Cattle Point Round-up

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).

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) keeping a watchful eye over its back.

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.

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) showing the characteristic yellow breast and black “V.”

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.

Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)
Black Turnstones (Arenaria melanocephala) were active on the rocks.

No Rock Sandpipers were with the flock but there were several dozing Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) nearby.

Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata)
Most of these Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) had their heads tucked and were resting.

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.

Surfbird (Aphriza virgata) and Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)
A good comparsion of both the Surfbird (Aphriza virgata) on the right and Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) on the left.

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!

How to Get There: