18, 2022:

The Sunday Bird Walk went to Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo. The weather was sunny with a light breeze and 16 degrees. The walk started off with a bang, hearing Virginia Rail at the parking lot entrance, seeing 10 Pectoral Sandpipers and a Baird’s Sandpiper on the marsh and hearing a Common Yellowthroat but unable to see it.

16 birders saw and heard the following 33 bird species:

Canada Goose

Wood Duck


Green-winged Teal

Pied-billed Grebe

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Virginia Rail


Pectoral Sandpiper

Baird’s Sandpiper

Band-tailed Pigeon

Anna’s Hummingbird

Northern Flicker

Common Raven

Chestnut-backed Chickadee


Marsh Wren

Bewick’s Wren

American Robin

Cedar Waxwing

European Starling

Common Yellowthroat

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Red-winged Blackbirds

House Finch

Purple Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Spotted Towhee (R. Hocken)

Backyard Bird Notes:

Reports of a new backyard bird species with a different plumage are visiting the backyard feeders.

Both are common birds that we see regularly but their winter or non-breeding plumage makes them look quite different.

The first is the American Goldfinch. First thought when you hear the name is a bright yellow plumage that lights up the backyard, but in the fall, they molt and change plumage to a dull beige/yellow colour. They still have the black wing bars and no streaking like a Pine Siskin. Some goldfinches do stay for the winter, but most will migrate south till next spring when they return and molt into the yellow plumage we are used to seeing.

The other species is unique with white spots all over the feathers that have a brown outline. These birds also move in large flocks and can take over the lawn. Sorry, they are just European Starlings in their non-breeding plumage. It is unique, as starlings only molt once a year and those spots on the feathers are like a waxy substance that wears off for next breeding season providing them with what looks like new shiny feathers. Another change is the bill colour, from yellow in the spring to black in the winter.

Fall can be a fun time identifying birds, as some birds have a complete plumage change and juvenile birds will start molting to their adult plumage. Unfortunately, the field guides do not always show the different plumages, so a little detective work is needed.

Remember to give all your bird feeders a good cleaning with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water and to clean them regularly, including your water source.

If you have any birds to report or need help identifying, just email or call the store, thebackyard@shaw.ca or 250-390-3669, toll-free 1-888-808-BIRD (2473).

The Backyard Bird Walks

Our bird walks go out Sunday mornings in Nanaimo and Tuesday mornings in Parksville and Qualicum Beach area, are easy walks that go for two to three hours (back for lunch is the plan). Bring binoculars and a field guide. The walks are weather pending.

Please check our blog (www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com) for any cancelations.

The Tuesday Bird Walk, September 27, 2022

The Tuesday Bird Walk will be Going to Deep Bay.

Meet at the Parksville Tourist Information Center parking lot, located by Hwy 19A, Northwest Bay Road and Franklin’s Gull Road in Parksville, at 8:45 am or meet at the marina parking lot in Deep Bay at 9:15am. Weather cooperating.

The Sunday Bird Walk, September 25, 2022

This week’s Sunday Bird Walk will be going to Maki Road Trail in Nanaimo.

Meet at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store at 9:00am or at the end of Maki Road by Living Forest Campground at 9:15 am. Weather cooperating.

For cancelled bird walks due to weather, please check The Backyard blog at www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com on the day of the bird walk. A notice will be up before 8:00am if there is a cancelation.

Good birding! Colin Bartlett

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