Posted by: Anne Murray | April 13, 2012

Spring migration in full swing

This is an interesting time of year for bird watchers as summer visitors are arriving and not all the winter birds have gone.  This means you can hear a Fox Sparrow singing before it heads north, while surrounded by newly-arrived Savannah Sparrows.  Violet-green Swallows wing overhead above the lingering Snowy Owls.

I had not expected the Snowies to still be here, but it has been a cool spring and they have lingered on.  The pundits I spoke to earlier had all thought they would leave at the end of March, yet here they are in the second week of April.  I had reports of at least 10 at 72St and a couple at Brunswick Point this week. 

Yellow-rumped Warblers, a very abundant songbird, are arriving steadily and Orange-crowned Warblers have been seen in smaller numbers.  Any day now, Common Yellowthroats will be singing everywhere.  A few Mountain Bluebirds have been seen as they pass through the Boundary Bay area, punctual as usual, and I am on the watch for Townsend’s Solitaire, a scarce but regular migrant.  Lots of Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets are on the move, and the local breeding race of White-crowned Sparrows have moved in from the south. 

Offshore there are grey whales and harbour porpoises to watch for, and the sea ducks and loons are still numerous. We saw huge flocks of Brant all around Point Roberts coast line on Wednesday. It was neat to hear them calling so much, as these geese never seem to be as noisy as the Canada’s and Snow Geese. 

Mid-April is also the main shorebird migration time on Boundary Bay.  Check the shoreline for plovers, sandpipers and rarities. Just before or just after high tide is a good time to view them, as it brings the birds closer to shore.

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