Monthly Archives: February 2012

Late February Birding

Here in Masset the high numbers of dabbling ducks continue to feed in Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary, a few winter plumaged Pigeon Guillemots, hundreds of Pacific Loons and many Murres feed in Masset Inlet. The weather has been generally mild and wet and Red Crossbills, in small numbers, fly from conifer to conifer.

Summer male Red Crossbill in Masset

On Feb 22 we again visited Sandspit. Of particular note are the thousands of Common Murres feeding in Skidegate Inlet. We counted over 3000 in that short crossing. A few Rhinocerous Auklets also put in an appearance, early for them, and over 300 Western Grebes, which have wintered over, continue to feed and flock on the west side. Hundreds of Pacific Loons have also spent the winter on the inlet, its a fairly new phenomenon to see so many divers there. Red-necked Grebes, one or two in breeding plumage, an occasional Red-throated Loon and some Common Loons feed and dive there. On our last crossing we also counted over 68 Bald Eagles in a feeding shoal on the east side of the inlet. There’s speculation that there might be a few winter herring around, although in the late 1970’s the Naden Harbour herring returned to spawn at this time.

The geese flocks are still around, including the five Snow Geese that have wintered over.

Snows with a mixed flock

Brant will move to the airport before personnel set off loud bangers to scare them off before the scheduled passenger flights. They occasionally feed in the airport grasses as well,  especially when the spit is covered during big tides.

Spring Brant at Sandspit

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Early February birding

The weather warmed up with misty mornings, occasional rain and strong winds. We did have one or two beautiful, calm, sunny days. On February 6, a small flock of Redpolls landed in the trees in Masset and a Bohemian Waxwing, the first for 2012, landed in a spruce on February 7.

We went to Sandspit on Feb 8. The usual winter birds are here, up to 12 American Robins, a few Black Turnstones, Rock Sandpipers and Sanderlings. The five Snow Geese are still around, feeding with a flock of Canadas. We took a few photos and the Richardson’s Canada Goose, which fed with Dusky’s in the A.L. Mathers school playground.

Mixed flock

Only one Pine Siskin has shown up at our feeder so far, although the Juncos continue to feed and they’re starting to sing in the nearby bushes. A Varied Thrush scrabbled in the underbrush but it’s been so mild that most birds are finding wild food elsewhere.