Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vancouver Island Date Two

Day two in Victoria started out with a light to moderate drizzle, so Glenn took us out to Bed Rock, we're he had some feed is set up and we could photograph underneath a small roof. We were able to photograph Oregon Junco, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker and a Spotted Towhee.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Spotted Junco

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Oregon Junco

There were other birds around but they did not present themselves so that they could be photographed, however, we were able to identify them. This included Pileated Woodpecker, Flicker, Fox Sparrow and a. Varied Thrush.

After lunch we were taken to Goldstream Provincial Park, in the hopes of finding three special species of birds. These were the American Dipper, Pacific Wren and the Red-Bellied Sapsucker.

We started out by walking up and down the bank of the stream, which was running very fast. On the first pass, no dippers were found. When we started our second pass, behold American Dipper was found. We followed the Dipper and photographed it, while it was feeding, resting and taking a bath.

American Dipper bath nictitating membrane

Here are some facts about the American Dipper from Wilkpedia "The American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), also known as a Water Ouzel, is a stocky dark grey bird with a head sometimes tinged with brown, and white feathers on the eyelids cause the eyes to flash white as the bird blinks. It is 16.5 cm long and weighs on average 46 g. It has long legs, and bobs its whole body up and down during pauses as it feeds on the bottom of fast-moving, rocky streams. It inhabits the mountainous regions of Central America and western North America from Panama to Alaska

This species, like other dippers, is equipped with an extra eyelid called a "nictitating membrane that allows it to see underwater, and scales that close its nostrils when submerged. Dippers also produce more oil than most birds, which may help keep them warmer when seeking food underwater.

In most of its habits, it closely resembles its European counterpart, the White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus, which is also sometimes known as a Water Ouzel. It feeds on aquatic insects and their larvae, including dragonfly nymphs and caddisfly larvae. It may also take tiny fish or tadpoles.

Next, we were able to listen to and call in a Pacific Wren , who so kindly called for us had spent most of his time on bare branches rather than the lovely lichen colored branches that were set up for him. In 2010 is when the Pacific Wren came into being, it was split off as a separate species from the Winter Wren by the American Ornithological Union. Besides obtaining some nice photographs, I obtain a new bird for my life list.

While we will photographing the Pacific Wren, a group of teenagers walked by and assess what we were doing. When we told them we were photographing birds, one of the young ladies took out her cell phone and showed us she said, a redheaded woodpecker. It was the third species that we will hoping to see, the Red-bellied Sapsucker. They told us with the observe the bird and we want to see if we could find it. Glenn had told us last week during Workshop they were unable to find the Red-bellied Sapsucker because it was so cold the sap was frozen. After a short search, behold on the tree trunk was the sapsucker. We spent at least half hour or more photographing this bird from various positions and backgrounds. The sapsucker just ignored us and kept on eating.

Previously, when we were at the river, we were able to see and photograph a female Common Merganser, before she flew upstream.

So ended day two on Vancouver Island.