Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feb 16: Still sunny on the outer coast!

This morning Jukka and I made our way out to the west coast of Vancouver Island where we hoped to catch up with some rare seabirds passing by offshore. We started off at Comber's Beach where gulls often congregate at a creek mouth at the south end. This morning however, all the gulls were on offshore islets amongst throngs of sea-lions. A few probable Western Gulls dotted the rocks amongst the numerous Glaucous-wings, but nothing Slaty-backed-ish! I've included a photo of Jukka checking the murre flocks offshore, and you can see how storm damage has washed out the stairs to the beach. And OF COURSE I managed to find a way to catch my foot in a foot and do a flying face-plant onto the hard sand below. Luckily I somehow managed to save my scope but it was at the expense of my already bloodied up knee (previous soccer incident) and my dignity! I suppose would have been embarrassing to try and explain a sprained ankle after passing by the "This Beach is Closed" signs. Luckily I was okay and we didn't run into any officials!

From here we retreated to Amphitrite Point, a more ideal sea-watching post with less fog.
Here we stayed for 3 1/2 hours scoping the waves, picked out several hundred BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES (nice year bird!) as well as a lot of Common Murres, Pacific Loons, Common Loons, a few Red-throated Loons, all 3 species of cormorants, a few mergansers, etc. etc. I had been hoping for some more alcids or even some tubenoses but alas, I was once again forced to simply enjoy the sunshine... not so bad.

We also found 5 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES in Ucluelet... these birds are now everywhere!

Then around 2pm we raced back to Courtenay... couldn't miss Canada vs. Norway!!!

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