Stunning, glorious, spectacular. Any number of hyperbolic adjectives could apply to Rose Spit on Dec 18 during the CBC. A Snowy Owl sat on a grassy mound in the misty morning light. It was still as a statue in the middle of the strawberry meadow.
Gulls rose and fell in what appeared to be a constant mountainous wave off the outer bar and at one time we were surrounded by a gang of chickadees all eager to be seen. A Nuthatch actually sat on the very tiptop of a low spruce; this shy little bird is more often heard than seen but it made itself known as it called out that a Red-tailed Hawk was on the prowl and it was time to get out of the way. The hawk, as unlikely to take such a tiny tidbit as an eagle would a sparrow, just kept on going. The birds moved so quickly that we didn’t have time to capture the moment on camera, but it’s engraved in our collective vision. Varied Thrushes swept low from spruce to spruce in the open grassy dunes and a Golden-crowned Sparrow lived its life alongside the many more prosaic Song Sparrows that flitted through the trees.
A Grey Whale cruised slowly towards the outer spit, seven Short-tailed Shearwaters soared over the bar miles away and Ancient Murrelets, in smaller numbers than previous years, landed and dove close to shore. The tide began to rise. As we left the beach, small flocks of Black Turnstones landed on the rocks at Yakan Point and Pelagic Cormorants flew towards Tow Hill before the sun went down.