Tuesday, April 18, 2017

PURPLE SANDPIPER Still off Victoria - April 17th

On April 17th, Daniel Donnecke kayaked out to the Trial Islands off Victoria and found the Purple Sandpiper mixed among Black Turnstones.  This sighting comes exactly two months after the last report of the bird viewed on Little Trial Island by scoping from the Victoria shoreline.  Daniel's eBird checklist, including six photos of the Purple Sandpiper, can be viewed here.

It was hoped that a sighting this late in the spring would allow us to see some alternate feathers filling in, but instead the plumage is still drab and further worn.  Hopefully this bird will continue to be sighted and the birding community can document feathers molting in.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

RBA: RED-SHOULDERED HAWK Reported in Metchosin - April 15th

At 3:35 pm on April 15, David Allinson spotted a distant "Small buteo with a bright orange upper breast, whitish orange belly, pale orange head, dark mottled wings, and bright yellow bare legs" while carrying out a hawk watch up on Metchosin Mountain on southern Vancouver Island. The bird matches the description of a Red-shouldered Hawk.  This species is accepted to the provisional list of the BC checklist, but there are no photo-documented records of the species in the province.

Other high points and good panoramic vistas in the area should be searched if you're inspired to attempt to relocate this bird.  As of April 17, no further reports have come in for this bird.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Possible WHITE-TAILED KITE in Port Alberni - April 13th

A White-tailed Kite was reported around noon on April 13th in the open country west of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island by Sylvia Bradd (fide Adrian Dorst).  There was no description or photos associated with the report, but this is the prime window for White-tailed Kite in the province.  The presence of this report on the BC Rare Bird Alert does not confirm the veracity of the report, but will hopefully open this sighting up to a wider audience.

As of April 17, no further reports of this bird have come in.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

RBA: WHITE-TAILED KITE in Metchosin - April 11th

At just after 9:30 am on the morning of April 11th, a White-tailed Kite was observed by David Allinson flying over the Sea Bluff Trail in Metchosin on southern Vancouver Island.  The Sea Bluff Trail is located just south of Witty's Lagoon and can be accessed at the north end off Wootton Rd or the south end off Parry Cross Rd.  The bird was flying over the treetops, so nearby open areas should be checked.  There are many agricultural fields in the area, but good candidate locations include: Swanwick Rd, Taylor Rd, the corner of Happy Valley and Rocky Point Rds, Pears Rd, Witty's Lagoon, Lindholm Rd (just west of Happy Valley Rd) and various fields along Metchosin Rd.  Additionally, scanning from Weir's Beach south towards William Head might be a worthwhile endeavour.

Immaculate record shots are not always an option, but this still works (Photo: David Allinson)

As of April 17, there have been no further reports of this bird, despite some effort to relocate it.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

RBA: TUFTED DUCK in Richmond - April 9-14th

At 7:50am on April 9th, 2017, an adult male Tufted Duck, first reported by Jim Palmer, was found in the SE inner pond at Iona Island Regional Park. Multiple observers saw the bird into the afternoon. To gain access to the inner ponds, please contact Jude Grass at judegrass@shaw.ca for the code needed to unlock the gates. The park is located at 945 Ferguson Road in Richmond, and it is open from 7am until 8pm. 

The bird was still present in the SE inner pond on April 10th, 11th, and 14th. The bird appears to move between the ocean and the inner ponds, and on April 13th it was with a scaup flock on the ocean south of the South Jetty.

Photo: Mike Fung

Saturday, April 8, 2017

BLACK PHOEBE at Maber Flats near Brentwood Bay - April 8-15th

At around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 a Black Phoebe was at Maber Flats near Brentwood Bay on southern Vancouver Island.  The bird was located at the east end of the central dikes - walking the southern of the two dikes is the best option to end up closest to the bird.  The bird was seen on the closest fence line, which is approximately 200 metres away.  There is a cottonwood tree in the field with a wooden telephone pole in front to the left, and the phoebe was seen on a fence line in front and to the left of the telephone pole.  The bird has been sighted with regularity from Highfield Rd recently, although some have had luck at the end of Meadowbank Rd.  The bird was originally found by Jeremy Gatten and has already been seen by multiple observers and record photos have been obtained.

The Black Phoebe was present as of Saturday (April 15) in the same area.  The bird moves around, so patience, constant scanning, and listening for its call will help in tracking it down.

If only are rarities were so distinct - picture perfect Black Phoebe (Photo: Jody Wells)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

RBA: TUFTED DUCK in Squamish - April 6th

At 10 am on April 6th-2017, Chris Dale and Chris Murrell found an adult male Tufted Duck at the Squamish River Estuary. The bird was 200m out in the Central Channel of the Estuary with a flock of 40-50 Lesser Scaup and Ring-necked Ducks, halfway between the end of “The Spit” which is Squamish River Spit Rd and the Squamish Terminals Deep Sea Port.

The bird was viewed by multiple observers and was last seen in the same location as of 3pm. The Tufted Duck could not be relocated on April 7, and approximately only half of the scaups present the day before remained.

Map to exact location HERE

A video of the bird taken by Chris Dale can be viewed HERE

This is a first record for the Squamish-Lillooet region.

Photo: Chris Dale

Thursday, March 23, 2017

RBA: INDIGO BUNTING in Port Alberni - March 22-April 18th

At 2 pm on March 22nd, 2017, Sandy McRuer found a first-cyle male Indigo Bunting at a private home at 4950 Nicholas St (near the corner of Pineo St). The bird was relocated at 11:45 am on March 23rd by Penny Hall and photographed at the same location. The bird returned to the wide silo feeder, 3 times while she was visiting.  

Multiple observers saw the bird today and it was last seen at the same location at 4:15pm.

The bird continues at this location as of April 18th.

The homeowner is ok with people viewing the bird and feeder from the public road, as the feeders are about 10 feet from the road. If you go, please be respectful of the homeowner's property and private residences in the area. Please do not block any driveways when you park to view this bird.

Map to Location: HERE

 A stunning first-cycle male Indigo Bunting in Port Alberni - Photo: Lee Barlow
First-cycle male Indigo Bunting in Port Alberni - Photo: Roger Beardmore

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

RBA: TUFTED DUCK in Vancouver - March 14-19th

At 5:15pm on March 14th, Daphne Lang found a 2nd Year adult male Tufted Duck with Lesser Scaup on the swimming pool at New Brighton Park in Vancouver. She was unable to obtain a photograph at this time. The bird was relocated at 9:35 am on March 15th by Mike Tabak and photographed. The swimming pool is under-construction and the birds are using it undisturbed.

New Brighton Park is located at 3201 New Brighton Rd in Vancouver. 

Map to location HERE

This is a different bird than the one seen this year at Iona.

The bird continues in the same location as of March 19th.

The bird was not seen on March 20-21st.

2nd Year Male Tufted Duck - Photo: Brian Stech
2nd Year Male Tufted Duck - Photo: Mike Tabak

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RBA: SAGEBRUSH SPARROW in Osoyoos - Feb 21st

On the morning of Feb 21-2017, Doug Brown found a singing Sagebrush Sparrow on the Osoyoos Canal Trail. The bird gave good views as it responded to playback. The bird was just north of 74th Street near the first access after the parking lot near Osoyoos Secondary School.

Map to location: HERE

This is one of several birds that Doug Brown has found in the area at this time of year. Doug believes that these birds are probably annual in Osoyoos but they're very early migrants. Due to this fact, the area of sagebrush habitat they prefer, is not widely covered by birders since it is almost completely devoid of birds at this time of year.

Despite multiple observers looking on Feb 22nd and 23rd there has been no sign of the bird.