Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Looking back and looking forward

It's been over 3 months now since I set off on this "quest" to find as many birds in BC as I possibly can. Well, "possibly can within reason" is more like it as I will surely be working here and there, socializing with friends and family, and... I'm going to TEXAS TOMORROW MORNING!!! Yes I'm off to Texas for 2 weeks with my Dad for a bit of spring birding, should be awesome as I have never been down there-- it will be nice to work on my Blackburnian chip notes for when I go up to the Peace! Anyways, the last 3 months have been great; I've made many new friends and reacquainted myself with a few old ones, I've discovered some great new places, and there have obviously been some incredible experiences along the way (both with birds and with the rest of the world). Over this time period I managed to see about 85% of the birds reported in BC. Many of the ones I missed I will pick up in good time but some may be tough.

There are 3 species in particular that I had hoped to have by now but don't:

1. SLATY-BACKED GULL- several were reported both on the mainland and on the island. I searched very hard for this species in February but unfortunately did not get over to the Herring Spawn until after things had died down. Apparently this years' spawn has not been a good one. This could have been a factor but I probably could have picked one out had I put in the time. All is not lost of course, I can still get this bird in Nov/Dec if I keep scanning those darn gulls on Boundary Bay or somethin!

2. HARRIS'S SPARROW- The only report of this species that I know of for 2010 is one that frequented a feeder in Williams Lake in early January. I visited that very feeder about a week after it was last seen with no luck. So why were there no Harris's Sparrows being seen in the interior this winter? I think the principle cause for this was the above-average temperatures. There were plenty of feeding opportunities in the forests and in the fields for sparrows this year so few had to huddle around feeders. Hopefully I'll pick this species up on spring migration with the white-crowns and failing that perhaps in December.

3. HOARY REDPOLL- The only chance I had for this species down south was in the mountains around the Okanagan in January where several individuals were reported with Common Redpolls on Christmas Bird Counts. I tried and tried but couldn't find the massive redpoll flocks and thus struck out. Hoaries were present in decent numbers in the northwest including Telegraph Creek and Houston, BC but frankly I just couldn't find the time to get up there. I suppose a November trip to Fort Nelson is in order!

SO... I'm off on holiday for a bit, time to enjoy some new birds! I'm sure many of you will find some great things while I'm gone--please convince them to stay until I return!!! May is going to be crazy and I can't wait! 300 ain't that far off...

Also, I will make sure to post a full list on both my blog and on the birding chat groups; Right now I need to get to some last-minute packing so when I get into Houston, TX tomorrow I'll get to the lists.

Cheers--- to spring!

Russ Cannings

p.s. Just saw my first Yellow-headed Blackbird today!

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