Posted by: Anne Murray | October 22, 2009

Fall birding: a mix of summer and winter birds

I like birding at this time of year because you never know what is likely to turn up. On October 18 at Deas Island Regional Park there were 30 to 40 Yellow-rumped Warblers feeding busily in trees near the heritage buildings, accompanied by a quiet little Brown Creeper, working the bark. A few of these warblers linger for the winter, with a handful often occurring on Christmas Bird Counts, but most will soon be gone. On October 19, a Northern Shrike flew above the dyke at 104th Street, Delta and Boundary Bay was full of Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover and tens of thousands of dabbling ducks, mostly Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal. Flocks of Snow Geese flew from east to west overhead, making for the mouth of the river and the estuarine Carex marshes that they feed in. They seldom stop in Boundary Bay itself, which is a marine enbayment, and consequently much more salty than the river mouth.
Varied Thrushes have been feeding on my rowan (mountain ash) tree this week, along with several Northern Flickers, one of them a hybrid between the eastern and western forms (it had golden underwings, not red).
One of my birding friends has been seeing a coyote out in the fields regularly this month, and the eastern grey squirrels in my garden have been eating far too many poisonous fungi, so they are rolling around the lawn. These non-native species are rather fun to watch and have invaded many suburban areas of Greater Vancouver since about 1993.


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