We made a short stop at Cattle Point during our weekend in Victoria, British Columbia – both kids were asleep in the car so I was able to nip out for a quick walkabout while Jocie supervised. Cattle Point is usually pretty good for unusual birds and earlier in March a number of Rock Sandpipers (Calidris ptilocnemis) had been reported and photographed here.
I wasn’t able to find any Rock Sandpipers but did get to see a couple of other shorebirds and a lone Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).
The Meadowlark was pretty skittish – Cattle Point is a fairly small park that is heavily used. It moved down the shore a little ways and provided a side view.
I noticed a small group of Black Turnstones (Arenaria melanocephala) actively feeding on the rocks at the edge of the water when I returned to the car and took some time to look through the group.
No Rock Sandpipers were with the flock but there were several dozing Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) nearby.
They looked a little like the hoped for Rock Sandpipers but weren’t quite right – bills too short and not curved enough, legs were the wrong colour as well. Regardless, it’s always great to get close looks at shorebirds and I sat on a log and watched them for a while. Every so often the Turnstones would invade their space and some jockeying for position would occur.
Cattle Point is well worth a stop – it’s a quick and easy birding destination and odds are that you’ll see something interesting there. You also have the option of walking into some gorgeous Garry Oak meadows on the other side of the Beach Drive. Check it out the next time you’re visiting Victoria!