Redhead

A great day out birding for the Comox Valley Nature spring bird count. Like Christmas Bird Counts, the spring count is an attempt to tally as many species as possible while trying to document the number of individual birds in the count area. Unlike Christmas Bird Counts, the weather is generally a little better.

I spent the first hour at a series of ponds near a subdivision at McLauchlin Place in Courtenay, British Columbia. These small ponds usually produce good birds during both spring and winter counts and today was no exception. With a group of friendly mallards, was a lone redhead (Aythya americana)—a bit of a surprise and definitely worth photographing.

Redhead (Aythya americana)
A single redhead (Aythya americana) joined a flock of mallards on a small pond near McLauchlin Place in Courtenay, BC.

After Jocie dropped the kids off at daycare, I caught up with her in another small subdivision that is usually fairly productive. Several warblers were calling in the mixed deciduous/coniferous forest trails that back on to the subdivision and we got some good looks at them. We eventually met up with Jocie’s mother B. on a back road while tracking down another warbler that sounded a little different (turned out to be a MacGillivray’s warbler).

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)
One of the many warblers that we got looks at on this bird count, the Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) wasn’t particularly common.

The rest of the day involved a lot of driving along rural country roads and a bit of waterfront birding as well. The forest birds were definitely active and we did very well with warblers but not so well with woodpeckers and raptors. While our area has sections of beach, access is limited and the tide wasn’t in our favour as we focused on landbirds in the morning when the tide was high. Violet-green swallows seemed to be fairly numerous but we only saw one barn swallow and no other species of swallows. Both chipping sparrow and orange-crowned warblers were very common.

All in all we had a load of fun and tallied up 64 species. Here’s our list for the day:

  • Pacific Loon
  • Horned Grebe
  • Pelagic Cormorant
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Mallard
  • Redhead
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Surf Scoter
  • White-winged Scoter
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Bufflehead
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Bald Eagle
  • Merlin
  • Mew Gull
  • Glaucous-winged Gull
  • Eurasian Collared-dove
  • Band-tailed Pigeon
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher
  • Hammond’s Flycatcher
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Cassin’s Vireo
  • Common Raven
  • Northwestern Crow
  • Violet-green Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • Pacific Wren
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • American Robin
  • European Starling
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler
  • Townsend’s Warbler
  • MacGillivray’s Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Brewer’s Blackbird
  • Purple Finch
  • House Finch
  • Pine Siskin

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